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Considering offering to be a surrogate for my friend

11 replies

Ridethewaves · 30/11/2020 13:04

One of my very good friends has been trying for a baby with her husband for many many years. They have been told that IVF isn't an option for them for health reasons on my friends part.

I'm considering offering to be a surrogate but am very unsure about it. I have a one year old son following a straightforward pregnancy and birth. I love my son to bits and dont know how how able I would be to carry their baby without loving it as my own (even though I know it would'nt be my own). I'd absolutely love to be able to help my friend if possible, to have the baby she is so desperate to have. They would make the most fantastic parents.

I almost feel like I need counselling to establish if this is something I'm capable of! Does anyone have any advice on this? It would be great to hear from any other surrogates about how you coped with the separation stage.

Also, i dont even know if surrogacy is an option for my friend and how/ when it would be best to bring this up (if I decide I am capable of it). Thanks very much for any advice you can give.

OP posts:
OhHolyJesus · 01/12/2020 10:25

There are groups you can find and join OP but from my experience they are very pro-surrogacy and don't always show the other side. Agencies like Surrogacy U.K. push the friendship angle for surrogacy match-making (though it's legal to pay 'expenses' it is considered altruistic and not commercial surrogacy as that is illegal in the U.K...are you U.K. based?) and insist upon counselling for the surrogate mother (the intended parents are not required to have any background checks or counselling currently).

Personally I would do a lot of reading so you can make a fully informed decision. This is your friend and you feel like you can help but it is a lifelong commitment as you will see that child grow and your friendship might change. There are no guarantees.

It might be an idea to have some private counselling that is not connected to an agency to get a completely unbiased therapist. As your friend hasn't asked and you haven't offered it would only be worth doing if you wanted to explore for yourself to know if you were serious about offering yourself.

You don't mention whether you have a partner so I'm not sure if you are single mother and making this decision on your own, but with a very young son you would have to manage a likely risky pregnancy as you raise him and you would require support in the form of child care for appointments etc as well as maybe help if you had a difficult pregnancy and he was hitting the terrible twos and beyond.

Do you work, is your son in nursery, do you have the grandparents around? Lots to consider and explore.

Anon992 · 01/12/2020 22:01

As someone who has been a surrogate for a friend recently, my advice would be to take your time, do your research, and consider independent counselling before you make the decision to make this life-changing offer. If you feel able to talk to your partner/family/friends then do so - people who know you well and whose opinions you trust. I didn’t bond in the same way with the surrogate baby I carried as I did with my own children, so didn’t have any separation issues, but it sounds like you think you might - so you will need to explore this more. There’s lots of other things you will need to consider - the impact on your son, your family, your health, your work - and there’s no guarantee that another pregnancy will be as straightforward as your last experience. Are you considering traditional or gestational surrogacy?

When I made the offer to my friends I did it by sending them a letter so that they could have the time to digest it and think about it before deciding to respond, which worked well for us. Be prepared that if you do offer that it might not be something your friends would want to pursue for a whole variety of reasons, it’s certainly not for everyone. How would you feel if you offered but they said no?

Surrogacy can work - but needs a huge amount of planning, high trust and a high degree of alignment. I had a surrogate baby last year and honestly found the experience enjoyable, empowering and life-affirming. But unfortunately not everyone has this experience.

At the end of the day, only you can decide whether to make the offer, my advice is to do a load of research and soul searching before you make your decision. Best of luck whatever you decide.

FannyCann · 06/12/2020 10:52

Hi OP.

I'm glad you were able to have a straightforward pregnancy and birth of your one year old and you are clearly loving motherhood. It's not unnatural to want to share the love and wish you could do the same for you friends.

However, your absolute number one priority and responsibility in life is to your son. Also to your partner if you have one.

Being a surrogate mother is very different medically than a naturally conceived pregnancy. You probably haven't got as far as thinking if it would be using one of your own eggs or if your friend is able to supply an egg or if it would involve an egg "donor" (donors are paid £750 in the UK, more in other parts of the world).
The process is the same as any other IVF, you need to inject hormones to shut off your own menstrual cycle to prepare for the embryo transfer, regular clinic appointments to monitor bloods and transvaginal scans.
Donor egg pregnancies are known to be more complex as the body recognises the "alien" egg and will tend to reject it, similar to how the body will reject a kidney transplant without anti rejection drugs. So surrogate mothers typically have to take additional drugs in the early months to prevent rejection. There is significantly increased risk for a range of obstetric problems, including raised blood pressure, pre eclampsia, LSCS, small for gestational age baby and premature birth.

All of this means you would be likely to need lots of additional hospital appointments and might have complications requiring admission to hospital or a less than straightforward birth.

This will impact your precious early years time with your son and either your partner or other family members will need to be support backup to care for him when you are away from him.

You don't say if you have a partner, or plans to expand your family, but if things go badly you could be left in a position where you are unable to have more children of your own.

Then there is the issue of friendship.

This woman offered to be a surrogate mother for her best friends - they introduced her and her husband and they were a close foursome. I have met her, she is an educated woman, married to a lawyer, who thought she had done all the research but it all went horribly wrong.

She hadn't appreciated the medical side of getting pregnant via IVF. When she started seeing red flags and feeling unsure she felt obligated to her friends as they had, by then, invested so much, both emotionally and financially, paying for an egg donor and lots of medical tests. She didn't want to let them down. She didn't appreciate the risks of a twin pregnancy although she was perturbed by the husband saying "twins would be the icing on the cake" but she was persuaded to allow two embryos to be transferred.

The pregnancy and birth were terrible, she has PTSD and after they had the babies her friends dropped her and her husband and no longer have anything to do with them.

This woman and her friends planned for a single pregnancy but the embryo split and she was pregnant with identical twins. She suffered a placental abruption and a very serious haemorrhage, although the article doesn't say, it is quite likely she needed an emergency hysterectomy to save her life. She nearly died.

These are the types of things that can go wrong, sadly there have been several deaths of surrogate mothers in USA, and one that I know of in the U.K., no doubt more in other jurisdictions around the world.

Being infertile is sad, but your friends can have children in their lives in other ways. You don't have to risk your health and the welfare of your son to provide them with a baby.

Considering offering to be a surrogate for my friend
FannyCann · 06/12/2020 12:00

Forgot the link for the woman who had identical twins.

Anon992 · 06/12/2020 15:06

Just to clarify - even with gestational surrogacy you don’t have to have a medicated cycle or take any drugs or hormones at all. You can track your natural cycle using ovulation tests, and then transfer the frozen embryo on the right day of your cycle. Success rates are similar to medicated cycles and I know plenty of surrogates who have been successful on a natural cycle. The pros, cons and risks need to be carefully understood and considered alongside appropriate medical advice.

As per my original response - lots and lots to research and think about.

Anon992 · 06/12/2020 15:09

Although admittedly many clinics will default to a medicated cycle.

MandosHatHair · 06/12/2020 15:14

Have you completed your own family OP? My concern would be whether any complications would leave you unable/unwilling to have more children.

FannyCann · 06/12/2020 16:36

You may like to listen to a podcast for more discussion of the issues. This one from the Free Birth Society looks at maternal-fetal bonding and the pain of giving up a baby you have bonded with as well as discussing the baby's needs.
It's very interesting and moving. They have several other podcasts around surrogacy, all of which are extremely informative and I highly recommend them. They are from Feb 14 through to the end of March.

Ridethewaves · 13/12/2020 07:44

Thanks so much for all of the replies. They have been so useful. I really appreciate you all taking your time to share your knowledge and experience.

I think I have decided this isn't the right time for me to offer this sort of support to my friend. Maybe one day once I've completed my own family I will feel. I hope so.
Those of you who have been through surrogacy on both sides, I have so much respect for you. Thanks everyone.

OP posts:
Verrucapepper · 13/12/2020 08:10

What a lovely thread to read discussing many aspects of surrogacy, the bad and the good.

2021theyear · 18/05/2021 12:11

Hi, I am not sure if this thread is still active but my husband and I are considering surrogacy- can anyone point me in the right direction? I have no idea about where to start... thanks!

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