For many, in-laws are just as close and loved as any other member of the family. So, if you’ve watched your sister-in-law and your brother struggle to have a child, you’ve likely desperately wondered if you could help.
If you’ve ever thought, “Is being a surrogate for my sister-in-law right for me?” then the following guide may help. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions from sisters who are considering becoming surrogates to help their siblings and siblings-in-law:
Can I be a surrogate for my sister-in-law?
Just as you may think of this question on your own, intended parents will also sometimes ask, “Can your husband’s sister be your surrogate?”
Regardless of who initiates the conversation, gestational surrogacy between siblings and in-laws can be possible in many situations — provided everyone meets the necessary requirements and state laws and is fully prepared for the physical and emotional journey ahead.
What are the requirements for being a surrogate for my sister-in-law?
The requirements that you’d need to meet can vary somewhat depending on where you live and the professional you work with, so reach out to a professional for specifics. But usually, to be a surrogate for brother and sister-in-law, you’ll need to:
- Have given birth successfully at least once with no complications
- Be currently raising a child in your home
- Be between 21 and 40
- Have a healthy BMI
- Have no depression, untreated mental health issues, addictions, or traumatic experiences with past pregnancies, labors or deliveries
While these are the basic requirements to become a surrogate, you’ll also need to complete a thorough screening process after meeting these initial criteria, as well as thinking about the additional considerations that are unique to pursuing surrogacy with a sibling-in-law.
What would being a surrogate mother for my sister-in-law be like?
The surrogacy process would, for the most part, be the same as it would in any situation. The biggest differences would be that you wouldn’t need to search for a partner, and that your relationship would be different than most intended parent-surrogate relationships.
Those are emotional considerations that are unique to partnering with family in surrogacy that you should always carefully reflect on before moving forward. Being a surrogate for a sister-in-law and your brother means:
- Your existing relationship will be permanently changed by your experiences.
- Old sibling rivalries and jealousies can emerge, particularly if infertility was an issue.
- Finances can be a source of tension. Altruistic surrogacy may seem like the automatic way to best help your family, but accepting some amount of compensation can actually help preserve your relationship.
- You should take extra care to work with a surrogacy counselor before, during and after the process. This will help to preserve family bonds and ensure your relationship is stronger afterward rather than weakened. The surrogacy process can put even the closest relationships to the test, so working with an experienced counselor can help you navigate the ups and downs together.
- You’ll all need to be comfortable with things that may have been previously embarrassing or felt a little intrusive. For example, brothers and sisters will be in the doctor’s appointments and delivery room together and more.
- You will have a unique bond with your niece or nephew. Even though pursuing gestational surrogacy means you won’t be the biological mother of your sister-in-law’s baby, this special relationship can create some tensions or jealousies within the extended family.
Being a surrogate for your sister-in-law and brother can be a very rewarding experience for your entire family — as long as everyone is prepared for the unique emotional benefits and challenges that surrogacy can pose. Partnering with an experienced professional is the best way to address this.
Is traditional surrogacy with my sister-in-law an option?
This is where things get a little legally and emotionally hazy.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is also the egg donor, making her the biological mother of her brother and sister-in-law’s baby. See where this could be extremely legally and emotionally complicated for everyone?
In gestational surrogacy, a donor egg or eggs from your sister-in-law are used to create the embryo, so you would still only be the baby’s aunt. This is the only type of surrogacy that most professionals will complete today, as traditional surrogacy is often considered too risky.
Gestational surrogacy is always the recommended option but particularly so in family situations.
Should I be a surrogate for a sister-in-law?
Just because you’re not related by blood doesn’t mean you aren’t close. Many sibling-in-laws grow to be as close as any biological siblings, and so, when you watch your family members long for a baby, your heart goes out to them.
However, being a surrogate for a sister-in-law isn’t right for everyone. If there are reasons why being a surrogate isn’t an option for you at this time (or perhaps ever), it’s perfectly acceptable to say “no.” It can be hard to turn down your loved ones, but you should never feel pressured to carry their baby if surrogacy isn’t right for you.
There’s a surrogate out there who is ready to help complete your sister-in-law’s family, but this may not be you. There are other ways you can help, like fundraising for their surrogacy journey.
How do I become a surrogate for my brother and sister-in-law? How should I get started?
Always start by contacting a surrogacy professional. They’ll have a thorough knowledge of your state’s surrogacy laws, whether or not you’ll likely meet the requirements, and what steps may be required in your specific situation. They’ll also be able to answer additional questions you have about being a surrogate for your sister-in-law and help you begin the process whenever you’re ready.