Surrogacy Costs & Other Considerations: Using a Relative or Friend as Your Surrogate
Surrogacy is a remarkable way for individuals or couples to realize their dreams of having a child when faced with infertility, have medical challenges, or are members of the LGBTQ+ community. While most people associate surrogacy with working with a gestational carrier who is not a relative, surrogacy with a family member or friend is a unique option that brings an added level of intimacy and connection to the process.
It’s important to note that surrogacy with a family member is not necessarily cheaper, though it can be. There are stories of altruistic (compensation-less) surrogacy done on behalf of family members all the time. This doesn’t mean, however, that your family member is willing to carry a child or children for you without receiving compensation. In locations where commercial surrogacy is legal (e.g. in most of the United States), Surrogacy compensation is left up to the surrogate to decide a fee she is most comfortable with commensurate with the time she’ll need to dedicate, the physical discomfort of pregnancy, and the overall risk to her health that any pregnancy entails. Surrogacy without an agency, however, is much cheaper.
If you’re discussing surrogacy with a relative or friend, a good place to start is to directly ask what her desired compensation level is. Discussing finances with family can be uncomfortable, but there’s no way to proceed with surrogacy without being forthcoming and transparent about surrogacy compensation. If your family member is willing to carry for you without compensation – congratulations, though that is truly rare. Family members do not deserve to be guilted into carry a pregnancy on your behalf, even if they’ve been a firsthand witness to your infertility or other struggles on the path to parenthood.
Once you know what your surrogate’s compensation is, you can use this surrogacy cost overview as a guide to determine what your final costs might be. Especially if you’re already matched with a relative, you do not need to use a surrogacy agency. You will usually need to find a lawyer in your surrogate’s state (the state she will give birth in). Your lawyer can guide you on the steps to take to do your journey ethically and responsibility, meeting all required administrative and legal requirements (and for a lot less than an agency charges!)
Even when using a direct relative as your surrogate, all parties need to have qualified legal representation. Additionally, surrogates, whether you have a personal relationship with them or not, should never pay medical or legal costs. This means Intended Parent(s) regardless of their relationship to the surrogate, will always cover the cost of the surrogate to have her own lawyer representing her interests. Additionally, steps like finalizing a surrogacy contract, escrow accounts, and psychological evaluations should never be skipped despite the fact that the arrangement includes a blood relation.
The Decision to Pursue Surrogacy within the Family:
Choosing to embark on a surrogacy journey with a family member requires careful consideration and open communication. This decision often arises when a close family member, such as a sister, cousin, or even a mother, offers to carry the pregnancy. It is essential for all parties involved to discuss their expectations, concerns, and boundaries openly. This open dialogue can help lay the foundation for a successful and harmonious surrogacy arrangement.
Legal and Ethical Considerations:
Surrogacy with a family member may present some unique legal and ethical considerations. It is crucial to consult with legal professionals who specialize in reproductive law to ensure that all legal requirements and agreements are properly addressed. This includes establishing a legally binding surrogacy contract, understanding parental rights and responsibilities, and navigating any potential legal complexities that may arise within the family unit. This can be significantly more complicated under a traditional surrogacy arrangement.
Emotional Dynamics and Support:
Embarking on a surrogacy journey with a family member can deepen the emotional connection and support between the Intended Parent(s) and the surrogate. The shared genetic link and preexisting familial bond can create a profound sense of unity and closeness throughout the process. However, it is vital to acknowledge and navigate the potential emotional challenges that may arise, such as boundaries, expectations, and the impact on family dynamics. Open communication, empathy, and professional counseling can play a crucial role in maintaining healthy relationships and emotional well-being for all involved.
Establishing clear expectations and boundaries from the outset is vital for a successful surrogacy journey with a family member. It is essential to openly discuss topics such as medical procedures, decision-making processes, financial arrangements, and the level of involvement the surrogate and Intended Parent(s) desire during the pregnancy. Setting boundaries and expectations can help ensure that everyone’s needs and wishes are respected, and any potential conflicts or misunderstandings are minimized.
Building a Supportive Team:
Surrogacy with a family member requires the support and involvement of not only the Intended Parent(s) and the surrogate but also a dedicated team of professionals. Working closely with a reputable fertility clinic and an experienced reproductive attorney that specializes in surrogacy can help navigate the legal and medical aspects of the journey. Additionally, engaging the services of a therapist or counselor who understands the complexities of surrogacy can provide invaluable emotional support for all parties involved.
Celebrating the Journey:
Surrogacy with a family member is a unique opportunity to create a shared experience and bond that will last a lifetime. Celebrate the milestones and cherish the journey together as a family. From the excitement of embryo transfer to the joy of pregnancy and the birth of the baby, each step is an opportunity to strengthen the bond and create lasting memories.
Surrogacy with a family member is a profound and meaningful way to bring a child into the world while deepening the bonds of love and support within the family. It is a journey that requires open communication, legal guidance, emotional resilience, and a shared commitment to the well-being of everyone involved. By embracing this unique opportunity, families can embark on a surrogacy journey filled with love, trust, and the extraordinary gift of bringing a child into the world together.
FAQ: Surrogacy Costs and Considerations When Using a Family Member or Friend
Is surrogacy with a family member less expensive than surrogacy with a stranger?
Surrogacy with a family member or friend is not necessarily cheaper. While some cases are altruistic (without compensation), it is more common for surrogates, even if they are family members, to receive at least some form of financial compensation. In locations where commercial surrogacy is legal, the surrogate decides her fee and terms under the guidance of her attorney (that the Intended Parent(s) pay for). It is important to have open and transparent discussions about surrogacy compensation with your family member or friend.
How can I estimate the overall costs of surrogacy with a family member?
To estimate the costs, start by understanding the desired compensation level of your surrogate family member or friend. You can use this surrogacy cost overview as a guide to factor in additional expenses such as legal representation, medical costs, psychological evaluations, and general pregnancy-related expenses. Using an expensive surrogacy agency is never necessary; especially when you already have a matched family member.
Do all parties involved need legal representation even if they are family members?
Yes, it is important for all parties involved in surrogacy, regardless of their relationship, to have qualified legal representation. This ensures that all legal requirements are met, surrogacy contracts are properly drafted and finalized, and everyone’s rights and responsibilities are clearly outlined. Even when there’s a blood relation involved, it is crucial to follow the necessary legal procedures and protect the interests of all parties, including future children born via surrogacy.
What emotional support should be considered for surrogacy with a family member?
Embarking on a surrogacy journey with a family member can bring unique emotional dynamics. It is important to prioritize open communication and consider professional counseling to navigate potential challenges, set boundaries, and maintain healthy relationships. Emotional support can help all parties involved process their feelings, manage expectations, and ensure a positive experience throughout the journey.
Can the cost of surrogacy with a family member be reduced by not using an agency?
Yes, when using a family member as a surrogate, there is often no need to engage a surrogacy agency. This can result in cost savings as agency fees are eliminated. However, it is still important to allocate funds for legal representation, medical expenses, psychological evaluations, and other necessary aspects of the surrogacy process.
Remember, surrogacy with a family member or friend requires careful consideration, open communication, and the support of professionals who specialize in reproductive law and counseling. By navigating the process with transparency, empathy, and legal compliance, you can create a meaningful surrogacy journey that strengthens familial relationships and fulfills the dream of bringing a child into the world.