If you’ve seen your friend struggle to have the baby he or she has dreamed of, there’s a life-changing way you might be able to help — surrogacy. But, this situation is not right (or even possible) for everyone.
If you’ve come to this article, you likely have some questions about being a surrogate for a friend. These answers may help you decide if you’re ready, or able, to be a surrogate for a friend in your life:
1. Can I be a surrogate for a friend?
Surrogacy laws vary by state, but as long as you and your friend both meet the necessary requirements, gestational surrogacy is usually a possibility. There are several important things you should know about being a surrogate for a friend, however:
- Your relationship will change forever.
- You must work with attorneys to create a legal contract, regardless of the love and trust you have for one another.
- It’s generally wise to involve a professional such as an agency to help you two navigate the process, establish healthy boundaries and preserve your friendship.
With that in mind, and with the right preparations and considerations, surrogacy with a friend is an option.
2. How much does it cost to be a surrogate mother for a friend?
Surrogacy can be costly, and talking about finances with someone you’re close with can be awkward. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a professional like a surrogacy agency involved.
You might be considering being an altruistic surrogate for your friend, meaning you wouldn’t accept compensation outside of reimbursement for pregnancy- and surrogacy-related expenses. However, this can actually cause some serious issues in the relationship. Your friend would likely feel indebted to you, you might feel like you’re sacrificing more than your friend is, and the resentment can pile up on both sides. That’s why some amount of compensation is usually encouraged, even among friends.
Your friend will save money on matching fees by having you as their surrogate, so don’t feel badly about accepting some amount of compensation.
All financial matters — like whose insurance covers what medical fees, when your doctor copays will be reimbursed, and more — should be carefully detailed in your surrogacy contract. This is another reason why you must have a legal contract with attorneys.
3. Would being a traditional surrogate for my best friend be weird?
As a traditional surrogate, you would be the biological mother of your friend’s child. Not only is this an intensely difficult emotional experience for traditional surrogates, it often creates emotional struggles between the surrogate and intended parent and even the child.
Traditional surrogacy is always emotionally and legally risky at best, but it would be further complicated by your close friendship. This type of surrogacy is rarely completed anymore because there have been so many difficulties with it.
Gestational surrogates, on the other hand, rarely report any such negative experiences.
4. Is becoming a gestational surrogate for a friend safer?
Yes. Being a gestational surrogate for a friend is the safer option for everyone involved, compared to the traditional surrogacy route. You’ll also run into less trouble finding surrogacy professionals to help you complete the process, as well as fewer legal snags.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find surrogacy professionals that will complete traditional surrogacies, and some states outlaw them entirely. Gestational surrogacy is much more available. Additionally, gestational surrogacy eliminates the emotional experience of carrying your own biological child and then giving that baby to your friend.
Gestational surrogates often say the experience feels emotionally more like “babysitting” and that they were thrilled to hand their friend’s child to them for the first time.
5. Are there any additional laws I should know about when being a surrogate for a gay friend?
Your friend is probably aware that, in some states, there are laws that make surrogacy for LGBTQ families a little trickier. Primarily, they may need to complete additional legal steps to ensure the safety of their family.
The only other major difference in the surrogacy process for same-sex couples and individuals is that they’ll need an egg or sperm donor to create their embryos. Sometimes, a woman considers being a traditional surrogate for her male gay friend, meaning she’d be the egg donor and the carrier, seeing it as a way to save money and a step. However, there are serious legal and emotional complications to consider when giving your friend your biological child. For these reasons, gestational surrogacy is still the recommended course, even if your friend needs to find a third-party donor.
6. Should I be a surrogate for my friend?
Many women who ask questions like, “Should I be a surrogate for a friend?” are asking because they feel a little pressured to say “yes” to their friend, who has likely been through a lot. Remember: You don’t need to look for an “out.” It’s hard to say no to someone you love, but if being a surrogate for your friend (or being a surrogate at all!) isn’t right for you, then you should absolutely say no.
If you’re thinking of being a surrogate for a friend, take your time. Being a surrogate is always a deeply personal decision that requires a lot of thought.
If it’s not right for you, that’s ok. There are other ways you can help your friend, and there are other women out there who are ready to be your friend’s surrogate!
7. How do I become a surrogate for my friend? What’s the first step?
If you and your friend are both ready and excited for surrogacy, your first move will be to reach out to a professional to make sure you’re eligible to be a surrogate for a friend. All prospective surrogates must then meet a number of requirements and complete a screening process to ensure that they’re physically and emotionally healthy enough for surrogacy.
The love that you have for your friend and your willingness to help them in such a life-changing way is incredible. But not all women meet the criteria to become a surrogate mother for a friend, even though their hearts are generous enough to do so. These requirements are in place to keep you, your friend, and your friend’s future baby safe and healthy. If you don’t meet those requirements, there are surrogates out there who do, so don’t worry!
8. What are the requirements I’d need to meet if I want to be a surrogate mother for my friend?
While the requirements you’d need to meet can vary somewhat depending on the state you live in and the professional you work with, you’ll generally need to:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 40
- Have a healthy BMI
- Have given birth at least once successfully without complications
- Have no major complications in previous pregnancies
- Have no new tattoos or piercings within 12 months of starting the process
- Be off anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication for 12 months
- Be aware of the commitments of the surrogacy process and how you will balance those with your personal responsibilities
- Be raising at least one child in your home
- Have no untreated addiction, abuse, depression, eating disorders or traumatic pregnancy, labor and/or delivery experience
- Understand the emotions of carrying a child for someone else
If you think you meet those general requirements, you can contact a surrogacy professional to get started or to learn more about how to be a surrogate for a friend.