When you first hear that a couple you know is using a surrogate to have a baby, you may be unsure what to say. Should you console them about their fertility struggles or congratulate them for finding a way to build their family? Think about how you would like to be treated in the same situation, and do the same for your friends. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
Be Aware of the Journey
The first thing you need to realize is that your friends did not come to this decision lightly. If your friends are a same-sex couple, their options for having a child that is biologically theirs are very limited. If they are a heterosexual couple, they have probably struggled for months or years with fertility issues before reaching this point. In some cases, a disease or condition may have left one of them infertile.
If you have been friends for a while, you have probably heard about their plans or struggles before the announcement. However, some couples are very private and may say nothing about their attempts to have a child. Even if you are surprised, restrain yourself and simply congratulate them. The promise of your continued love and support will mean a lot to them.
Understand the Emotions
Choosing surrogacy is a positive thing, but your friends may still be wrestling through some difficult emotions. For a woman, coming to terms with the fact that she cannot bear children is especially hard. Men who are infertile often feel that they have failed if they cannot produce a child.
Whatever the situation may be, you can be supportive while letting your friends know that their emotions are real and valid. Let them know, verbally or otherwise, that they don’t have to hide their emotions behind a smile when they’re with you. It’s okay for them to have mixed feelings of loss and joy; and as their friend, you can be there to comfort them or rejoice with them, whether they are concerned by the costs or thrilled about a productive meeting with their surrogate.
Welcome the Surrogate
Your friends may have chosen someone they know as their surrogate, or they may have used an agency to find a surrogate. Either way, the surrogate will be in the picture for at least nine months, and probably longer. If you get to meet the surrogate, treat her as a new friend. She is, after all, rather like the fairy godmother in the situation—making a very special dream come true for your friends.
Throw a Shower
Just because your friend isn’t pregnant herself doesn’t mean that you should skip the shower. Definitely throw the couple a baby shower so that everyone can congratulate the intended parents. First, ask your friends what kind of baby shower they would like. Do they want the surrogate to be present? If so, a couple of thoughtful gifts for the surrogate might be in order— perhaps a gift certificate for a spa, gift cards for food so she doesn’t have to cook as often, or a few immersive activities for her kids so that she can lie down and get some extra rest.
Offer to Help
Once the baby arrives, your friends will be plunged into the whirlwind of parenthood. They will be running on very little sleep, and they’ll be weary from attending to the never-ending needs of a newborn. Offer to bring meals, help with housecleaning, take care of pets, care for the baby, or do the grocery shopping so that your friends can have time to rest and recharge. They will always remember the kindness that you show to them and their long-awaited child.
About Attorney Nicole K. White
As a mother by gestational surrogacy and as a surrogacy lawyer, my goal is to help you experience the joy and fulfillment of starting or growing a family of your own through third party reproduction. Because I am a mother by gestational surrogacy, I know firsthand what you will need – answers to your questions, support and guidance – and, I know what you will go through when starting your family. My experience as a surrogacy lawyer helps me guide you through the financial, emotional and legal aspects of surrogacy and third party reproduction. I can say with confidence that few (if any) attorneys deliver the unique insight I can bring to your surrogacy journey.