When you are using the help of a surrogate to grow your family, having a good relationship is key. Most surrogates are retained through a private service that makes introductions between surrogates and the prospective parents. There may be several rounds of interviews to get to know each other.
Having a friend serve as your surrogate is more unusual, but it may lead to great outcomes for your family. Because of the existing relationship, it is much easier to set the stage for a pregnancy free of misunderstandings and conflict. That also helps welcome your child to the world with greater peace.
The Role of the Surrogate
The surrogate carries a child to term on behalf of an adoptive parent or parents. Surrogates are most often used when the female partner has health concerns that make a pregnancy risky or impossible. A surrogate may be impregnated with egg and sperm cells from the couple or from donors as needed.
In most cases, a friend volunteers to be a surrogate after hearing about the adoptive parents’ family-building journey. Following this path together can deepen and strengthen the relationship, and may create an extended support network for the future child.
As soon as a newborn comes into the world, the adoptive parents file paperwork to transfer parental rights. In most cases, the surrogate isn’t involved in the child’s life after birth. But this may not be the case when the surrogate is a friend. There could be a long-term relationship that enriches everyone.
Health and Safety of the Surrogate
Whenever parents enter into an agreement with a surrogate, the surrogate’s health and safety will be partly the responsibility of the parents. They agree to take on any medical expenses directly related to the pregnancy. In exchange, they can set expectations about diet or other wellness practices.
As women age, pregnancy complications are more likely. However, the majority of these come from the gradual deterioration of the egg cells. In vitro fertilization means an embryo can be formed using eggs from the mother or from another suitable donor, so it is okay if a surrogate is in her 30s or older.
Making the Right Choices About Surrogacy with a Friend
When a friend wants to be your surrogate, the natural response is to give an excited “yes!”
Of course, it’s still important to take the right steps to protect yourself and your future child. Just as you would with another surrogate, you should request healthcare records so you feel confident. A check-up by a general practitioner and visit with an ob/gyn fertility specialist can both provide valuable insights.
Once you feel sure your friend is healthy enough to proceed, you should come to an agreement on the terms of the relationship. For example, will you compensate your surrogate on top of healthcare costs? Will you have any special expectations, such as modifying or discontinuing certain medications?
Sometimes, when friends look closely at all the details that go into surrogacy, they decide on their own that it isn’t right for them. That’s okay! Your friend can still be a valuable part of your support network throughout the pregnancy and after you welcome your child into the world.
If everyone involved feels good about moving forward, then it’s essential to talk to a family law attorney. Your lawyer will help you develop your mutual understanding into a contract. A contract does not mean you don’t trust each other. It simply sets out rights and responsibilities so everyone is in full agreement.
Ready to begin? Contact Jennifer Fairfax for help in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.