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Last Updated on: December 1, 2023

If you want to become a surrogate for a friend, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about the requirements and steps ahead.

Surrogacy is a profoundly compassionate and life-changing decision. It’s a journey with significant emotional and physical responsibilities and the potential for profound and wonderful outcomes, especially when the intended parent is someone you know and care about.

Follow along as our surrogacy team walks you through everything you need to know about this unique journey of helping your friend become a parent through surrogacy.

Can Anyone Be a Surrogate for a Friend?

You can absolutely become a surrogate for a friend. Surrogacy laws vary by location, but generally, you can engage in gestational surrogacy to help a close friend become a parent. Legally, you won’t be considered the child’s mother, even though you’ll be carrying the baby.

This arrangement can provide your friend with the gift of parenthood, fostering an even stronger bond when there’s trust and love between you and the intended parents. Remember, surrogacy is a complex journey, both physically, mentally and emotionally.

To become a surrogate, you will need to meet certain requirements, as outlined below:

  • 21 to 38 years of age (to optimize healthy pregnancy chances and emotional maturity)
  • Has had a healthy pregnancy already
  • Currently raising your own child in your home
  • Non-smoker and drug-free lifestyle
  • Maintains a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index), generally under 30
  • Ability to attend surrogacy-related appointments
  • Residency in specific states with favorable surrogacy laws

Most surrogacy agencies like ours also have specific criteria, such as U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, a successful pregnancy history and a healthy, stable lifestyle.

These requirements are in place to ensure a safe and successful surrogacy journey for both you and the intended parents.

A surrogate mother embraces her friend, the intended parent, while joyfully holding a positive pregnancy test

First Steps to Becoming a Surrogate for Your Friend

The steps for having your friend become a surrogate are very similar to the steps outlined above.

1. Ensure She Meets Surrogate Requirements

Not everyone can be a gestational carrier. Your friend needs to meet certain criteria, like being between 21 and 38, having a healthy prior pregnancy, and maintaining a BMI within a specific range (among others listed above). These requirements are in place to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

2. Choose Surrogacy Professionals

For a surrogacy arrangement with a close friend, it’s essential to involve surrogacy professionals. These include a fertility clinic and separate surrogacy attorneys for each party. Additionally, a surrogacy agency may be consulted. These experts are crucial in providing guidance, coordinating with other professionals, arranging necessary screenings, and ensuring the smooth progression of the surrogacy process.

3. Undergo Screening and Assessment

You and your gestational carrier, or the intended parents, will need to undergo extensive background, medical, and mental health screenings. These assessments are crucial to confirm both physical and emotional readiness for the surrogacy journey. Organized by the involved professionals, these screenings are designed to minimize complications and facilitate a smooth process, which is particularly important in surrogacies involving friends.

4. Create a Surrogacy Contract

A legal contract is essential in surrogacy, even between close friends. It should detail all aspects, risks, and expectations of the journey. Most fertility clinics require this contract before proceeding. This document, drafted prior to the medical phase, outlines the responsibilities and expectations for both parties, ensuring protection of individual rights and interests. Separate attorneys for you and the intended parents are recommended to safeguard these rights. The contract is a crucial step for a clear and secure surrogacy arrangement.

5. Begin the Medical Process

Once all the previous steps are completed, you can start the medical process of surrogacy. Your gestational carrier will become pregnant through embryo transfer, which is when your surrogacy journey officially begins.

If you meet the requirements and are ready to embark on this journey, here are the essential steps to become a surrogate for a friend:

Surrogate Mother: What Should You Expect As Your Friend’s Surrogate?

Becoming a surrogate is always a big decision with pros and cons to consider. Yet, when you’re considering surrogacy for a friend, there are specific things to keep in mind. Here are some of them.

Your Relationship Will Change

Becoming a surrogate for someone you know can be a complex journey. Your relationship with your friend will inevitably change — most times for the better, but sometimes for the worse — as you embark on this profound experience.

Emotional Challenges

As a surrogate, you’ll face emotional challenges, like when it’s time to give up the baby. But when you’re a surrogate for a friend, you may experience various emotions that surface, including potential feelings of jealousy. Clear boundaries and open communication with your friend are essential for a healthy pregnancy and maintaining your relationship.

Consider Professional Support

Surrogacy can bring unexpected challenges. Consider involving a surrogacy agency for guidance and support, especially if disagreements or emotional complexities arise. Remember, saying “no” is OK if you’re not fully prepared for the journey.

Risks of Surrogacy

Understand that surrogacy generally comes with medical risks. You should discuss these with your fertility clinic and other medical and surrogacy professionals. Additionally, take care of your mental wellness, as your relationship with your friend will change, and you’ll need to navigate the emotions associated with carrying their baby.

Don’t let these aspects overwhelm you. At Joy of Life®, our team has years of experience in supporting intended parents and gestational carriers. We understand the challenges that may come up and are committed to guiding you through them with care and compassion.

Intended Parent: What to Consider Before Using Your Friend as a Surrogate

Maybe you’re not the future surrogate but the intended parent looking to a friend for help. If you’re considering using a friend for surrogacy to fulfill your own parenthood dreams, there are certain factors you should keep in mind.

1. Changing Relationship

Your bond with your friend will evolve into something unique and intimate due to this shared experience. Prepare for a lifelong connection and consider her role in your child’s life.

2. Compensation

While surrogacy with a friend may reduce costs, your friend may still deserve compensation. Ensure she’s comfortable with an altruistic surrogacy, and be ready to discuss the financial aspects openly.

3. Professional Guidance

Even with a friend involved, surrogacy is complex and requires professional guidance to avoid legal, medical and emotional pitfalls. Don’t attempt it alone; enlist the help of a surrogacy professional. Your dream of building a family is precious; reach out to a surrogacy professional to embark on this journey with your friend.

A surrogate mother and her friend, the intended parent, hold up an ultrasound of the growing fetus.

Related Questions

Below are answers to some of the most common questions regarding the surrogacy journey through a friend.

1. Do we need a surrogacy agency if we already know each other?

If you’ve already chosen to be a surrogate for a family member or friend, you might wonder why you should involve a surrogacy agency. Well, there are good reasons. Surrogacy agencies are experts in this field. They can assess both you and the intended parents in an unbiased way to ensure both of you are emotionally and physically prepared for this significant journey.

Plus, surrogacy agencies act as a helpful coordinator, liaising with hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and attorneys. Managing all of this on your own can be overwhelming, so an agency can be a valuable support system.

2. Can I be an altruistic (unpaid) surrogate for my friend if I don’t feel comfortable receiving compensation?

Yes, you can be your friend’s altruistic (unpaid) surrogate. However, it’s essential to carefully consider potential emotional challenges. Even though it’s a generous act, it’s advisable to agree on some compensation, negotiated with the help of attorneys, to avoid discomfort and strain on your relationship in the long run, especially if there are any medical needs or complications in the process.

3. What are the benefits of becoming a surrogate for your friend?

Becoming a surrogate for your friend can be profoundly rewarding. It’s an opportunity for you and your friend to create a family, making it a meaningful and cherished experience. Your friend can also rest assured they have an extra-trusted surrogate caring for the growth of their child from the start.

Ready to Discuss Becoming a Surrogate?

If you’re considering becoming a surrogate for a friend, Joy of Life® is here to support you every step of the way. We’re a leading surrogacy agency in California that helps surrogates and intended parents nationwide. Our team includes past surrogates themselves, as well as professionals experienced in the clinical, psychological and legal aspects of surrogacy, as well as licensed nutritionists and psychologists to provide emotional support.

Begin your journey with Joy of Life today and apply as a surrogate.

Or, make a difference in other families’ lives and earn rewards by referring a friend for surrogacy.

*The information on this page was written or reviewed for accuracy by Joy Millan, founder and CEO of Joy of Life Surrogacy. Visit our about page to learn more about Joy and our wonderful team!

Joy Millan

Author Joy Millan

I’m Joy, the founder and CEO of Joy of Life. With a professional background as a fertility clinician, I’ve spent thousands of hours working with surrogates and intended parents alike. As a mother of two, I often wished for more support and a deeper commitment to care for those embarking on non-traditional family-building journeys. This is why I established Joy of Life: to create a more robust, compassionate experience in parenthood for both parties involved with surrogacy. In 2021, I stepped back from daily operations at Joy of Life to fight cancer. Fortunately, the combined 20 years of experience from our incredible team has allowed me to focus on my health & recovery. I continue to provide company guidance and serve as the head liaison for our network of doctors, clinicians and caregivers.

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