Does Anyone Have Experience with Surrogacy with a Family Member?

Updated on October 30, 2016
N.V. asks from Fort Worth, TX
9 answers

I am a single mother of one and want to help my family member by being the surrogate of their child. Advice on how to manage it all with a 7 year old and how to tell her about it all so that she will not be confused would be greatly appreciated! Also, I would like advice on how the finances was handled, because its a family member I would like to help them but I also need to make sure my family is taken cared of so I am needing advice. Thank you in advance! Any other advice that you may want to share is also appreciated. (We have met with the Dr's and Psychologist and so far I am a good candidate, the next step is we are meeting to discuss a contract and get it finalized with Lawyers but I'm wanting advice)

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answers from San Francisco on

Like J. B. says, tell them the truth. It you put it matter-of-factly, they shouldn't be bothered by it in the least.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

The intended parents should contact a surrogacy attorney who will go over all of the processes and laws. They will still need to pay tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for uninsured medical expenses and legal fees so if they're not in a financial position to hire a surrogate, they may not be in a financial position to do this at all. But assuming that they are aware of the costs and process, a typical surrogate gets paid around $20,000 for carrying a single pregnancy, plus an additional fee (typically around $5K) for carrying twins. This is normally structured in a contract. A typical contract might pay $2500 up front for initial screenings and medical procedures, with the remainder to be paid out in equal monthly installments over the term of the pregnancy, plus a stipend for maternity clothing and transportation, a stipend for childcare needed to go to appointments (which I waived as I was paying for childcare anyway), and sometimes a stipend for things like hiring a cleaning lady or getting meals delivered if you are on bed rest. There would be clauses for what happens if an IVF cycle doesn't work, if the pregnancy ends early due to miscarriage or termination (abortion), if you need to have a C-section, etc. The goal of a well-structured contract is to make sure that any expenses that the carrier incurs due to pregnancy are covered, that the carrier is compensated for her time and effort, and that the intended parents don't end up paying for an entire pregnancy if there is a loss, etc. Only you can decide what number feels right and fair to you and your family. Personally, unless this was my sister, I wouldn't do this for less than what I was paid. Many surrogacies result in carrying twins, which is a much harder pregnancy than carrying a single baby. And to do that while taking care of your own child is asking a lot.

Even with a family member and even if you are waiving or greatly reducing your fee vs. what the market demands, you and the intended parents should really go through the entire screening and contracting process as if you were strangers. This will include a medical and mental health screening (at their expense) as well as a visit with a social worker to make sure that all parties understand what's involved and are a good fit. They should hire a surrogacy attorney and pay for you to hire your own attorney to review the contract. You have to think about things like securing life and disability insurance for yourself in case something goes wrong (they will pay the premium and the policy would be canceled after successful delivery). As a single mother, you would need to make sure that you have a will that would provide for your daughter if you were to die giving birth, or how you would care for your daughter if you were on best rest or hospitalized for an extended period of time. You have to consider whether or not you would be willing to carry twins or triplets, or if you would undergo selective reduction if you got pregnant with triplets or twins but they only wanted to keep one or two babies instead of two or three. You have to consider whether or not you would go through with an abortion if the baby had health issues or genetic abnormalities, or if you would have an elective c-section if the parents wanted to schedule the delivery. You have to figure out what expenses will be covered by your own health insurance. And state law will dictate whether or not the baby is legally theirs or yours at birth, and if yours, how and when they can legally adopt their child. If they have to adopt their own child from you, you have to sort out whose medical insurance will cover newborn care, who will decide whether or not the baby gets vaccines and routine medical care (circumcision, vitamin K shots, etc.), and how the birth certificate will read. In my case, my state allows the parents to be legally recognized as parents via a pre-birth court order, so the parents had legal rights and responsibilities from birth. If you're in Texas, the laws may be different. An attorney will sort that all out.

After all of the work upfront, most carrier arrangements settle into a wonderful relationship between the intended parents and carrier. I carried twins for a friend of a friend and it was far and away the best experience of my life. It was weird at first to have something so intensely personal picked apart as a business and legal transaction, but that eliminated having to wonder about things down the road and gave us clear guidelines about what would happen if any major decisions needed to be made. Most surrogacy nightmares are the result of parties not taking the screening and contracting process seriously enough.

Finally regarding what to tell your child, you just tell her the truth. My kids were 3, 5 & 11 when I did this and they all understood that my friend couldn't grow a baby because she had had cancer in the past and her treatment involved removing her uterus, where babies grow. I can grow healthy babies, so the doctors helped her and her husband make a baby and put the baby in my body to grow until it (they) was (were) born. And that after the babies were born, they would go live with their parents. They didn't really question it at all. I hope this helps, and best of luck to you!

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I didn't see this mentioned below. Your contract also needs to consider unplanned scenarios, such as with an unintended twin or more pregnancy.

Who makes the decision to carry multiples vs having a selective reduction?
What if they only want one baby don't want to do a reduction - what happens to the other baby/babies?
What if there is a serious medical problem and continuing the pregnancy is a threat to your life?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I have a casual friend who was a surrogate for her sister. I don't know how they arranged it. I do know that several years later, based on Facebook entries that this seems to have worked out well. The family is intact. THe sister who gave birth refers to the child as neice.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

My friend did this. She had two daughters about ages 5 and 7 at the time. She went through a legitimate surrogate company and they handled all the finances and legal paperwork. She simply told her daughters the plain truth and they seemed to take it well. She is a very matter of fact person.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

not personally, but have a friend who has been a surrogate multiple times.
do not assume that because it's family it will be cheap or easy. get everything written, legal and discussed into the ground. make very, very sure that they can handle your medical bills. it's nice to save your family the surrogate fee, but it will still be a very expensive process.
your child will handle it however you present it. if you're eeky and hesitant and over-explaining, she'll be anxious and confused. if you're simple, honest and matter-of-fact she'll be interested and relaxed about it.
good luck to all!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

The families I have heard of who do this, do it out of love and are financially able to give this gift.

I would recommend getting advice from a service that handles surrogacy to see what the requirements are (mental health, being financially stable and so on) to determine if you are a good candidate.

Often woman get financial compensation when doing the for a non relative. I think people go to family members, because it saves money. According to, the average fee in 2010 ranges from $0, for those women who volunteer their services, often to a friend, to approximately $20,000.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

i would talk with a lawer about it all, make sure you all agree on whos paying what, and how much. get it all on paper and filed with tthe lawer. this will save headaches in the future.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I'm sure you have great answers here for guidance and support. With your seven year old ----- do not let her accidently over hear anything about this until all is set and you are four of five months pregnant. As time goes questions may come up and simply address them as presented to you. Do not tell her too much. When you present it to her tell her that you are giving a gift of love, you are carrying and nurturing the baby because they cannot, so you wanted to do this for them to help them so they too can have a child to love, just like you have her to love. And for a while the baby is inside and you'll both give him/her love and send kind words and sing songs to her/him, etc. But when the baby comes outside into this world we will give her to her momma and daddy and they will love her dearly and we can see her too. etc. Keep it in sweetness and light and make simply and fairly short, children do not need long drawn out explanations at this age, it only stresses them.

Be sure that your intentions are "right" and you are truly ready for this, remember your whole being goes through a complete transformation through the process of pregnancy. Keep your thoughts loving and yet not total attachment, you must think, feel and act in purity -- personal and yet impersonal. It's a balancing act like you've never encountered. This will be a year or more of your life when it's all said and done.

The best to you and be in light and love.

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