The mark of a great friend is doing something selflessly for the benefit of another. By this standard, the women that choose to pursue surrogacy for a friend are perhaps the greatest friends in the world.
Being a gestational surrogate for a friend is a complicated process, full of emotional ups and downs — not to mention a huge commitment to make. If a friend has approached you about helping them bring a child into the world, you probably have a few questions:
How do I know if becoming a surrogate mother for a friend is right for me?
What is surrogacy with a friend like?
How do I become a surrogate mother for a friend?
You don’t have to be alone in this journey. American Surrogacy is here to help.
Whether you are ready to move forward with becoming a surrogate mother for a friend, or you are just interested in learning more about the process, our specialists can provide all the information you need. Contact us today to learn more about our identified surrogacy program for situations like yours.
Can I Be a Surrogate Mother for My Friend?
If someone has approached you about being a surrogate mom for a friend, you may be excited at the opportunity presented to you. You’ve likely seen your friend go through the struggles of infertility, and you know how much they desperately want a child to care for and love. Being able to help them achieve their parenting goals may seem like a dream come true.
However, not everyone can be a gestational carrier. Surrogacy professionals set certain requirements for women wishing to pursue surrogacy with a friend. These requirements protect the health of the surrogate and increase the probability that intended parents will have a child after their first embryo transfer process.
In order to become a surrogate for a friend, you must meet these requirements:
- Age range 21–38
- BMI of 19–32
- No smoking, illicit drug use or exposure to secondhand smoke
- At least one successful pregnancy and currently raising a child
- No major complications from previous pregnancies
- Not receiving state assistance
- Cannot be on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication for 12 months
For more information about the requirements to be a gestational surrogate, please contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).
How to Be a Surrogate for a Friend
So, you’ve determined that you meet the requirements to become a gestational carrier. Your next question is probably, “How do I become a surrogate mother for a friend?”
If you and your friend are both 100 percent committed to your surrogacy journey, there are a few steps you’ll need to take in order to start your surrogacy process:
Step 1: Find a Surrogacy Professional
Every surrogacy requires the assistance of experienced surrogacy professionals — even if you are becoming a surrogate mother for a friend. You will always need to work with a fertility clinic and a surrogacy attorney, but you may also consider working with a surrogacy agency such as American Surrogacy, as well.
While fertility clinics and attorneys will only handle their specific areas of concern, a surrogacy agency will help you through every practical step of your surrogacy journey. An agency will coordinate with your other surrogacy professionals, organize your screening and assessments, and provide support and counseling whenever you need it.
Just because you are being a gestational surrogate for a friend doesn’t mean you can do it on your own. The specialists at American Surrogacy stand ready to help.
Step 2: Undergo Screening and Assessment
Both parties in the surrogacy process must complete background, medical and mental health screenings before being approved for the surrogacy process. These assessments make sure that both intended parents and gestational carriers are ready for the challenges ahead of them.
By completing this screening ahead of time, you reduce the likelihood of a surrogacy failing later on — because an embryo transfer will not implant, intended parents decide to change their mind, or another unforeseen circumstance arises. Surrogacy professionals will not proceed with the medical process of surrogacy until these screenings have been completed, even in cases of surrogacy with a friend.
Step 3: Create a Surrogacy Contract
Before you can begin the medical process of surrogacy and officially be a surrogate for a friend, there is one more step you’ll need to complete: the drafting of a surrogacy contract. Your surrogacy contract is a legal document that outlines every step of your upcoming surrogacy journey, including the responsibilities, expectations and potential risks for both intended parents and surrogates.
Just because you are being a surrogate for a friend doesn’t exempt you from this necessary document. Even if you are close with your intended parents, you will each need to hire separate attorneys to protect your individual rights and interests during the upcoming surrogacy journey.
4 Things to Consider When Being a Surrogate for a Friend
In many ways, becoming a surrogate mother for a friend can be a positive experience for you and for them; it eliminates the need for matching services and may be a less expensive option that offers both parties greater peace of mind during the surrogacy process.
However, while there are benefits of identified surrogacy, there are also some unique challenges to consider before pursuing surrogacy for a friend:
1. Addressing Underlying Issues:
The surrogacy process can be stressful, and that stress sometimes causes old feelings or unsettled disputes to resurface. If you have been friends for years, you likely have had arguments or dealt with issues like jealousy in the past. The selfless choice of being a surrogate for a friend would certainly amplify that feeling. It is important to complete the necessary psychological evaluations and work closely with your surrogacy specialist to manage these potential interpersonal issues.
2. Completing In-Depth Screening:
Initially, you may feel more comfortable with identified surrogacy because you already know and trust the intended parents. But it is important to consider how well you really know them — are they truly close friends, or someone you meet through a mutual friend or acquaintance?
Keep in mind that this family likely has not completed the thorough screening process all of American Surrogacy’s intended parents go through. Some intended parents are facing significant financial challenges that you may not know about. Others may have unresolved emotional issues about not being able to carry their own child or needing an egg donor. Depending on your level of friendship, you may not be aware of these issues before committing to surrogacy with this friend.
Challenges like these need to be evaluated and addressed by a surrogacy professional. If you choose to move forward with an identified surrogacy opportunity, American Surrogacy can complete the background checks we require of all of our intended parents.
3. Resolving Financial Disputes:
You clearly care very deeply for these prospective intended parents, and you may be motivated to be a surrogate for a friend free of charge. However, offering to complete a non-compensated (or “altruistic”) surrogacy can raise a number of unique challenges. It may place pressure on the intended parents, who will feel forever indebted to you for the gift you are giving their family. Or, it may cause you to feel unappreciated or taken advantage of, leading to feelings of resentment that can permanently damage your relationship with the intended parents.
In a non-compensated surrogacy, you may be responsible for the time and costs associated with travel to appointments, time off from work, and any unforeseen medical or financial challenges associated with the pregnancy and surrogacy process.
On the other hand, asking your friend or family member to compensate you for your time, effort and sacrifice can be uncomfortable. It is important to work closely with an independent attorney as well as your surrogacy specialist to come to a fair financial compromise before beginning medical surrogacy procedures.
If you feel like intended parents are interested in using a friend as a surrogate simply to cut down on costs, be cautious about moving forward. There are plenty of intended parents who are willing to provide compensation if you are serious about becoming a surrogate.
4. Managing Emotional Challenges:
Every pregnancy has its challenges, and this one will be no different — not only for you but also for the intended parents. There are a number of emotional difficulties that may arise for both parties, and it isn’t always easy to openly discuss these issues with a friend.
For example, the intended mother may feel envious of your pregnancy experience or nervous about your prenatal care. Meanwhile, you might feel undervalued or resentful of the restrictions placed on you during your pregnancy. By working closely with your surrogacy specialist, you can get the support and contact mediation you need to address these concerns while protecting your personal relationship with the intended parents.
While there are some challenges of becoming a surrogate mother for a friend, many of these problems can be solved by relying on a neutral third party, like the licensed surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy. If you are interested in being a gestational surrogate for a friend, you can always contact our agency at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today to get started.