Being a surrogate for a family member can be an amazing thing to do.
Most of us would do anything to help our loved ones find happiness and fulfillment. If you have a family member who has struggled with infertility, or has a same-sex marriage, then their dreams of starting a family may depend on the surrogacy process.
You can play a vital role in this process by becoming a gestational carrier. But, before you commit to this life-changing opportunity, there’s a lot to learn about being a surrogate mother for a family member.
This guide will outline the most important information pertaining to being a surrogate for family, including:
- How the process works
- The pros and cons of being a surrogate for a family member
- The important of choosing the right surrogacy program
If you’d like to speak with a surrogacy professional about your specific situation, you can contact us at any time.
How to Become a Surrogate Mother for a Family Member
The surrogacy process is complicated, detailed and challenging. It can also be beautiful, joyful and life-changing. If you are considering being a surrogate for a family member, then you need to know how this process works.
Step 1: Check the Requirements for Surrogacy
Each surrogacy program has its own specific requirements that you will need to meet before you can become a gestational carrier. You’ll need to meet these requirements even when you are interested in being a surrogate for a family member.
The initial qualifications for becoming a gestational carrier with Southern Surrogacy are:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Live in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee or Alabama
- Have a previous healthy pregnancy
- Be raising your own child in your home
- Be smoke- and drug-free
- Have a healthy BMI
- Be able to travel for surrogacy appointments
Interested in seeing if you meet our surrogacy requirements? You can start by filling out this Information Request Form.
If your questionnaire indicates that you meet these basic surrogate requirements, you will receive a link to another, longer questionnaire that asks for more detailed and personal information about your social and medical history. Southern Surrogacy staff will review this longer questionnaire and reach out to you to discuss our program and the requirements for surrogacy in more detail.
At this point, you’ll be ready for the next step.
Step 2: Begin the Process with Your Program
For many intended parents and gestational carriers, this step is about finding the right surrogacy match. But if you are becoming a surrogate for a family member, then you’ve already found your match!
There’s a great deal of comfort and security in knowing your intended parents are people who you love, and who love you. Going through the process as a surrogate for family members can help you feel more peaceful and less stressed because of your existing relationship.
Since you won’t have to find a match, you can jump right into beginning the process with your program. This means completing all the initial start-up screenings and paperwork and preparing for the surrogacy medical process.
Step 3: The Medical Process
Southern Surrogacy (and many other professionals) will only provide services for gestational surrogacies. A gestational surrogacy occurs when intended parents’ or donors’ egg and sperm are used, rather than using the gestational carrier’s own egg. This means that the surrogate is not the genetic parent of the baby.
The medical process for becoming a surrogate for a family member is led by your fertility clinic, who works in conjunction with your surrogacy professionals at Southern Surrogacy.
To start the process, you’ll need to complete your medical screening so that the clinic can confirm you are a qualified candidate for the embryo transfer. Then, you’ll be working closely with the clinic on your surrogacy medication regiment as you prepare for the transfer.
Gestational carriers and intended parents will have to make very personal medical decisions as a team, which is one area where being a surrogate for a family member can make things easier, since you already have an established, trusting relationship.
The fertility clinic will determine the best date for the transfer. Once a transfer has been successfully completed, your medical care will shift primarily to your OB/GYN until the pregnancy is complete.
Step 4: The Surrogacy Contract
Every surrogacy process requires a legal contract, even for surrogacy within the family. This contract is the foundation of a successful process, and it is one area where Southern Surrogacy can give our clients a distinct advantage.
Unlike many other surrogacy programs, we are owned by a local law firm, Claiborne | Fox | Bradley | Goldman, that specializes in family law. This legal background, combined with our regional focus on a handful of states in the South, means that you will receive top-notch legal service from experienced professionals who are always up-to-date on the surrogacy laws in your state.
Being a surrogate for a family member is still a legal process, and Southern Surrogacy can provide the legal services you need.
Step 5: Complete the Process
Once the embryo transfer is complete and the surrogacy contract has been finalized, the remainder of the process is about maintaining a healthy pregnancy and preparing for transition after birth. Your surrogacy professional will provide support, counseling and guidance to help you complete the process.
Benefits and Risks of Being a Surrogate for a Family Member
There are many reasons why you may be thinking about becoming a surrogate for a family member. The pros and cons of this option will depend on the details of your specific situation.
Generally speaking, the benefits of being a surrogate for a family member are:
- Increased comfort: The relationship between the surrogate and the intended parents is an important component of any surrogacy journey. When this relationship is already established, it can help everyone feel more comfortable and confident.
- Decreased costs: With identified surrogacy, you won’t need the services of a surrogacy program to find a match. This eliminates the fees associated with that part of the process, which can reduce your overall cost.
- A shorter process: The wait for a match can last for weeks or months. By jumping straight into the process with a match, you’ll experience a shorter process.
As you can see, there are several great reasons to become a surrogate for a family member. There are also, however, risks and potential challenges that you should be aware of before committing to surrogacy:
- Confusing emotions: Carrying someone else’s baby can cause confusing emotions. Even though you don’t have a genetic relationship to the baby (thanks to the gestational surrogacy process), it will still be difficult to sort through how you feel about carrying a baby that is not yours. This is why Southern Surrogacy provides counseling for gestational carriers throughout the process.
- Changes to the current relationship: Your relationship with the family member you are carrying the baby for will change. These will not necessarily be negative changes, but it’s impossible for the relationship to stay the same after an experience as personal as this.
- Explaining the new relationship: You will be a part of this child’s life — as an aunt, a cousin or a different familial relationship. Have you thought about how you will share the surrogacy story with the child, and help them understand the important role you played in their life, while also establishing the appropriate boundaries?
These are not insurmountable challenges, and our intent is not to scare you. Rather, we want any woman considering being a gestational carrier, including those thinking about being a surrogate for a family member, to have a clear idea of what to expect.
Finding the Right Surrogacy Professional
The best thing you can do for yourself and your family members is find the right surrogacy professional. In order to complete this complicated process, you’ll need personalized, experienced support. The professionals at Southern Surrogacy can provide just that.
When it comes to being a surrogate for a family member, you have two basic options:
- Identified surrogacy with the support of our program
- Independent surrogacy using our local law firm
Southern Surrogacy can offer our full-service program in support of your identified surrogacy. To learn more, you can start by filling out our Information Request Form, which will help us learn a bit more about you and see if our program will be a good fit.
If you believe that you can complete the process without the support of a surrogacy program, you will still need to work with a family law attorney. The legal professionals at Claiborne | Fox | Bradley | Goldman can provide the services required to complete your surrogacy contract. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Common Questions About Becoming a Surrogate for a Family Member
You may have more questions about being a surrogate for a family member before you’re ready to take the next step. In order to help, we’ve answered some of the more specific questions about surrogacy within the family below:
Is being a surrogate for my sister-in-law allowed?
Being a surrogate for your sister-in-law is allowed. In fact, it’s relatively common for surrogacy within the family.
Can you be a surrogate for a sibling?
Yes, you can be a surrogate for your sister or be a surrogate for your brother. As long as everyone is on board, has considered all the risks and is prepared for the process, then you can take the next steps.
Can I be my mom’s surrogate?
If your mom has remarried and would like more children, then you may be thinking about becoming a surrogate for her. It’s worth considering how complicated this can make your relationship with your mom, as well as with the father and the baby. With that said, being a surrogate for your mom is possible.
What if we prefer traditional surrogacy?
Traditional surrogacy – in which the surrogate’s own egg is used — can make surrogacy within the family extremely complicated. Southern Surrogacy will not provide services for a traditional surrogacy with a family member, or in any other instance.
Why should we work with a program when we already know each other?
There are many reasons to work with a surrogacy program, even when you are a part of an identified surrogacy. The support offered by surrogacy professionals can not only make the process easier, but also provide legal protection so that you can be confident your surrogacy is completed according to your state laws.