Using a Friend or Relative
Using a friend or relative as your gestational surrogate can often be both an incredibly rewarding and anxiety producing experience. It may feel silly or ungrateful to ask for legal documents and lawyers, when the surrogate is making this incredibly generous gesture, but it is essential to involve lawyers. They will make you and your surrogate think through all the issues involved, even the hard and uncomfortable ones like money and abortion. Lawyers and legal documents will help you protect not just the future child, but also the friendship or family relationship.
The legal process will of course help to ensure that legal parentage is properly assigned (without the legal process the woman who gives birth to the child is the legal mother in almost all, if not all jurisdictions). But as importantly, it will provide a forum to discuss and anticipate things that might go wrong in the pregnancy, such as bed rest, issues surrounding control of pregnancy, and unexpected events at the birth to name a few. Having a final document that all can refer to when stressors arise during the pregnancy can be an invaluable way to protect the friendship, but as importantly, the process of coming to these decisions will help to minimize the inevitable stressors during the pregnancy and leave all parties to focus on appreciating the journey.