When it comes to news about surrogacy, certain headlines seem to dominate:
“Surrogate mom gives birth to her own grandson!”
“I was my mother’s surrogate!”
“Mother-in-law becomes surrogate for her own grandson!”
If you’ve read these stories about surrogacy, they often present a simplified version of how surrogacy really works. While identified surrogacy can be a beautiful way to bring a child into the world and bring a family closer together, it’s also a process full of potential risks, complications and challenges for both parties.
If you are considering becoming a gestational carrier, you have a big decision ahead of you. Whether you are wondering if a mother can be a surrogate for a daughter or asking, “Can I be my mom’s surrogate?” you’ll need to understand exactly what your surrogacy process will entail before starting.
Fortunately, American Surrogacy is here to help. Our specialists have guided many families through identified surrogacy journeys, and we can do the same for you, too. To learn more about carrying a child for a family member, please call our agency at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) today.
In the meantime, find out the basics about carrying as either a daughter or mother below.
Becoming a Surrogate for a Child
Did you know that infertility affects 1 in 8 couples in the United States? If those statistics include your child, it can be a devastating journey for everyone in the family. As a mother, you likely know just how badly they wish to have a child. You may even wonder if you can do anything to help.
In fact, there is something you can do — make a beautiful, generous sacrifice to help bring your grandchild into the world. You could consider becoming a surrogate.
As a gestational surrogate, you will be able to carry your grandchild in a safe, secure womb until they are born full term. You will not be genetically related to the child that you carry; he or she will be conceived of your child and their spouse’s (or a donor’s) DNA. You may even view it as a prenatal babysitting job — getting a head start on all the babysitting you’ll want to do after the baby is born.
Before a mother is a surrogate for a daughter or son, she should ask herself a few things:
- Can I provide a safe and healthy uterus for my grandchild? While women can still be gestational surrogates if their tubes are tied, if a woman has reached menopause, most surrogacy professionals will disqualify her from the surrogacy process. Even though her eggs will not be used in the surrogacy process, menopause causes changes to the uterus and hormone levels that make it much more difficult for a surrogacy pregnancy to occur. Always speak with a fertility specialist before being a surrogate for a child to ensure you can have a successful pregnancy.
- Am I young enough to be a surrogate? Every surrogacy professional will have different qualifications, but many professionals require that surrogates are 41 years or younger, due to the risks from menopause mentioned above. At American Surrogacy, the age factor of your surrogacy journey will be decided on a case-by-case basis, as approved by your fertility clinic.
- Do I understand the emotional complexities of an identified surrogacy? Carrying a child for someone else will always come with unique emotions and challenges. Carrying your own grandchild can be even more complicated. You may not be used to following orders from your children but, if they are the intended parent, they have a right to ask for certain rules to be followed during your pregnancy. Be prepared for a shift in family dynamics, one that will change your relationship forever.
- Am I prepared for the risks of being an older surrogate? If you are a mother considering being a surrogate for a daughter or son, you will likely be on the older end of the age spectrum. The older a woman is, the riskier her pregnancy will be and the more likely complications will occur. Make sure to also consider the emotional and practical risks of giving your time, body and energy to this goal for a year or more.
If you are serious about becoming a gestational carrier for a child, consider reaching out to other women who gone through this journey. You can also contact our surrogacy specialists to learn more about the details of the surrogacy process.
Becoming a Surrogate for a Parent
If you are asking, “Can I be my mom’s surrogate?” know that you are in a very rare situation — but, as long as both parties meet the necessary requirements, this journey may be possible.
Perhaps your mother had you when she was very young, and she is facing infertility struggles later in life. Or, perhaps she has remarried and wants to have another child with her new partner. She may have confessed her desires to be a mother again to you — and perhaps even asked if you would serve as her gestational carrier.
Remember, you are never obligated to become a surrogate for a family member if they ask. However, if you are interested in this journey, there are a few things you should consider first:
- Will your mother use her own eggs in this process? If your mother is experiencing infertility, her eggs may be low quality due to her age. If this is the case, and she attempts an embryo transfer process with her and her partner’s gametes, there may be a high chance of the transfer failing — no matter how healthy you are. If she is not using her own eggs, she should use a healthy donor’s. If she should ask you about using your own eggs, decline this offer. It will be very ethically and emotionally complicated if you end up being a traditional surrogate for your mother, because you will be carrying your own sibling and child (even if her spouse is not your biological father). This should all be squared away long before you consider surrogacy as an option.
- Do you meet the requirements to be a surrogate? There are a few important requirements that every prospective gestational carrier should meet, including having carried at least one pregnancy to full-term with no major complications. If your mother is asking you to be her surrogate, you may be younger than required to be a surrogate or not have completed your own family first. We encourage you to speak with a surrogacy professional for more information about whether you meet the necessary qualifications for this journey.
- Are you prepared for the emotional complexities of carrying your own sibling? Whether or not the child you carry is genetically related to your mother, they will still be raised as your sibling. Being a surrogate for your mother is a brave and selfless thing to do, but it will be a journey that impacts your whole extended family. Every member will need to understand how the child’s surrogacy story will be explained as they grow up, and you’ll need to be prepared for the unique emotions you’ll feel when you give birth to your sibling. Fortunately, you will discuss all of these issues with a trained counselor to ensure you are prepared before taking this journey with your mother.
- What kind of role does your mother’s age play in this decision? If your mother is pursuing surrogacy because of age-related infertility, you should also consider the role her age will play in her child’s life. Will your sibling be able to grow up with a mom who is active and involved in his or her life, or will your mother be significantly older than your siblings’ peers’ parents? It may not seem like a huge issue at the time, but it will be as the child grows up. Every parent should have a plan for their child should something happen, but this is even more important in a family surrogacy.
Choosing to be a gestational carrier for your mother is a complicated decision. There are many things to consider, including your own interests and the best interests of a child conceived in this journey. You are never obligated to carry your mother’s child if you are even slightly uncomfortable with doing so; there are other options for your parents if you say no.
Now that you know more about the answer to “Can I be my mom’s surrogate?” you can get started whenever you’re ready by contacting our surrogacy specialists.