Being a surrogate is one of the most selfless things a person can do. You’re choosing to go through all the ups and downs of pregnancy — and grow a baby — for someone else. And at the end of that journey, you’re giving someone the most precious gift: a baby.
When you become a surrogate for a family member and you don’t expect any financial compensation in return, it’s called altruistic surrogacy. And this type of surrogacy isn’t uncommon or weird — being a surrogate for a sibling is the most common type of altruistic surrogacy practice out there. It doesn’t get much more selfless than that.
If you have a family member who wants to have a baby but can’t on their own, the idea of being a surrogate might sound intriguing. This is even more true if you’ve had relatively easy, complication-free pregnancies in the past. If you have the ability to help your family member fulfill their dream of becoming a parent, should you do it? Is it a good idea?
The answer is subjective — it’s truly a personal decision. You (and only you) can decide the best route to take. But there are a few pros and cons to consider before becoming a surrogate for a family member:
#1: It can strengthen your relationship with your family member
Being a surrogate for a family member is the ultimate act of kindness and compassion. Giving birth to a child is a gift that your family member will cherish forever. There is no gift that compares. There is no doubt that any bond you share with your family member will grow after such a kind, thoughtful act. And you’ll also share a special bond with the baby, who will be a part of your family for years to come.
#2: You could watch the child grow up
Because the baby will belong to your family member, he/she will remain in your family. That means depending on your relationship with the family member and other logistics like where you live, you might get to see the baby and have a relationship with him/her. Even though the baby wasn’t conceived from your egg, you’ll still get to consider them family.
#3: It could be more affordable for the intended parents
For many people who aren’t able to have children on their own, the cost of surrogacy makes it out of reach. Being a surrogate for a family member eliminates that barrier. Also, some intended parent(s) choose to pursue surrogacy by finding a surrogate, handling the compensation, and finalizing the legalities on their own. They opt not to work with an agency, which also saves costs. This is called independent surrogacy. This is often the case when the intended parent(s) know the surrogate and don’t need help locating a qualified egg donor or woman to carry their baby.
This could be both a pro and a con, as working with an agency can help by simplifying the complexities and legalities of surrogacy.
#4: You (and the intended parents) will have peace of mind
There’s a comfort in knowing and having an emotional bond with the people who will raise the baby you’re carrying. On the other side of the equation, the intended parents will have peace of mind knowing that their family member is carrying their baby throughout the pregnancy. The emotional bond you have with your family member brings a level of trust and understanding that takes much longer to achieve between strangers.
#1: If it’s an altruistic surrogacy, you may have financial obligations
An altruistic surrogacy involves no financial compensation for the surrogate. That type of surrogacy is more common among surrogates and intended parent(s) who already know each other — the surrogate is carrying the baby solely out of the kindness of her heart. This can help lower the cost of surrogacy for the intended parent(s), but not necessarily the surrogate.
#2: Surrogacy isn’t legal everywhere
Surrogacy is permitted in many states, but additional post-birth legal procedures might be required. Certain states have restrictions on who the intended parent(s) can be, so make sure to follow-up with your attorney to learn the details for a particular state. See the full list here.
#3: Surrogacy with family members can get complex
When a gestational surrogate works through an agency to find intended parents, the agency handles the communication, legalities, financials, and unknowns. But for a surrogate working with family members directly, there isn’t a third-party to handle those duties. That means there are more opportunities for legal or financial disagreements, which can lead to family drama and strife. This can have a lasting impact on family relationships, so we highly recommend working with an agency even if you choose to be a surrogate for a family member.
At the end of the day, whether you choose to carry a baby for a family member is a personal choice. It’s a selfless, thoughtful and life-changing act, but there are many factors to consider before making your decision. Always weigh the pros and cons.
Surrogacy and Egg Donor Services
Since 2004, The Fertility Agency has helped bring over 1100+ babies into the world. We work with all intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors no matter their sexual preference, relationship status, ethnicity, location, etc. Our personal experiences and years of expertise provide us with the perfect balance of business and passion. Contact us for more information.