In many families, cousins are as close as siblings. If your cousin has been dreaming of becoming a parent, it makes sense that you’d want to help, if you’re able.
Becoming a surrogate for a cousin is an incredibly selfless act of love — but is it the right way for you to help in this situation? Only you can answer that question. It may be entirely possible for you to carry your cousin’s baby for him or her, provided you meet the requirements and are appropriately prepared for the journey ahead.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about surrogacy between cousins. The answers may help you decide if this path is right for you and your family.
Can I become a surrogate for my cousin?
If you meet the requirements to become a surrogate, then yes — becoming a surrogate for your cousin may very well be possible in your situation.
Becoming a surrogate for someone you know and love, like a cousin, is a different emotional experience than being a surrogate for someone you don’t already know. Those differences should be taken into careful consideration before you make your choice. We’ll talk about some of those unique challenges and benefits below.
What requirements would I need to meet to be a surrogate for my cousin?
That being said, in order to be a surrogate, you’ll usually need to:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 40
- Have a healthy BMI
- Have given birth at least once with no complications
- Have no new tattoos or piercings within 12 months of starting the process
- Be off any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication for 12 months before starting the process
- And more
In addition to meeting these preliminary requirements, you’ll need to work with your cousin’s fertility clinic to complete the necessary medical screenings and ensure you’re physically able to complete the surrogacy process.
Is it weird to be a surrogate for your cousin?
That’s entirely up to you and how you feel about giving birth to your (albeit distant) relative.
The emotional process of being a surrogate for your cousin is different than it is for surrogates who are carrying for someone they don’t already know, to be sure. However, it’s only weird if you and your cousin feel weird about it.
There are a few things that may influence how you feel about carrying for your cousin, for better or worse:
- Traditional surrogacy is not recommended, particularly in family situations. Because traditional surrogates are the biological mothers of the babies they carry, this is an already emotionally and legally complex scenario. In family surrogacy situations, this becomes even more complicated, because you would be your cousin’s child’s mother. You can see why it’s best to stick with gestational surrogacy, where you are not the biological mother of the baby.
- Involving a professional is recommended. Your relationship with your cousin is likely a priority for you. The emotional journey of surrogacy can put even the strongest relationships to the test. That’s why it’s even more important for cousins to work with a surrogacy professional to counsel them through the process and help them preserve their relationship.
- Surrogacy is intimate. You’ll need to be comfortable with your cousin (and your cousin-in-law, if applicable) joining you in doctor’s appointments, exams and the delivery room. Regardless of how close you are now, surrogacy will change your relationship. As the intended parents, your cousin will have the right to make requests of you and to participate in those pregnancy-related doctor’s office moments that may feel a little embarrassing or personal.
What would it be like to be a surrogate for a cousin?
In many ways, the process is not dissimilar from becoming a surrogate for anyone else. However, your existing relationship dynamic will change, which isn’t something that many surrogates have to consider when working with intended parents they don’t already know.
Like we mentioned, your cousin will often be calling the shots as the intended parent. In family surrogacy situations, the heightened emotions you’ll go through together can sometimes bring up old tensions or jealousies.
You’ll also have to discuss some awkward, but necessary, topics, like finances, medical choices and more. As we previously suggested, this is where having a surrogacy professional take the lead can be beneficial. They’ll be able to guide you through tough conversations and focus on keeping your family bonds strong.
Surrogates and intended parents often become closer at the end of their journey together. Hopefully, you and your cousin will have the same experience!
How do I become a surrogate for a cousin? Where do I start?
Your first step should be to contact a surrogacy professional. They’ll be able to walk you through the requirements, answer whatever questions you might have, and help you get started if you’re ready to begin. The surrogacy process has a lot of moving parts, so it’s always a good idea to have an experienced professional on hand to guide you and your cousin through it.