If you’ve decided upon surrogacy, congratulations — you are one step closer to having the child you’ve always dreamed of. As you begin your surrogacy journey, you may be nervous about the steps ahead of you, especially finding the perfect surrogate.
If you’re like many intended parents, you may wonder: Can you pursue surrogacy with a friend and have her carry your baby?
The answer is yes! Many intended parents choose to work with generous, selfless friends during this journey. Rather than find and work with a stranger, they choose to start their surrogacy process with someone with whom they share an established relationship. If you’re considering this path, know that this is an option for your family.
Here at American Surrogacy, we are happy to work with those who are completing surrogacy with a friend or family member. We call these “identified surrogacies,” and we offer a special program for those taking this route. Because you will not require marketing services to find a gestational carrier, our program costs are reduced to reflect that. To learn more about the cost of surrogacy with a friend, please contact our specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).
In the meantime, you can learn more about using a friend as a surrogate below.
How to Do Surrogacy with a Friend as the Surrogate
If you have found a friend who is willing to act as your gestational carrier, you are one step closer to making your parenthood dreams come true. However, there are still a few important things that must be done before your friend can carry your child.
Surrogacy is a complicated process, practically and emotionally. Even though you will embark on this journey with a close friend, you must follow the proper protocols as would any other intended parents and surrogates. This is to ensure that your rights, interests and safety are protected every step of the way.
If you are using a friend as a surrogate, you’ll need to follow these steps:
Step 1: Make sure she meets surrogate requirements.
Not just any woman can become a gestational carrier. A surrogate not only carries the dreams of her intended parents, but she also incurs all the medical and emotional risks of pregnancy and delivery. Therefore, before she can take on these responsibilities and risks, she needs to meet certain requirements:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 38
- Have already carried a pregnancy to full-term with no complications
- Have BMI between 19 and 32
- Be raising a child in her own home
- Have no untreated addiction, abuse (child, sexual or physical), depression, eating disorder or traumatic pregnancy, labor and/or delivery
- And more
Many intended parents ask, “Why does a surrogate have to meet all of these requirements?” These requirements actually serve you as an intended parent, not just the gestational carrier. If your surrogate has proven her ability to carry a pregnancy to term, there is a better chance that your first embryo transfer will be successful and you will spend less time and money adding a baby to your family.
If your friend does not meet these surrogacy requirements, know that there are plenty of pre-approved surrogates available to you through our agency. Your friend can always contact our agency for more information about surrogacy requirements and any possible exceptions that may be made.
Step 2: Choose a surrogacy professional.
Even though you and your gestational carrier know each other, you will still need to work with surrogacy professionals to safely complete your journey. This will include a fertility clinic, a surrogacy attorney (each of you will need your own) and possibly a surrogacy agency. All of these professionals will play a crucial role in preparing you for and guiding you through the journey ahead of you.
American Surrogacy can assist you through every step of your surrogacy with a friend, and our specialists will provide case management and support whenever you need it. That way, you can focus on your relationship with your surrogate and bringing a healthy child into the world.
Step 3: Undergo screening and assessment.
You and your gestational carrier will both need to undergo screening and assessment before you are approved for the surrogacy process. This screening will ensure that you are both medically, physically and emotionally ready for the challenges and rewards you may experience along the way. American Surrogacy will organize and coordinate these screenings with necessary professionals. All fertility and surrogacy clinics will require this step before you can proceed.
Step 4: Create a surrogacy contract.
Even though you and your surrogate already have a close relationship, you must still complete a legal contract before moving ahead with your surrogacy journey. You may already be in agreement on a great deal of your surrogacy goals and preferences, but only a surrogacy attorney will be able to highlight every single detail and risk of your journey moving forward. Creating this legal contract is not only necessary to outline your surrogacy process but also crucial for addressing potential risks and liabilities and other sensitive topics.
Most fertility clinics will not complete a surrogacy medical protocol unless a legal contract is already in place.
Step 5: Start the medical process of surrogacy.
Once you have completed all the previous steps, you and your gestational carrier can start the medical process to bring your child into the world. If you have already used a fertility clinic for infertility treatments, you can often use that same clinic to complete the embryo transfer process. Your surrogate will travel to your clinic, and you will pay for her travel expenses.
From here, you will officially be using a friend as a surrogate — because this is the point at which she will become pregnant! Remember, a surrogacy specialist will guide you through the steps ahead and make sure your surrogacy with a friend continues smoothly and successfully.
3 Things to Consider About Using a Friend as a Surrogate
Knowing how to do surrogacy with a friend as the surrogate is only the first step to ensuring this is the right path for you. You will also need to consider a few other things before working with a close friend in your family-building journey.
1. Your Relationship Will Change.
Whether you are very close with your friend or you are more similar to acquaintances, the relationship that you develop with them during your surrogacy journey will be like nothing you have had before. You will share incredibly intimate moments with each other, and you will be forever bonded by this gift your surrogate has given you. Be ready for this lifelong relationship, and think about how you will address this as your child grows up. How active will your gestational carrier be in your son or daughter’s life?
2. She May Not Be Comfortable with an Altruistic Surrogacy.
Surrogacy is expensive, and identified surrogacy can provide a reprieve from some of the costs associated with finding a surrogate from scratch. Intended parents often pursue surrogacy with a friend because of the reduced costs of an altruistic surrogacy — but not all surrogates are comfortable with this path. Your friend should truly understand the pros and cons before she decides to become your surrogate without base compensation. While it may be the cheapest option for you, it may not be something that she is completely comfortable with. A gestational carrier always has a right to base compensation, should she desire it.
A surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy can always mediate this conversation, if need be.
3. You Will Still Need to Work with Professionals.
Just because you are completing a surrogacy with a friend does not mean you can complete this journey on your own. Surrogacy is complicated, and you can easily run into legal, medical and emotional complications without a professional to guide you. A surrogacy professional is always necessary to protect your rights, interests and safety every step along the way.
Do not risk your family-building dreams; contact a surrogacy professional such as American Surrogacy to begin your surrogacy with a friend today.