Altruistic Surrogacy vs. Commercial Surrogacy

When you pursue surrogacy as an intended parent or a prospective carrier, you are in control of the procedure and type of surrogacy you want to choose. Deciding between altruistic or commercial surrogacy will impact your overall surrogacy experience.

If you are uncertain which one is best for you, you have come to the right place!

This guide will:

  • Explain what the difference is between altruistic and commercial surrogacy
  • List some of the pros and cons
  • Help guide you closer to a decision on which path is best for you

No matter your level of knowledge on the different types of surrogacy, which way you may be leaning, or if you’re an intended parent or gestational carrier, we highly recommend contacting a surrogacy professional to discuss your options.

Fill out this online form to get in touch with a trained professional. They will provide you with the information and resources you need to feel confident in choosing between commercial and altruistic surrogacy. Until then, you can also continue reading this guide to learn more about these two life-changing options for your surrogacy journey.

Altruistic Surrogacy vs. Commercial (Compensated) Surrogacy

Before we can start listing the pros and cons to help you weigh your options, it’s essential you fully understand what the two different types are.

Altruistic surrogacy is defined as a surrogate who does not receive compensation for carrying a baby to term for intended parents. Beyond reimbursement for medical and pregnancy-related costs, there is no additional payment or compensation. 

Altruistic arrangements are generally made between friends and family members and referred to as “identified surrogacy,” but there are rare occasions in which a surrogate will match with an intended family they didn’t previously know, solely for the purpose of helping them reach their dreams of parenthood.

A compensated surrogacy is defined as a surrogacy arrangement in which the surrogate accepts compensation for the risks and responsibilities she takes on. In addition to being reimbursed for her medical bills, a contract is formed in which an agreed-upon amount is given to the surrogate to cover the physical and emotional commitment she has made throughout the year-long process. Commercial surrogacy can be applied to both gestational and traditional surrogacy and can include “identified surrogates” or new matches.

To provide clarity, the process for each type of surrogacy is nearly identical, with the main difference of having the additional payment included or not. Now that you understand the difference between the two, it’s best to determine which path is right for your journey.

Commercial and Altruistic Surrogacy: Which is Right for You?

With such an important decision as the type of surrogacy to choose, you want to weigh your options to determine which best fits your surrogacy goals. Whether you are an intended parent or a surrogate, having goals in mind can help point you in the direction of the best type of surrogacy to choose.

Below, you will find pros and cons for altruistic surrogacy vs. commercial surrogacy.

Pros for surrogates and intended parents of compensated surrogacy include:  

  • As a surrogate, you are compensated for the yearlong physical and emotional commitment of carrying someone else’s baby to term.
  • Both surrogates and intended parents are legally protected through a regulated process in states that allow compensated surrogacy. In gestational compensated surrogacy, this ensures the intended parents have parental rights during the pregnancy, avoiding any legal transfer or adoption situation.
  • Compensated surrogacy is a legal agreement and is formed via the surrogacy contract. All parties will sign the legal document and be on the same page of what to expect over the course of the surrogacy.

Cons for surrogates and intended parents of compensated surrogacy include: 

  • As expected, for intended parents, additional costs make commercial surrogacy more expensive than altruistic.  
  • Lack of regulation in foreign countries increases the chances of women being exploited or pursuing being a surrogate for monetary reasons only.   
  • Finding an agency that supports compensated surrogacy can be more difficult, given the fact not all states allow it.
  • Intended parents may feel entitled to increased involvement and guidance since payment is occurring.  

Pros for surrogates and intended parents of altruistic surrogacy include:

  • The cost of altruistic is not as expensive as commercial surrogacy, as there are no additional fees other than medical reimbursement for the surrogate.
  • Identified surrogacy is the most common type of altruistic option.
  • More states allow altruistic surrogacy than compensated surrogacy, allowing for more opportunities to find an agency that can help complete you reach your surrogacy goals. 

Cons for surrogates and intended parents of altruistic surrogacy include:

  • Given the lack of compensation, finding a surrogate who is not an identified surrogate is much more difficult.
  • Emotional risks are higher in altruistic surrogacy because there is no compensation, and surrogates sometimes feel taken advantage of or not respected. 
  • Surrogates can sometimes feel forced into respecting the wishes of the intended parents because they are family or friends. This can lead to an uncomfortable relationship throughout.
  • Because there is no additional compensation included, intended parents sometimes feel a lack of control or involvement when there is no compensation involved.
  • Because of the selfless commitment the surrogate has made for the intended parents, often, the intended parents cannot shake the feeling of debt towards the surrogate or are unable to express their gratitude and feel a sense of guilt.

These are just some of the pros and cons to consider as you work your way towards making a decision. With surrogacy being such a life-changing decision, you want to be sure to take your time, do your research, and ask any questions you may have along.

You can always fill out this form to get more information about choosing altruistic surrogacy vs. commercial surrogacy. Ultimately the choice is yours to make, but it’s a decision you don’t have to make alone. Surrogacy professionals are here to give you the guidance you need to feel comfortable enough to make a decision on how you want your surrogacy journey to begin.