Identified surrogacies come from all kinds of relationships. Being a surrogate for a sister-in-law is actually more common than you may think. If you are considering this path, know that you do have options in front of you — as long as you ensure the process is right for you before starting.
Many sisters-in-law have close relationships to each other, similar to those of a biological sister. And why wouldn’t they? A woman only wants what is best for her brother or sister and, when he or she finds “the one,” she will often share a similar relationship with them as she does with any other sibling of hers.
In other situations, a woman may not have as close a relationship with her sister-in-law; instead, she has a very close relationship with her brother or sister, wanting to do anything to make him or her happy. In these cases, she is not just being a surrogate for a sister-in-law — she is also being a surrogate for the brother or sister that she loves so much.
Whatever your situation, American Surrogacy is here to help. We can work with many family members taking the surrogacy journey together, including women carrying for their sister-in-law. We even offer a special program for identified surrogacy. To learn more, please call our specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.
Questions To Ask Yourself About Being a Surrogate for Your Sister-in-Law
Whether your sibling has asked you about being a surrogate for your sister-in-law, or it’s an idea that you have thought of on your own, there are a few things to consider before making this commitment. Being a gestational carrier means you will give up a great amount of your own time and energy — not to mention your body — for a year or more.
Before choosing this path, we encourage all surrogates to ask themselves these questions:
1. Am I even eligible to be a surrogate?
Not all women can be gestational carriers. If your sister-in-law has asked you to carry for her, you should first determine whether you even meet the requirements to become a surrogate. For the safety of all parties in the surrogacy process, surrogates must meet certain qualifications before starting.
Every surrogacy professional has different requirements, but here a few of the major ones to know:
- You must have carried at least one healthy pregnancy to full term, with no major complications.
- You must be raising a child in your own home.
- You must be between the ages of 21 and 38.
- You must have a BMI between 19 and 32.
- You can have no untreated addiction, abuse, depression, eating disorders or traumatic pregnancy, labor and/or delivery.
Our surrogacy specialists can always explain our full surrogate requirements, as well as any possible exceptions, when you contact our agency.
2. Am I aware of the responsibilities of surrogacy?
Surrogacy is not always an easy journey, even when you are pursuing this path with your own family members. It requires a great deal from all parties in the process, including that you sacrifice much of your everyday life to help bring a child into the world for someone else.
As a gestational carrier, you will undergo medical treatments and procedures, incur all the normal risks of pregnancy and childbirth, and maintain a close relationship with the intended parents — wherever they are located. You need to be ready to have the most intimate details of your life and body known to many different people, and your immediate family needs to be prepared for the change in every member’s lifestyle while the surrogacy is being completed.
Being a surrogate for a sister-in-law (or any other intended parent) is an immensely rewarding process, but it’s also one that you should enter with a full awareness of your responsibilities along the way.
3. Am I prepared for the way this will change my family dynamic?
Being a surrogate for a sister-in-law will change your relationship with her, no matter how close you already are. Surrogacy and pregnancy is a very emotional time, especially for a mother watching another woman carry her child. Although she may not mean to, your sister-in-law may push boundaries and try to involve herself in your life in a way she never has before. It’s understandable, but it also must be something you are prepared for before starting.
In addition, giving birth to your own niece or nephew will come with unique considerations. All of your extended family needs to be aware and supportive of the surrogacy journey, and you must all discuss how the surrogacy will be addressed in the future. This will include how the family will take about the child’s surrogacy story as they grow up.
All of these issues will only be complicated further if your family members are considering a traditional surrogacy. Because of these complications, surrogacy experts would always discourage family members from choosing this path.
4. How will I explain this to our family and others?
On that same note, being a surrogate for a sister-in-law is something that will impact the rest of your life — and a story that you will need to explain to not only your niece or nephew but any other family members or friends who ask about it. As a potential gestational carrier, you need to be comfortable with explaining this process to others and acting as an advocate for surrogacy.
You will also need to make sure the intended parents understand the importance of telling this story, too. Surrogacy is not something that should be kept a “family secret”; it should be openly discussed and celebrated. The child born via surrogacy will find out, so speak with your sibling and sister-in-law about this aspect before committing to this journey.
5. Am I comfortable with being an altruistic surrogate?
While not every identified surrogacy is an altruistic surrogacy, many intended parents choose to complete this surrogacy path because of the higher likelihood of finding an altruistic surrogate. If they don’t have to pay a surrogate base compensation, their family-building process will be cheaper for them — which may be a reason they have reached out to you.
Altruistic surrogacy can be a great way to grow a family, but seriously consider this path if your sister-in-law is presenting it to you. You will give a great deal of your time, energy and your body to helping them complete their goal, which means you may also lose out on work opportunities, family events and more. For many surrogates, a base compensation prevents them from the financial burden of unexpected surrogacy costs — such as prenatal vitamins, wages lost from time off work, gas and mileage for travels to and from medical appointments and more.
Our surrogacy specialists can always help you negotiate the conversation about a compensated surrogacy with your sister-in-law.
6. Am I doing this because I want to — or because I feel pressured?
Family relationships can be complicated, especially relationships with in-laws. If someone asks you about being a surrogate for a sister-in-law, remember that you are never obligated to follow this path — no matter what your relationship is like with your sister-in-law.
Surrogacy should be a choice in which you are 100 percent confident. If you are not sure, but your sister-in-law or other family members are trying to persuade you, take a step back. You should not feel pressured into surrogacy. If you do, approach your family member and have a serious conversation about this. You could also consider reaching out to a surrogacy professional to learn more and for help mediating a conversation with the intended parents.
7. Is surrogacy really right for me?
This is the biggest question that all prospective gestational carriers should ask themselves. After you have researched as much as you can about surrogacy and talked the process over with your family members, you will need to take the time to answer this question. Becoming a surrogate isn’t a decision you can make overnight, and your intended parents should respect that you need this time to determine what is right for you.
If you ever have questions about the surrogacy process and what it is like being a surrogate for a sister-in-law, we encourage you to contact our surrogacy specialists today. They can give you all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family.