Talk about keeping it all in the family.
Daunted by the costs and complications of paid surrogacy, couples with fertility issues are turning to family members to carry their babies.
But while choosing a relative as your surrogate saves money — and offers familiarity, since paid surrogates are typically strangers — the choice comes with its own unique set of emotional complications.
“This is a really big deal that people think is not a big deal,” Kim Bergman, author of the upcoming book, “Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction” (Conari Press), tells The Post. While surrogacy is emotionally rewarding for some families, it gets unexpectedly ugly with others. “You need to make sure that everybody’s on the same page in terms of expectations.”
Bergman, a psychologist, points to a 2009 case in New Jersey, where dads Donald Robinson and Sean Hollingsworth got tangled in a lengthy custody battle with Robinson’s sister. She carried their twins — then became emotionally attached to them, and fought for custody after their birth.
Worst-case scenarios like those, Bergman says, are why it’s incredibly important for families to have “safety nets in place,” via contracts, lawyers and counselors.
And be sure to think through every aspect of your decision — including how you’ll explain the situation to your kids.
“If you don’t feel comfortable telling your child that ‘Aunt Suzy was our egg donor,’ you need to find a different way to have the child,” she says.
Through Friday, The Post is publishing Surrogacy Spotlight, a special series on real families’ surrogacy journeys. Read the first story here.