Partnering with Someone You Know for Surrogacy

Becoming a surrogate for a family member or friend in Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia is not uncommon. Maybe you’re a hopeful parent who knows someone who is willing to carry your baby for you. Or maybe you’re a potential surrogate who knows someone who is struggling to have children.

The prevalence of knowing someone who is either struggling to carry a child or who is willing to carry a child for someone else has led many people to ask, “Can a family member be a surrogate mother?” The answer is yes. Becoming a surrogate mother for a family member or friend is possible, but it requires an experienced surrogacy attorney to complete the process.

Sometimes, surrogacy within the family or among friends is attempted without the legal protection of a surrogacy attorney and without any formal contracts, because both parties know and trust one another. But this has led to situations where surrogates have kept the baby, intended parents have refused to parent the baby, or other frightening situations that can be prevented through surrogacy contracts and correct, lawful and ethical surrogacy processes. So, if you’re interested in learning how to be a surrogate for a family member or friend, or if you’re thinking about partnering with a surrogate you know, contact us now.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about partnering with a friend or family member for your surrogacy journey.

Pros and Cons of Identified Surrogacy

There are both challenges and benefits of becoming a surrogate for a family member or friend, or partnering with a surrogate you know.

Pros:

Cons:

  • There may be emotional complications when you’re so close to your surrogacy partner.
  • While the surrogacy cost using family members or friends can be decreased if you choose altruistic surrogacy, financial disagreements may arise over who covers what pregnancy-related costs.
  • There’s a potential for resentment — whether about the intended parents’ inability to carry a child and jealousy toward their surrogate, discomfort about financial arrangements, feelings of overstepping one’s boundaries or other disagreements when people who are close enter into a surrogacy arrangement.

For many people, the biggest appeal of identified surrogacy is the potential for altruistic surrogacy, which would lead to lower overall surrogacy costs. A common question is, “How much does surrogacy cost with a family member or friend?” With identified surrogacy, you will be able to avoid the costs for searching and matching with a surrogacy partner and some of the surrogate compensation costs. Intended parents are still usually responsible for covering the surrogate’s surrogacy- and pregnancy-related costs, including IVF, hospital bills, prenatal care and more.

Whoever you choose to partner with for your surrogacy journey, you should consider if your relationship would be stronger for this experience or if it would put strain on your relationship. Consulting together with an experienced surrogacy attorney can help you decide if you’re ready to pursue gestational surrogacy for a family member or friend.

How to Have a More Successful Identified Surrogacy Experience

If you’re considering becoming a surrogate for a family member or friend, or thinking about partnering with a surrogate you know, it’s important to make sure that your relationship is prepared to handle this type of unique experience together. Here are a few tips to help you have an emotionally healthy and successful surrogacy experience if you’re partnering with someone you’re close with:

  • Communicate honestly and often. If you don’t have the same expectations for your surrogacy experience, one or both of you may need to compromise, and that could lead to resentment in a relationship that you clearly both value. It’s important to be honest and upfront about your surrogacy goals and expectations from the get-go to avoid any misunderstandings throughout the process.
  • Work with a professional. Too many people in identified surrogacy situations attempt to make verbal arrangements, and don’t involve reputable attorneys, programs or social workers in an effort to cut costs or avoid hurting feelings. Working with experienced professionals will help you avoid rough patches together, as well as protect everyone legally and financially.
  • Establish boundaries early. A professional can help create clear boundaries for both parties so that everyone knows what is expected of them throughout the process. This is the best way to avoid miscommunications, frustrations or hurt feelings that could damage a valued relationship.
  • Know that your relationship will change forever. Surrogacy is a unique experience, and it’s life-altering for everyone involved. Whatever relationship you currently share, you’ll always be linked in a new way. Make sure that you’re comfortable with the idea of this shift in your relationship and that you’re prepared for a new dynamic.

While in many respects, partnering with a friend or family member for surrogacy is similar to any other surrogacy experience, the added weight of the preexisting relationship between the intended parents and the surrogate should always be taken into consideration. This relationship has the potential to grow stronger or weaker through your surrogacy journey together. That all depends on the precautions you take to protect that important relationship.

How We Can Legally Protect You If You Partner with Someone You Know

Creating a legally binding surrogacy contract is absolutely necessary, even if you’re working with a loved one to carry your baby or being a surrogate mother for a family member or friend. Clearly, you trust this person enough to carry their child or have them carry your child. But that doesn’t mean you can, or should, forego a contract.

Some intended parents and surrogates who already know and trust one another don’t feel as if they need anything more than a verbal agreement. Perhaps they feel they can avoid some costs, or they don’t want to offend the other person by potentially inferring that they seem untrustworthy and therefore need a contract to ensure that they’ll adhere to the arrangement. Surrogacy contracts, however, are a standard, important and required part of the process, regardless of the trust and love that you share with your surrogacy partner.

Your surrogacy contract legally, financially and, at times, emotionally, protects each of you throughout the surrogacy process and creates a kind of roadmap for how you all plan on proceeding. You’ll cover important topics including how you both feel about selective termination, what would happen in the event of a pregnancy complication, how involved you’d each like to be, financial arrangements, legal parental rights of the intended parents and more. Rather than relying on verbal agreements, it’s important that you and your surrogacy partner use a reputable surrogacy attorney to create a legal contract, even if you’re pursuing surrogacy for family members or friends whom you absolutely trust and love.

Contact us now to learn more about how to become a surrogate mother for a family member or friend, or how to partner with a surrogate you know in Virginia, Maryland or Washington, D.C.

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax

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