In surrogacy, there are scenarios where a woman is interested in becoming a surrogate mother for a family member. We call these situations "identified surrogacies."
If this describes your situation, you’ve already found your match, which means you’re already a few steps ahead in your surrogacy process. However, there is still a lot of work to be done!
Becoming a surrogate for a family member is still a complicated process, with the potential for legal, medical and practical risks along the way. Even if you have already found your intended parents, it’s important to work with a surrogacy agency like American Surrogacy to protect your interests (and those of your intended parents) every step of the way.
Whether you are a first-time or a repeat gestational carrier, we encourage you to contact our agency today to learn more about our special program for being a surrogate mother for a family member. Our specialists are always available at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to answer any questions you may have.
In the meantime, learn more about completing a surrogacy for family members below.
How to Be a Surrogate for a Family Member
Wanting to become a surrogate mother for a family member? You’ve come to the right place.
American Surrogacy is here to guide you through every step of your family member surrogacy, no matter where you are currently at in your decision process. Our specialists understand this is a life-changing decision, and they are always here to offer the information and support you need.
When you contact our agency, our specialists will explain exactly how to become a surrogate mother for a family member. There are a few steps involved:
Step 1: Decide that Surrogacy is Right For You
Before you decide to be a surrogate mother for a relative, it’s important that you all seriously research the process of surrogacy and what it will require from each of you. Surrogacy can be complicated, and it will be a long journey — so both intended parents and surrogates need to be aware of this before moving forward.
In addition to contacting an agency like American Surrogacy, take the time to speak with other former surrogates who have carried for family members to know what awaits you. Just because a family member asks you to be their gestational carrier does not mean you are obligated to do so; always do what is right for you and your family.
Step 2: Confirm You Meet Surrogacy Requirements
Often, intended parents will ask someone to be a surrogate before they understand the requirements of the process. Not just anyone can be a surrogate mother for a relative; all surrogates must meet certain medical, physical and mental health standards before taking this path.
Every professional has different requirements, but you should be able to answer “yes” to these questions before becoming a surrogate for a family member:
- Have you had a successful pregnancy?
- Are you raising a child in your own home?
- Are you between the ages of 21 and 38?
- Do you have a BMI of less than 32?
- Have you stopped the use of anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication for at least 12 months?
To learn more about the requirements to be a gestational carrier, please contact our surrogacy specialists.
Step 3: Find a Professional
Once you and your relative are ready to begin your surrogacy, you will need to find the right professional. Every surrogacy requires the guidance of both a fertility clinic and a surrogacy attorney, but many people also choose to work with a surrogacy agency (more information on those benefits below). Only after you have chosen experienced, certified surrogacy professionals will you be able to start your journey to becoming a surrogate for a family member.
Why Work with an Agency While Being a Surrogate for a Family Member?
If you are considering becoming a surrogate for a family member, you may be thinking, “If I’ve already found a match, do we really need to work with an agency to complete the surrogacy process?”
While it may be possible to work directly with a fertility clinic and attorney to complete the surrogacy process independently, there are a number of reasons to consider using an agency’s services. Aside from the matching services required in non-identified surrogacy situations, American Surrogacy fills a number of other important roles that are essential to completing a surrogacy plan — services that can be invaluable to those completing a surrogacy within the family.
Here are some of the services our specialists can offer you:
1. Mediation and Support
Sometimes it is difficult to openly discuss your true feelings, fears and wants with someone you know and care about for fear that you may upset them or let them down. American Surrogacy can ensure these difficult topics are discussed openly when you are becoming a surrogate for a family member, and that everyone is comfortable with each step to reaching their surrogacy goals.
Some examples of American Surrogacy filling this mediator role include:
- Negotiating your compensation and other financial issues with the intended parents
- Emotional support during the difficult days of your pregnancy
- Support for the intended parents if they have difficult times throughout the pregnancy
- Education for all parties during the entire process
Scenarios like these and many others make it valuable to have an independent third party like American Surrogacy to make sure certain boundaries aren’t crossed, which is important no matter how close you are with the intended parents.
2. Screening and Assessing
Regardless of your personal relationship with the intended parents, it is still important for both you and them to be screened for a variety of reasons, including each party’s medical, emotional and physical readiness for the surrogacy process. American Surrogacy will always assess the intended parents’ comfort level and readiness for surrogacy to make sure they understand exactly what they are asking of you — and that you are 100 percent comfortable in being a surrogate mother for a family member.
Oftentimes, American Surrogacy’s screening process is able to separate the fully committed couples and individuals from those who are not truly ready to pursue surrogacy, saving both parties time and effort. The screening and assessment process reviews both intended parents’ and gestational carriers’:
- readiness to pursue surrogacy
- criminal history
- physical health for pregnancy or to raise children
- psychological health for pregnancy or to raise children
- and much more
American Surrogacy and the professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, social workers) we work with do the assessing and ask the tough questions so you aren’t put in an uncomfortable position. This allows you to protect yourself and your own interests without harming your personal relationship with the intended parents.
3. Coordinating Your Journey
The final role American Surrogacy fills during an identified surrogacy is the coordinator role, which takes the burden off of you to navigate safely and legally through the surrogacy process.
American Surrogacy will coordinate with each of the professionals required to reach your goal of helping a relative add to their family. These professionals include:
- Doctors and Clinics – Coordinate with reproductive endocrinologists and other medical professionals to prepare you and your intended parents for the medical process of surrogacy, including fertility treatments and the embryo transfer process
- Hospital Staff – Prepare hospital workers for your surrogate pregnancy delivery plans, including non-traditional birthing plans, and organize the obtaining of any necessary amended birth certificates and parentage orders
- ART Attorneys – Identifying trusted and experienced legal counsel in your state from our network of respected attorneys who specialize in assisted reproductive technologies, and coordinate them for your surrogacy legal contract, compensation and more
- Insurance Companies – Communicate with your existing insurance company to determine surrogate pregnancy coverage, and if unavailable, determine where to obtain health insurance to fit everyone’s needs and ensure you are protected
When we act as the coordinator of your surrogacy, it is our job to prepare and execute each of the steps of the surrogacy process in a way that protects you and your intended parents and meets your needs and goals.
5 Tips for Becoming a Surrogate Mother for a Family Member
With the right preparation and professional guidance, being a surrogate for a family member can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime. As you consider your identified surrogacy plan, here are some steps you can take to ensure a positive experience:
- Expect changes in your relationship. No matter how close you are with the intended parents, this shared experience will forever connect you in a new and unique way. Be prepared for your relationship to grow and change during the surrogacy process.
- Establish clear boundaries. Boundaries are an important part of every healthy surrogacy relationship. Your surrogacy specialist can help you and the intended parents create clear boundaries and expectations regarding each party’s roles and responsibilities.
- Communicate openly. Honest communication is key to a positive surrogacy experience, even in a family member surrogacy. Throughout your pregnancy, you should keep the intended parents informed and involved in your progress, and check in consistently with each other and your surrogacy specialist for the support and services you need.
- Work with a professional. Surrogacy is a social journey, as well as a complex legal, medical and emotional process. The surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy can help you navigate this process while keeping your personal relationship with the intended parents intact.
- Know that it’s worth it. Surrogacy is a life-changing experience that can be immensely rewarding, not only for the intended parents but also for you. If you are pursuing a surrogate pregnancy for a family member, you have likely watched them struggle for years to become parents — and knowing that you helped them complete their family will make your entire surrogacy journey worthwhile.
To learn more about whether you can be a surrogate for a family member, please contact a surrogacy specialist today.