Dear Barb—My Sister wants to be my Surrogate!

My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for three years and we’ve had no luck.  We followed all the specialist advice, and even tried IVF and nothing has worked.  I became pregnant 8 times and lost the baby each time.  My sister has two children of her own and has volunteered to be a surrogate for us.  Although my husband and I are overwhelmed with gratitude we also have some concerns.  My sister is a great mother to her children and being a mother is her whole life, so my husband and I wonder if she would be able to have a child and then surrender it to us.  Also, we are wondering if it wouldbe hard for her to see the baby often, as we live close together and have many family gatherings. 

We are also not exactly sure whether she will just be the host uterus or would be contributing eggs.  If she contributes the eggs, technically she is the biological mother and her children are half siblings.  We really want a baby but we are not sure if this is the best route to take.  Would you suggest we go ahead with this? Needing some advice, thanks, Trina. 

Hi Trina:

No doubt this is a very noble gesture from your sister, but you are right there are many factors that must be worked out before you decide to go ahead.  You don’t mention if your sister is married.  If so, you also need to consider her husband’s feelings?  This will affect his life and your sister’s children’s lives as well.  Being a surrogate will affect your sister’s employment, if she is working outside the home.  Also, the possibility of health complications arising must be considered and, there are certain requirements of someone considering becoming a surrogate.  For example, your sister and her husband would both have to provide their medical and psychological history and be willing to undergo psychological and medical assessments.  Other requirements include that your sister must agree not to leave the country after the 20th week of pregnancy, as well she may have to take IVF medication, have repeated blood work and agree not to use drugs or alcohol presently, or have used them in the last three years.  These are just a few of the factors that have to be considered by both of the parents and the surrogate family.

You may want to look at the personal story from a grandmother who chose to be a surrogate for a couple in Ontario.  Her story provides a lot of additional information that everybody involved needs to consider.

You are fortunate to have a sister who is willing to give you this priceless gift.  Thank you, Trina for sharing your story.