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to feel upset that my DSIS no longer wants me as a surrogate

(28 Posts)
cherrybakewall Mon 29-Apr-13 13:01:41

I'm a regular who has NC due to sensitive nature of post.

My DSis and her DH have been ttc for about 5/6 years. After the first couple of years I offered to be a surrogate for them. I was then in mid thirties, already had 4 DCs so knew my family was complete and had strong relationship with DH. Plus a history of easy pregnancies, easy ( and short) births and healthy babies. Before making the offer I had several long conversations with DH about the impact on our family, my health, our sex life, finances, legal position, everything. It was not an offer made lightly on the spur of the moment.
Dsis and DH were thrilled and agreed to continue trying for one more year and if nothing happened then we would try surrogacy ( my egg and DBIL's sperm). Dsis had another miscarriage and then tried IVF which failed. However they then inherited some money which gave them enough to try IVF another 4 or 5 times sadly without success. So a month or so after the last IVF ( about 6 months ago) I ask her what her doctor has recommended as the next step and she tells me they will probably try surrogacy and then goes on to say that a friend at work has offered to be a surrogate for her so they're going to use her.
I am a bit stunned to be honest. I totally get that the friend is in her 20s ( I am now early 40s and Dsis is late 30s) so her eggs are much fresher than mine and so risks to mum and baby are reduced. Also friend lives much closer which is more practical for them ( I am about 100 miles away).
I hope it all works out for them and they get the baby they so desperately want but am I BU for feeling a little bit hurt and also worrying that this friend could change her mind ( she has 2 kids but she's only 26 so could want more) and if there is anything wrong with the baby and it needs a blood transfusion/kidney/bone marrow transplant I would give that in a heartbeat( as would most of my family which is pretty big so plenty of choice to find a match) would this friend/her family do the same ?

I haven't heard anything for a while so I don't know how things are progressing or even if they're still going ahead. I don't like to ask too many intrusive questions because it's been such a difficult time for them both. I would still do it if they wanted but I'm older now so the risks are greater for me and the baby. Should I broach the subject or leave it until they mention it? On reflection I'm not sure that AIBU is the right category for this but I'd appreciate your thoughts all the same.

havingamadmoment Mon 29-Apr-13 13:03:37

to be honest I would stay out of it, it is such a personal thing I wouldnt want to cause upset or make things harder than they are. They probably had many many reasons for the choice.

notapizzaeater Mon 29-Apr-13 13:05:36

Well done you or offering.

If I was your sister whilst touched by your offer I'd prefer someone less close, someone who wouldn't be there at family events etc.

But yes I'd be feeling upset .....

HamletsSister Mon 29-Apr-13 13:06:34

I think she has been very unkind to you. What an amazing offer to make - something that, however strong your own family is, will have an impact. If they had decided to use someone else then they should have involved you more in the decision, offered an explanation and thanked you very much for your offer. I am also sure that the issues around surrogates keeping the baby (about which I know nothing, although I know it does happen) would not be an issue with using a family member.

However, you sound an amazing sister and I wish I had one like you (although don't need a surrogate!).

Finola1step Mon 29-Apr-13 13:08:45

I know this is very upsetting for you but I'm sure your sister has not made this decision lightly.

AIBU may not be the right place for advice. Maybe you should ask Mumsnet to move this to Relationships where you will receive probably a kinder ear.

JacqueslePeacock Mon 29-Apr-13 13:11:30

There was a very interesting article from the perspective of the surrogate mother in the Guardian this weekend: here
It really showed how hard it was for the surrogate, and how the relationship with the parents could change. Could it be your sister is reluctant to (potentially) mess up her relationship with you? If she falls out with a co-worker over the way she is bringing up the child, it's not going to be the end of the world for her. It would be much more devastating to lose a sister.

Bunbaker Mon 29-Apr-13 13:12:11

"someone who wouldn't be there at family events etc."

I think notapizzaeater has hit the nail on the head. I suspect your sister doesn't want to change the dynamic between you both, and having a surrogate baby for her would do that.

Januarymadness Mon 29-Apr-13 13:15:51

Infertility is such a distressing thing. I actually offered my dsis some eggs.
Firstly the doctors did not recommend sibling donation.

Secondly, and most understandable, my dsis thought that emotionally that that would be too difficult. A baby, that I would always be involved with, would be genetically mine. Thus the boundaries would be blurred and it may make for a more difficult relationship going forward.

In your situation that would be even worse. The baby would be genetically yours and you would carry it. You would always be there as a reminder that the baby was not "hers". You could always change your mind and not want to give the baby up after all. Legally there could be no argument, you would be entiteled to at least shared residency and probably more. Getting someone with a few more degrees of separation is a good thing in the long run.

Sorry it has made you feel bad. Maybe you could offer for another couple if you really feel strong enough.

Saski Mon 29-Apr-13 13:17:30

There are so many ways that surrrogacy can go wrong that I don't blame your sister for wanting to keep it out of the family. It could bring you closer together, but it could also destroy your relationship. It takes a big person to see a child that's genetically yours, that you bore, being raised by your sister and NOT constantly butt in.

I be hurt as well, but likewise I think you've dodged a potential bullet.

HDEE Mon 29-Apr-13 13:29:50

I'd question the validity of some of the points in that Guardian article. There are so many holes in it, there is more hole than article IMO.

Firstly, the decision to transfer three embryos would have been made jointly between the couple, the surrogate and the dr long before being on the table having the procedure.

Absolute nonsense about the parents being able to be named on the birth certificate and not the surrogate as she wasn't genetically related. The surrogate always has t go on the birth certificate in the UK, it's the law.

A hospital would never say 'Mummy's back' in reference to the surrogate. It just wouldn't happen. All the staff would be aware who 'mummy' is. I just don't believe this happened at all.

I don't think any part of the article is real TBH. It's such a mishmash of scenarios, and thoughts. No surrogate I have ever spoke to has EVER, EVER had a pang and thought of the baby/babies as hers.

Pigsmummy Mon 29-Apr-13 13:29:58

If I needed a surrogate I wouldn't want a close relative tbh, I would probably go as far to say that I would choose someone that I would be unlikely to see after the baby was born. Try not to be hurt, you did an amazing thing in offering and hopefully will get a lovely little nephew/niece some day soon.

fromparistoberlin Mon 29-Apr-13 13:32:58

I can understand her decision, and I think she has not handled this with you very well, hence you feel understably hurt

alot of good replies, so please try and move on xxx

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 13:35:26

Why be upset?

Be happy for her that she's found a way forward that she's happy with. Medically it makes far more sense to go with someone in their 20s. Never mind the issue of worrying at family gatherings that you might be looking at "your" child with longing. She can put distance between herself and a friend more easily than between sisters if that's what she wants to do after. And she may feel like that as a protective thing.

Snazzynewyear Mon 29-Apr-13 13:39:43

HDEE interesting, I had thought myself (though I'm far from being an expert) that a few bits of that article didn't sound right.

OP, I think the posts above are probably right and your sister is hoping for a surrogate she can distance herself from. There's a positive to that as it means you aren't someone she wants to chuck out of her life but I can see how you would want to know how things were progressing, and I really think she should have taken more trouble over telling you about her change of plan. Maybe think about writing her a letter to express all of this, but put in in a drawer then rather than send it and see how things pan out?

Justforlaughs Mon 29-Apr-13 14:21:28

OP, my own DS had trouble conceiving and I seriously considered being a surrogate for her. (She has since had her own baby naturally.) I can understand exactly how you feel, because I know how devastated I would have been if she had turned down my offer for someone else without discussing it with me. I wonder if she felt that so much time had passed since you made the offer that this was the better option, that you may have changed your mind or even that she was hoping to prompt you to reiterate your offer? I don't think you are being unreasonable to be hurt or to expect your sister to discuss her change of heart, but try not to let it come between you.

cherrybakewall Mon 29-Apr-13 14:52:06

Thanks for all the comments; they have really helped. I did read the Guardian article and that was partly what prompted me to post. I can understand that she might feel I was "too close". I am her bossy older sister and although we have a very good relationship I can see how it would change the dynamic. I also think it would be strange for my kids to know they had another half-sibling who wouldn't live with us but who was, on paper at least, their cousin. It's just that I find it so gut-wrenching every time I see what she's going through and there's a big part of me that just wants to make it all better for her by giving her a baby. What's made it worse is that one of our DSils's had a baby about a year ago and the other is due this summer so she is just surrounded by fertile women. It's so hard for her and I just want to help her as much as I can.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Apr-13 14:57:58

This needs to be all about her and not all about you.

I don't mean to be harsh but you sound too involved in it all, it must be hard when she's your sister. But you might already be passing over this vibe and that's why she's gone to someone else. If someone is helping her it should matter who that person is.

Your posts do come across a bit as "me me me"

Sorry, I don't mean that to sound horrid. I can understand why you're pest but you need to take a step back.

Crinkle77 Mon 29-Apr-13 14:58:41

I think your sis has done the right thing. If this child will biologically yours then it stores up a whole host of complications for the future. perhaps she should have discussed her decision with you first

LippiPongstocking Mon 29-Apr-13 14:58:47

Not quite the same, but my older sister was raised by my mother's brother (our uncle), and it was incredibly difficult for all concerned at different times.

Your SiL may have done you a favour, actually, though I must admit I think she's gone about it in a rather unkind way.

I truly believe this is one situation where it not being kept "in the family" so to speak, might be the best thing for all concerned. I'm sorry.

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Mon 29-Apr-13 15:05:17

I find straight surrogacy to be a strange concept, it's basically giving your child away. It's entirely different to gestational surrogacy which is far easier to understand. If I planned to have a baby through straight surrogacy I would not want the biological mother to be within my family circle. I think that would be very difficult for everyone to deal with, including the child. However I do think they are outrageous for rejecting your offer like that without discussing the reasons and taking your feelings into account.

HDEE Mon 29-Apr-13 15:29:56

Ehric, it's not remotely similar to 'giving your child away'.

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Mon 29-Apr-13 15:42:38

Surely if you use your own egg then that's exactly what it is? confused
Or if its not the same thing, it's really, really similar?

HDEE Mon 29-Apr-13 16:12:05

Not remotely similar. My children are the children I created with my husband, who were made for our family, and loved by us from day one.

The children I made for other families, were made for them, created for them, and loved by them since day one.

The only similarity is the 50% DNA. Without their families to want, create, and love them, my surrogate children would have been flushed down the loo as an unwanted egg.

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Mon 29-Apr-13 17:03:55

Well you see it that way, which is great, because you did a great thing. But to me, I see gestating a biological offspring as very different from donating eggs. I couldn't ever gestate and give away my own biological child, and I wouldn't want someone to do that for me. However I would be open to gestating someone else's biological child (in certain circs)
I think that saying they are not remotely similar is wrong, however. They are very similar. You have rationalised it into seeing it differently but that doesn't stop it from being your own biological offspring that you give birth to then give away.

seriouscakeeater Mon 29-Apr-13 17:22:42

Your offer was amazing and very generous but I think you are too invested in this all ready. I really don't think you would have been able to separate your feelings on your sisters baby when it was here

I think your sister was probably very aware of this and choose to have the other woman. Also I would choose the woman with less risk too...Downs syndrome is a much higher risk after 40. If you cant put your sisters thoughts and feelings before your now, imagine how you would feel when there was a baby involved.....

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