Many of our intended parents come to us after they have already connected with a woman who is going to be their gestational carrier (surrogate) — either a friend, relative, or someone who they found through their own outreach efforts. If you are one of these families, you may only need assistance with the surrogacy contract, as well as the court action to have your legal rights secured. In the alternative, you may also want assistance with managing the trust account, screening the carrier, or other case management services.
Whatever surrogacy services you need, the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson can help. Not only can we provide you necessary legal services, but we also have trained social workers to help you navigate the new relationship you will create with the woman who will become your surrogate. While pursuing surrogacy with a friend or family member can make certain parts of the process easier, there will be unique challenges that arise as well — which is why it’s important to work with a surrogacy professional if you’re in this situation.
If you already have a surrogate in South Carolina, contact attorney Jim Thompson at 864-573-5533 today to learn more about what services you’ll need to complete your surrogacy.
In the meantime, if you’re in a situation where you’re pursuing a surrogacy with someone you know, here are some things you should consider:
The Benefits of Working with a Surrogate You Know
If you’re fully prepared for the unique circumstances of an identified surrogacy, your surrogacy process may be less intensive and less stressful than if you had completed it with a complete stranger. It’s not unusual for us to work with surrogates and intended parents who are friends or family members — so it’s certainly a viable possibility for you.
Here are some of the benefits that you may experience if you pursue this kind of surrogacy:
- Your surrogacy will be less expensive. Because you will not need certain services (like the matching process) in an identified (independent) surrogacy, we will work with you to adjust your fee schedule based on your individual needs. In addition, a surrogate who knows you may require a smaller base compensation (or even no compensation), as they may wish to help you altruistically rather than in return for financial benefits. While this may make surrogacy more financially feasible for intended parents, there can also be some complications that arise from an altruistic surrogacy (see below).
- You already have a relationship with the surrogate. When you are a friend or family member of your surrogate before beginning surrogacy, you probably already know what to expect from a close relationship with them for the next year or so. You probably already trust her to take care of your unborn baby; maybe you’ve seen her through her past pregnancies and know exactly how she’ll take care of herself. In addition, a surrogate may be more confident about carrying a baby for parents that she already knows to be loving and caring.
- You can stay in touch easier through the child’s life. While not all surrogates stay in touch with the intended parents after they give birth, a close friendship or family relationship makes it much easier for your surrogate to be a part of your child’s life as they grow up. This relationship may help your child understand their surrogacy birth story better and play an important role in the development of their identity as a child born via surrogacy.
The Challenges of Working with a Surrogate You Know
While there are many potential benefits that come from using a friend or family member as your surrogate, it’s important to recognize that this kind of surrogacy comes with certain challenges that you wouldn’t have in any other surrogacy process. Many of these challenges actually come from the biggest advantage of an identified surrogacy: the established relationship between you and your surrogate.
Here are some things to consider before moving forward with an identified surrogacy:
- Financial conversations are just as important. Many intended parents choose to work with a friend or family member as a surrogate to eliminate the costs of a compensated surrogacy — but when you work with any surrogacy lawyer, this is still a conversation that needs to occur. Whether or not you and your surrogate are comfortable with the idea of an altruistic (compassionate) or uncompensated surrogacy, attorney Jim Thompson and the surrogate’s lawyer will need to discuss the financial aspects of the surrogacy, including any reimbursement for pregnancy-related costs and the possibility of a base compensation. It’s recommended that you still provide some financial assistance for a friend or family member acting as your surrogate to prevent her from feeling taken advantage of — and to prevent you from feeling uncomfortably indebted to her.
- You and the surrogate may encounter stresses on your relationship. A relationship between intended parents and a surrogate is very different from the relationship you might have with a friend or family member. Surrogacy is an intimate process, and you’ll be working closely with your surrogate the entire way, learning more about her biological processes and personal lifestyle than you might have known before. You’ll need to prepare for your relationship to change during the surrogacy process — and for it to never be the same as it was before your friend or family member became your surrogate.
- Potential feelings for you: Seeing a family member or friend carry your child can bring up feelings of jealousy, especially in cases where the surrogate is carrying for a sibling. In addition, you may feel all the envy and anxiety some other intended parents feel during the surrogacy process, but it may be difficult to honestly express your feelings with someone whom you know so closely.
- Potential feelings for your surrogate: Your surrogate will experience ups and downs in her pregnancy but, likewise, she may be uncomfortable sharing those with you because of your close relationship. However, unless these feelings are expressed, they may damage her future relationship with you.
Why Work with the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson
While an identified surrogacy does bring unique challenges to the already-complicated surrogacy process, they can usually be mediated by using a professional like attorney Jim Thompson. Both you as intended parents and your surrogate will be provided individual case workers who can help mediate any uncomfortable conversations that may arise, as well as make sure you both are prepared for your identified surrogacy through appropriate screening before you even begin the surrogacy process.
Even though you’ve already found a surrogate, you will still need a lawyer to complete your surrogacy — so why not choose one that coordinates your process and makes sure both parties are supported throughout? Attorney Jim Thompson does that and more for all our identified surrogacy cases.
Please contact our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific gestational carrier arrangement. During your consultation with our firm, we will discuss your needs, as well as develop a representation plan and fee schedule that is specific to your situation.