Working With a Friend or Relative
Working with a friend or relative who is your gestational surrogate can be both incredibly rewarding and anxiety producing. 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 legal counsel. 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, 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. 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 decision-making process helps to minimize those stressors and allows the parties to focus on appreciating the journey.