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Offering to be a surrogate with no dc

46 replies

WantingToBeASurrogate · 01/06/2020 09:00

Hi, have nced for this.

I want to offer to be a surrogate for a very dear friend of mine if her next round of IVF doesn’t work. She has mentioned surrogates before and expressed concern about it being someone she doesn’t know.

I made the decision back in November, have done research and talked to people and I am not only still sure I want to do it but it has absolutely cemented my decision. (Obviously she may say no but if she said yes then I would have no doubt)

The issue is, I don’t have dc of my own yet. I’m 32 and absolutely not ready to have a child of my own. I do want a child either by birth or adoption but that is several years off. I am fully aware that it is suggested you have dc incase something goes wrong and I would be unable to have my own going forward. I have put a huge amount of thought into all of these scenarios and still stand by my decision

I have looked at agencies and the majority say you have to have had your own dc first. Is this a rule? Do we have to work with an agency or can we do it ourselves (of course we will have a contract etc but she is a lawyer so could find someone to draw that up).

If rules are different depending on where you are then fwiw, we would have to do it in England (I live in England and she lives in Europe but in a country where there are huge restrictions on surrogacy).

Many thanks

OP posts:
Rhodri · 01/06/2020 09:08

I wouldn’t. Having never been pregnant you don’t know how you’ll feel or whether you’ll be able to cope with giving the baby up. Also pregnancy absolutely destroys your body and it’s difficult to go through that and have nothing to show for it. Less difficult for a second pregnancy because your body is already wrecked so you’re not losing anything. Plus there’s a small risk that you may have complications or need surgery and be unable to have any more children.

FannyCann · 01/06/2020 09:33

You cannot possibly give informed consent from a position of never having had children before.

Surrogacy for dear friends went very badly wrong for this woman. The final insult was that after they took possession of the babies they dropped her. This often happens in altruistic surrogacy for friends and relatives.
Think three in a marriage getting a bit crowded. They don't want that peripheral parent/not parent in their lives.

FannyCann · 01/06/2020 09:40

You should also know that surrogate pregnancies are inherently more high risk than normal pregnancies. There are some references to studies in this article which explains some of the issues.

OhHolyJesus · 01/06/2020 09:41

I would think very carefully about this OP.

Would you use your own eggs and therefore be related to the child? Does your friend have a male partner to fertilise the egg as there are rules about surrogacy, depending to where she lives and being biologically related to the child.

If she is single then, depending on where she lives she might have legal difficulties in obtaining parental rights.

You're right to look at it from your side but her circumstances are also important.

There are many risks involved, from the hormones you would need to inject to avoid miscarriage (if your body is to hold a 'foreign body', an egg that's not yours) to multiple pregnancies and the risks related to that.

There are also cases of friendships breaking down if there is jealously or disagreements about the conditions of the arrangement. You don't often here about these from the media but here is one story.

As others say, your body will never be the same again and you have no idea how you would feel about giving away your baby, as it would be your baby. The baby can also not consent so whilst I think you are being kind, it really is a doorway to all kinds of decisions and consequences you cannot control or predict.

OhHolyJesus · 01/06/2020 09:42

Ah, cross post with the link from Fanny.

It's a terribly sad story which is why I share as a warning, it's a massive oversight of the media that you only hear about the fluffy family stuff and not the stark reality of surrogacy.

HeatherIV · 01/06/2020 09:53

A first pregnancy is nearly always harder in your body as you've not been through it before. Surrogate pregnancy is harder on your body with higher likleyhood of complications.

You could be in for a really rough time. You could end in having to stay in hospital due to high risk. You could end up with painful tears, incontinence, split tummy muscles. And those are minor side effects. You also can't understand how strong the bond is to your baby without going through pregnancy and labour before. It's a chemical reaction, you can't control your feelings.

I really don't think it's a good idea. You also need to wait at least 12 months before getting pregnant again. Your surrogacy could take over a year, then a year to recoup. So you'll be 34 before you can even think about a baby of your own. You may miss your own fertility window.

ItsSpittingEverybodyIn · 01/06/2020 11:06

If you'd had your own children first I would say yes it's a great idea. However since you haven't I think it's not a good idea.

PepeSkunk · 01/06/2020 11:13

Whilst I would probably be a surrogate for a close friend of my sister you should not do it if you have t had children. Not even because of the medical reasons but because you can't possibly know how you will feel when you are pregnant.

I also think k there would be a danger that the couple would feel uncomfortable with you in the future or you with them.

FattyIDingAsThinny · 01/06/2020 11:16

You cannot underestimate the way your body changes forever. It's impossible. If it was possible, there'd be fewer babies in the world.

Some women get through it with minimal changes, but the majority don't.

You'd be giving her a desperately wanted child. That's an amazing thing to do.

You'd be also giving up how you look, how you feel about how you look, the activities you're able to do now without even thinking about it. And that's with NO complications.

Incontinence and problems with sex are totally normal.

formerbabe · 01/06/2020 11:18

I am struggling to understand why you would want to do this?

OhHolyJesus · 01/06/2020 13:20

Do you have a partner OP?

I just went back to re-read your OP and I just wanted to note that no contract would be legally enforceable in the Uk, even with altruistic surrogacy which is the only legal form for surrogacy in the Uk.

You don't mention your employment so wondered what your situation was there and how you would manage it in terms of appointments during implantation, pregnancy/morning sickness etc, and post-birth, would you be permitted maternity leave as you wouldn't be caring for the newborn?

Also, as your friend lives overseas I would be concerned if you were to go ahead due to issues around the travel required for all of the appointments, scans and the birth, especially because of COVID related travel bans. I'm not sure if you've heard of the issues in Georgia and the Ukraine but there can be no guarantee that your friend could leave with the baby to return home, even if she was able to get to you for the birth.

Whawhatisaweekend · 01/06/2020 13:27

Do what you think is right for you. Research, research and research the pros and cons, read about any legalities, read about birth stories of surrogates, make sure you’re entirely sure before offering because once you’ve offered, if you change your mind you may feel awful about doing so.
Personally from my experience on MN, a lot of people here are anti-surrogacy so I’m not sure this is the best place to post.
Ultimately, it is up to you, I think surrogacy is a wonderful thing but you need to be as sure as you can be that you know what you’re letting yourself in for emotionally, financially and physically.

FannyCann · 01/06/2020 13:37

make sure you’re entirely sure before offering because once you’ve offered, if you change your mind you may feel awful about doing so.

This was a problem for the woman whose story I have posted up thread (I have met her and she spoke about it in more detail).
Once she had offered she got swept along, by the time red flags (such as the commissioning father putting pressure on her to agree to having twins saying "two would be the icing on the cake") her friends had spent a lot of money on medical tests and finding an egg donor, and they were very emotionally invested too.
She didn't feel she could back out as it would be so upsetting for them.

They dumped her afterwards and the friendship ended anyway.

Also she thought she had researched thoroughly over a two year period and yet she hadn't realised about the hormone injections or how difficult a twin pregnancy would be compared to her previous singleton pregnancies.

FreeKitties · 01/06/2020 13:43

Being pregnant and birthing a child are completely unique experiences OP, nothing can prepare you for how it will feel, and it will change you. The bond between mother and baby is in itself unique and you may well feel that you cannot give the baby up (that may be incomprehensible to you know - but holding that baby in your arms can very easily change everything).

Pre children I would have considered being a surrogate, now I have my own I can’t think of anything crueler to do to a baby and mum.

EveryoneLoves09876 · 01/06/2020 14:17

To go through all of that and not keep the child after birth but also to know where that child is and actually have contact with them would be more than heartbreaking. It's a very unique kind of person to do it and you will not know you are that person. The bond and love of your baby is why woman go through pregnancy. It may destroy your chances with your own children and relationships there.

EveryoneLoves09876 · 01/06/2020 14:17

I'd have your own first and then offer if possible.

EveryoneLoves09876 · 01/06/2020 14:18

Also it will be healthier for your friend and baby if it is someone else so really you wouldn't be doing your friend a favour anyway.

Packamack · 01/06/2020 14:23

I'm not in touch with any of the people who I thought were 'very dear friends' when I was 32.

You stand to lose everything if it goes wrong. You can't possibly know the enormity of what you're proposing.

formerbabe · 01/06/2020 14:25

The op hasn't been back but I get huge vibes that the "be kind" mantra has gone too far really especially in terms of women and what they are prepared to go through for other people.

I maybe wrong...

MrsTerryPratchett · 01/06/2020 14:25

I vomited constantly for months with DD. Had it not been my child I would have aborted. Can your friendship survive that? It permanently changed my body. People I know have incontinence, constant pain, can't have sex, CS scars, depression, and those are fairly common. The worst case is you die in childbirth. It's one of the most dangerous days of a woman's life.

You haven't had children. Please believe those of us who have. You might sail through pregnancy, childbirth and giving up a child. But that's very unlikely.

SirVixofVixHall · 01/06/2020 14:27

I think surrogacy should be banned, for reasons linked to above, and because it has become the buying and selling of women and babies.
Also, however much you want to do a kind thing, taking a baby away from the one person she/wants, is cruel and selfish. This hypothetical baby would want you, and only you. You would be breaking the primary bond between mother and baby on purpose. It isn’t just about the childless people who long for children, there is a baby in this too, whose feelings are never considered. This is a small person, not a doll to be given to a friend.

Dinosauratemydaffodils · 01/06/2020 14:34

I think the advice to complete your own family first makes perfect sense. I ended up with postnatal psychosis after dc1 was born. It was a horrendous time for me and everyone who loved me. Whilst the chances of it happening to you are tiny, it does happen. I didn't see it coming either. It prevented me from returning to work and even effected dh's ability to work as I needed supervision for quite a long period of time.

You might not end up with lifelong damage, a hysterectomy, incontinence or mental health issues but plenty of women do and from my experience of traumatic birth and of the women I've spoken to, it's hard enough when you are taking the baby home.

Anon992 · 02/06/2020 18:04

Hi OP,

I am UK based and was a gestational surrogate for close friends last year.

Surrogacy seems to be a very divisive issue on Mumsnet, but my personal experience has been overwhelmingly positive in all ways - so it certainly can happen. My situation is different from yours though in that I had completed my own family first.

In answer to your specific question. You do not have to work with an agency and can pursue surrogacy independently; however it can be very helpful to have a knowledgeable and experienced network to support you. I know Surrogacy UK have accepted childless surrogates previously, but they do strongly encourage surrogates to complete their own families first as (as others have pointed out above) there are risks to your own health and fertility to consider. I am unsure about other UK based agencies‘ positions re childless surrogates. As a minimum any agency should encourage appropriate reflection and counselling, and UK fertility clinics (rightly in my opinion) insist on it, to help you weigh up the risks and other considerations.

I also don’t know how the international consideration would come to play, and suggest you’d need to take legal advice on this. I appreciate your friend is a lawyer but international surrogacy is a highly specialised area and I think engaging an expert would be worthwhile. Many clinics insist on it. (My Intended Mother is a lawyer yet we still needed to demonstrate to our clinic that we had had appropriate independent advice on the legal situation before being permitted to commence treatment.)

As an aside, surrogacy is legal in the Uk but surrogacy agreements cannot be contractual/enforceable by law - another thing to consider.

Hope this is helpful. Happy for you to DM me if I you have other questions. Best of luck whatever you decide to do.

Anon992 · 02/06/2020 19:04

Just a few further points having now read the thread:

  • In the UK you would be entitled to antenatal and maternity leave/pay as though the baby were your own. (You could also claim any loss of earnings as part of your reasonable expenses of surrogacy. However you cannot make any profit or charge a fee.)
  • You would not have to wait 12 months after birth to start trying for a baby - although clearly you would have to wait for ovulation to recommence. If you do not express any milk this could be quite a short timeframe.
  • You do not necessarily have to have any hormonal/drug treatment whatsoever, depending on the type of IVF. For a frozen embryo transfer it is possible to track ovulation then defrost and transfer the embryo (via a catheter) on the right day of the cycle. This would be something to discuss with the intended parents and your clinic.

Hope this is helpful.
OhHolyJesus · 04/06/2020 11:04

Hi OP, have you had any further thoughts on this?

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