If you have decided to have someone carry your child as a surrogate, a natural question is whether it can be someone you know. Surrogacy is an intimate and personal experience. It might seem appealing to enlist a person you already feel close to instead of asking someone you have never met before.
Can family members or friends be surrogates? They can, though you need to take into account how this incredible undertaking will change your relationship and what kind of financial burdens you may incur.
How Will Using a Friend or Family Member as a Surrogate Impact Your Relationship?
You may assume using a surrogate you know will make you more comfortable in what can be an uncomfortable process. But many people find they get over any initial awkwardness with a surrogate rather quickly. Instead, focus on how your relationship with your friend or family member would be impacted by surrogacy.
Every relationship is different. Some people find that an experience such as surrogacy strengthens your bond. Others find surrogacy puts a strain on their relationship. For instance, you may not spell out your expectations with someone you know well, which can lead to misunderstandings and frustration on both sides.
Similarly, you may feel entitled to check up on your friend or family member more than you would with another surrogate. They may not appreciate what they see as intrusions or the implication that you don’t fully trust them.
Will You Save Money Using a Family Member or Friend as a Surrogate?
You might think this arrangement would save you money since you don’t have to pay an agency fee. Your loved one may have offered to do it for free. Make sure they understand what that means. Parents usually pay surrogates they do not know and compensate them for their medical care. But your friend or family member should also take into account other ways in which they may be financially impacted:
- Having to miss work for doctor’s appointments and giving birth
- Paying for childcare for their own children during doctor’s appointments or birth
- Possible complications that could lead to bed rest and missing work or being unable to care for their own children
Do Surrogate Mothers Pass on Their DNA?
The answer is no, unless the woman is serving as a traditional surrogate for a friend, which means her egg is artificially inseminated in the uterus. The baby shares the DNA of the people who supply the sperm and egg. In the case of a traditional surrogate, the woman supplies the egg as well as providing the use of her uterus.
But many couples use the mother’s eggs for surrogacy. In those cases, the surrogate will not pass on any significant amount of DNA. Studies have shown that mothers occasionally share a bit of DNA in the cells between the placental barrier, but this trace DNA will not impact the baby’s genetic makeup at all.
Many people use friends and family as surrogates and find it a wonderful experience. Others realize finding another surrogate may be their best option. The only right answer is what works for you and your family. If you would like to discuss the pros and cons, you can contact us at Western Fertility Institute.