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Can I ask my ex-sister-in-law to be the surrogate to my baby?

I'm running out of time to have a biological baby. Is this complicated route worth it?
"I am 37 so I don't have infinite time to hope that my body's situation changes."
"I am 37 so I don't have infinite time to hope that my body's situation changes."TODAY Illustration / Getty Images
/ Source: TMRW

Caroline Moss is an author and host of the podcast "Gee Thanks, Just Bought It," which helps people find the products they need to make life easier, better and more productive. Now with this column, "Asking for a Friend," she's helping people with the advice they need to make life easier, better and more productive. To submit a question, email us at or click here.

Hi Caroline,

I am recently divorced and was trying to get pregnant on my own with a sperm donor and IUI, but it turns out that some medical complications will make it almost nearly impossible to conceive this way and my doctor recommended that I look into surrogacy. I am 37 so I don't have infinite time to hope that my body's situation changes.

The problem with surrogacy is that it's expensive as all get out, and I can't afford it. My ex-sister-in-law — my ex-husband's brother's wife — has offered to be my surrogate. She is one of my best friends. I really want to have a child and this seems to be my only option. I am desperately wanting to say yes, but a piece of me thinks this is going to be an issue down the line with my ex-husband (we do not communicate, so not sure if he knows this is on the table). I realize I could be blinded by my desire to be a mom, but I also don't think this is something a bunch of grown adults can't just be mature about.

Would love to hear your thoughts,


Hello MIW,

I both sympathize and empathize with your plight to become a mother. Though I am not itching to have children at this moment, I am 34 and it seems that everywhere I look someone is warning me of my "waning biological clock."

I cannot imagine the pain of desperately wanting something that everyone tells you is slipping through your fingers and feeling like your body has betrayed you by not being about to produce a healthy home for a child and then to find out that your options are too expensive to be in reach.

Not knowing the dynamic between you and your ex, the thing that gives me the most pause about your story is that you do not communicate with him — to the point where he may be unaware that his sister-in-law, the woman married to his brother, is offering to carry his ex-wife's child. If he is aware of this, then he was made aware of it by a party that is not you. That's more of a red flag to me than the idea of your SIL carrying your child as a surrogate.

If this is something you really want, and this is the way you really want to do it, then part of this decision has to be communicating this with your ex-husband. Again, not knowing the dynamic or circumstances, it is the right thing to do to loop him in. If he did something so hurtful or unforgivable to cause the lack of communication between you, then maybe adding another link to him via surrogate is not the most sound decision.


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