No one quite has your back like family. And, if you have siblings, you know just how strong this bond can be. Your brother or sister has probably been there for you through all the challenges and joys of your life. And, when you or your sibling is ready to build their family, you’re excited for your new role as parent or aunt/uncle.
But parenthood doesn’t come easily to all. If you or your sibling are considering gestational surrogacy to have a child and have come to this article, a few questions have probably already been asked:
- Can siblings do surrogacy?
- Can I be a surrogate for my sister — or can my sister be a surrogate for me?
- Is being a surrogate for my brother possible? How do I go about being a surrogate for my sister-in-law and him?
Many siblings have pondered these exact same questions. Fortunately, with a bit of preparation and a lot of research, you can successfully move forward with a surrogacy within the family.
How? Keep reading to learn more, or contact a surrogacy professional online now.
Can You Be a Surrogate for a Sibling? Can Siblings Do Surrogacy?
Surrogacy between siblings may seem complicated — and, to the uneducated, taboo. You may be thinking, “Is it weird to be a surrogate for your brother or sister?” This question is completely normal, but modern surrogacy between siblings isn’t weird. In fact, it’s a beautiful journey that solidifies your unique relationship.
First, get those thoughts of your head — there’s no improper relationships required when siblings do surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy is a purely scientific, clinical way of creating a pregnancy, and a surrogate is never related to the child she carries. Instead, in becoming a surrogate for a sister or brother, a woman carries an embryo created by her siblings. She carries her own niece or nephew! Very few aunts can say the same.
Being a surrogate for your sister or brother or using your sister as a surrogate mother is actually increasing in popularity. This kind of surrogacy (known as identified surrogacy) provides many advantages to both parties, and it can be a life-changing process for them all.
If you’re considering being a surrogate for a sibling (or vice versa), you should first speak with a fertility clinic. They can determine whether gestational surrogacy is right for the intended parents and, if so, whether the “surrogate sister” in mind is eligible for this journey.
They will also likely talk to you about a few other aspects of this process. To help you get started, we’ve addressed just a few of them below:
1. Eligibility of Being a Surrogate for a Sister or Brother
If you’re interested in being a surrogate for your sister (or using a sister as a gestational surrogate), you are taking the first step on a beautiful path. But, unfortunately, gestational surrogacy is not right for everyone. Before you move forward with a family surrogacy, you’ll need to ensure the surrogate candidate (either you or your sibling) can meet the requirements.
In order to become a surrogate, a woman must meet a few specific qualifications:
- Have carried at least one successful pregnancy to term with no complications
- Be raising a child in her own home
- Have a BMI between 19 and 32 (varies by professional)
- Be between 21 and 40 (varies by professional)
- Have no untreated addiction, abuse, depression, eating disorders or traumatic pregnancy, labor and/or delivery
If you’re thinking about being a surrogate for a sister, brother, or anyone else, you must meet these basic requirements. It can be tempting for you and your siblings to disregard some of these, but trust in your family isn’t enough to have a safe gestational pregnancy.
These surrogate requirements exist because they are the best indicators of a safe, successful gestational surrogacy. It will be nearly impossible to find a fertility clinic, surrogacy agency or ART attorney who will move forward with your family if the surrogate in question does not meet these requirements.
Please note that requirements for using a sister as a gestational surrogate will vary by professional. Please speak with one to determine which requirements might be waived on a case-by-case basis.
2. Changing Family Dynamics and Reemerging Sibling Rivalries
Gestational surrogacy is an emotional process, and it will require a great deal of cooperation and communication between parties. Even siblings with the best relationships find themselves tested during the challenges of surrogacy.
Most common? Sibling rivalries reemerge. An intended mother who cannot carry her own child will deal with feelings of grief and loss; when the woman carrying her child is her sister, it may bring up deep-seated emotions of inadequacy and a long-buried sibling rivalry. Intended mothers who are related to their surrogates may be more likely to involve themselves in every aspect of the pregnancy, pushing boundaries and making a surrogate feel uncomfortable. When it’s your sibling in your surrogacy, it’s much harder to navigate these issues.
In addition, women who are being a surrogate for a sister or brother should remember their unique connection to their niece or nephew. This child will grow up knowing their surrogacy story, and it may cause established family dynamics to change over time. (This is even more complicated when traditional surrogacy is involved.)
All members of the family — even those not directly involved in the surrogacy — should be prepared for the ways a surrogacy among siblings will change their relationships.
3. Financial Issues
Many intended parents who use a sister as a surrogate mother expect to pursue an altruistic surrogacy — that is, a surrogacy in which the carrier doesn’t receive base compensation.
If you’re thinking about being a surrogate for your sibling, remember that you always have the right to receive base compensation. Before you waive this right, think about what surrogacy will mean for you: sacrificing a great deal of your time and energy, which may lead you to lose out on work opportunities, family activities and more. Without any base compensation, you may feel taken advantage of — and resentment may build toward your family members.
Fortunately, when using a sister as a surrogate, costs will already be lower for intended parents. Instead of hiring an agency, they can work directly with an attorney and fertility clinic — saving thousands of dollars. Don’t be afraid to speak up about receiving surrogate compensation if you decide to carry for your sibling and their spouse.
4. Pressure from Family Members
Being a surrogate for your brother and/or sister-in-law can be a wonderful honor. But just because your brother or sister is asking doesn’t mean you have to be a surrogate for a sibling. Gestational surrogacy is a big deal; it’s important you’re choosing this path because you truly want to, not because you’re being pressured to.
It’s natural to want to help your siblings add to their family but, even if you are eligible for surrogacy, it’s not your obligation to help them do so. Being a surrogate mother for a brother or sister is a big deal; you’ll have to sacrifice a great deal of your time and energy for this journey (more on that below). Only by going into the process wholeheartedly from the beginning will those sacrifices be worth it.
Similarly, if you are an intended parent asking, “Can my sister be my surrogate?” ask yourself, “Does my sister want to be my surrogate?” Using a sibling for surrogacy can make the process less intimidating, but don’t ever pressure your sister or sister-in-law into doing this for you. If you don’t have her full commitment, it will make the journey harder — not easier.
5. The Realities of the Process
If you’re asking, “Should I be a surrogate for my sister or brother?” ask yourself this: “Am I truly ready for the challenges and sacrifices of the surrogacy process?”
Gestational surrogacy is a big deal, and it’s not a journey to embark on overnight. Carrying a child for your sibling is an indescribable experience, but you will need to give up a great deal of your energy and time to make this surrogacy a success. Surrogacy isn’t all joyful moments, either; there will be hard times along the way, and you need to be prepared for those. Think about:
- How your spouse will need to take on extra responsibilities for your family
- How your children will respond to your pregnancy
- How will you feel taking time off work for maternity leave
Remember, pregnancy always comes with risk — and a gestational pregnancy is no different. That’s why it’s so important to involve experienced professionals from the beginning. A surrogacy attorney can protect your rights and interests (whether you’re a surrogate or intended parent) and create a surrogacy plan that both parties will be comfortable with.
Whether you’re considering being a surrogate for a brother and sister-in-law or for your sister, your first step will always be to contact the right professional. Search for a local attorney through the Academy of Assisted Reproduction and Adoption Attorneys, or look for a fertility clinic that meets the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s standards.
Want agency guidance through your family surrogacy journey? Contact a professional now to learn more.