“I’d be honored to carry your baby!” “I’d be your surrogate for free.” “Why would you go to a surrogacy agency when I could just do it for you?”
When someone you know says something like this to you, it comes from a place of love. Becoming a surrogate for someone is one of the most loving things a person can do. But identified surrogacy, — where you partner with someone you know, like a friend or family member — can come with some emotional complications and can sometimes make the process riskier for those involved.
So, how do you convey to this woman that although you’re grateful for her expression of love, you have to decline her generous offer? Here’s how:
Step 1: Thank Her!
She may be a little hurt that you’re declining, but growing your family is a big deal, and you need to do this your way.
Start by thanking her (a lot) and letting her know how much her offer means to you. Understanding where her offer to carry your child comes from can help her to feel more heard. She probably loves you, sees how much you want to have a baby and wants to help.
Your relationship with this woman is unique, so you’ll probably know best how to approach this delicate topic. Just a few tips to keep in mind:
- Trust your instincts and your knowledge of your relationship.
- Make sure she knows how you feel about her offering such an incredible gift to you.
- Let her know how much you love and appreciate her.
- Maybe offer other ways in which she can help in your journey to grow your family.
Step 2: Explain Why You Need to Decline
She may feel better if she understands the complexity of surrogacy and your reasons for declining her offer. Sometimes over-explaining can feel like a cop-out, so use your best judgment and your instincts of your relationship with this person.
There are a number of reasons why you might be turning down her offer to be your surrogate. Some of the reasons you might have, and feel the need to explain to her, can include:
- You don’t want to jeopardize your relationship with her. The surrogacy process is an emotional one. Jealousy isn’t uncommon, finances are something that needs to be worked out in detail, things like pregnancy complications or selective termination are difficult topics you’d need to talk about, and more. All of this can put strain on even the strongest relationship.
- She doesn’t meet the requirements. There are strict health, emotional and legal requirements for prospective surrogates, and not every woman is going to meet them. You may have greater knowledge of these requirements, so you already know she won’t be eligible for surrogacy.
- She doesn’t have much knowledge of the surrogacy process.Becoming a surrogate, although rewarding, can be demanding, and the women who do so go into the agreement knowing what they’re in for. They’ve carefully researched the process, and they’ve signed on with an agency after being thoroughly screened and proving their commitment. Offering to become a surrogate is a kind thought, but actually committing to do so after seeking out the process is another matter.
- You don’t want to have your surrogate present in your everyday post-surrogacy life. Feeling constantly indebted to this woman — who is likely a friend, family member or peer — would become too much if you see her on a regular basis after the baby is born. However, when you work with a surrogate that you only see occasionally, you don’t have the same kind of pressure on a relationship.
- You know you would worry about the baby and pregnancy more often if you saw her more. Sometimes, a little distance is good in a surrogacy relationship. There’s a lot that’s out of your control in surrogacy, and if you see your surrogate regularly, it can be tempting to micromanage her pregnancy or obsess about her health. A surrogate who you see a little less can be equally stressful, but you wouldn’t have the constant visual reminder stirring up anxieties.
Step 3: Avoid Identified Surrogacy, Avoid More Hurt Feelings
If you agree to any identified surrogacy situation, you’ll have a potential for legal, financial and emotional issues. You may damage your relationship with the person who offered to be your surrogate. For these reasons and more, it’s generally recommended to avoid partnering with someone you personally know — unless you and she have discussed the process of surrogacy and your personal expectations for a long time and in detail.
While surrogacy partnerships often lead to close emotional bonds and friendships, in some ways, the process is often a little business-like. You wouldn’t think that a group of people who are excitedly joining together to have a baby would ever want to avoid emotions, but due to the by-the-book nature of surrogacy, sometimes having a surrogacy partner to whom you’re not already close can help those clinical moments feel less awkward. When you enter into a surrogacy journey with a woman you already know, your relationship will change forever — for good or for bad — and there will be no going back to the relationship you had before. Are you and your loved one prepared for that?
Turning down an identified surrogacy offer can be uncomfortable, but hopefully the woman who offered will understand that building a family is a deeply personal path and that you need to do it in your own way.