DEAR ABBY: I am a young, recently married woman. My husband and I are about at the point where we're thinking of having kids. My brother married a close friend of mine soon after my wedding, and my sister-in-law has a medical condition that may prevent her from having children.
I am very close to my brother and his wife, and I can see the writing on the wall. She has mentioned surrogacy once in passing, as a possible alternative if she can't have kids. If I am asked to be the surrogate, what advice do you have? I'd be more than willing to consider it, but only after my husband and I have had our own children.
If I do it, would it be selfish of me to expect some compensation for my time and the toll it will take on my body? I want to be ready if and when I'm asked. What would be the best way to explain my reasoning to her? -- BACKUP MOM IN THE NORTHWEST
DEAR BACKUP: You may be jumping the gun, because you do not yet know how your body will tolerate a pregnancy. Not all women have easy pregnancies, and if you're one of them, you may be less willing to be a surrogate. As to monetary compensation for wear and tear, that's a question you should ask a lawyer because compensation may not be allowed in the state in which you reside.
You, together with your brother and sister-in-law, should also discuss with a mental health professional the emotional issues that may arise -- such as everyone's expectations about what will happen when the baby arrives, what might happen if there is a death, a divorce, a move, and what your role would be -- whether you will be the birth mother or a legal aunt, etc. All of this should be clarified if your sister-in-law asks you to be her surrogate.