Surrogacy Options: A Discussion on the Main Types of Surrogacy
Surrogacy is a process where a woman, known as the surrogate, carries and delivers a baby for another individual or couple who are usually called “Intended Parents.” The main types of surrogacy in terms of the process itself are gestational vs. traditional surrogacy. Choosing which one of these is right for you depends on several factors including budget, an interest in biological ties to your child, legality in specific jurisdictions, and personal preferences.
Gestational surrogacy involves the following:
The surrogate carries a pregnancy, but is not genetically related to the child she is carrying. An embryo is created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the Intended Parents’ or donor’s eggs and sperm. That embryo is then implanted into the surrogate. A surrogate’s own egss are not used in gestational surrogacy. Because of the lack of biological ties between surrogate and the children she carries, this is by far the most commonly practiced form of surrogacy.
Pros of Gestational Surrogacy:
- Intended parents can have more direct genetic links to their child.
- The legal process is typically more straightforward as the surrogate has no genetic ties to the child.
- Traditional surrogacy is not legal in all jurisdiction, even in places where commercial surrogacy is widely practiced.
Cons of Gestational Surrogacy:
- IVF with gestational surrogacy is generally more expensive.
- More hormones/IVF related medical procedures.
Traditional surrogacy involves the following:
The surrogate mother carries and is directly genetically related to the child as her own eggs are used. This method might be chosen when an Intended Mother cannot produce viable eggs, but the intended father’s sperm is viable or in the case of same-sex couples.
Pros of Traditional Surrogacy:
- Traditional surrogacy can be more cost-effective as it doesn’t require IVF.
- Depending on the quality of the eggs used, a traditional surrogate that has high-quality eggs may yield a higher success rate.
Cons of Traditional Surrogacy:
- Legal matters can be more complicated due to the direct genetic connection between the surrogate and the child.
- Establishing legal parentage can be more complicated.
- Not permitted in many jurisdictions, even in places where commercial surrogacy is well regulated and widely practiced.
Choosing the Right Surrogacy Method for You:
When deciding between gestational and traditional surrogacy, consider these factors:
Your Genetic Connection: If having a genetic link to your child is essential as an Intended Mother, gestational surrogacy is preferred.
Budget: If cost is a significant factor, traditional surrogacy might be more affordable, but be prepared for potential legal complexities.
Legal Aspects: Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in reproductive law to understand the legal implications of your choice in your specific jurisdiction.
Medical and Fertility Factors: Your medical circumstances, including the ability to produce viable eggs, will play a role in determining which method is suitable for you.
The decision between the different types of surrogacy is deeply personal and should be made with careful consideration of your individual circumstances and preferences. It’s crucial to consult with fertility specialists and experienced legal experts to ensure you make the choice that aligns with your goals, values, and unique situation. Whether you opt for gestational or traditional surrogacy, both paths have the potential to bring the joy of parenthood to your life.
Independent vs. Agency-Contracted Surrogacy
While some Intended Parents and surrogates find agencies useful for matching or for answering questions throughout a surrogacy journey, neither group needs to use an agency to do a successful surrogacy journey. In fact, both sides only need qualified surrogacy attorneys. Besides matching and arranging travel, there’s very little that agencies do – nearly all of the administrative work is done by qualified attorneys and the Intended Parents fertility clinic. Surrogacy agencies typically perform minimal online background checks and are not qualified to medically screen surrogates, only licensed medical professionals at fertility clinics can approve surrogates medically.
Reasons to consider Independent Surrogacy:
Cost Savings and Choosing Surrogate Compensation Directly: Independent surrogacy can be more cost-effective for the Intended Parents, saving them tens of thousands of dollars! Additionally, surrogates are free to choose their own terms and compensation without having to adhere to an agency rate card. This means surrogates can decide what they deem to be fair compensation without most of the Intended Parents’ budget going to an agency instead of the surrogate herself.
Quicker Match Times: Many surrogacy agencies have 1-2 year waiting list. As an Intended Parent, you’re at the mercy of how good a surrogacy agency is at recruiting vs. other agencies. This means the wait times can be very unpredictable and frustrating. Many surrogates will not do agency-directed journeys as well, which means you’re also missing out on a pool of potential surrogates.
Personal Connection: Independent surrogacy often allows for a more personal connection between Intended Parents and the surrogate. You have the opportunity to match based on your unique preferences and build a more direct and intimate relationship. Under independent surrogacy, there are no rules on when and how you can contact each other. And there’s certainly no rules against getting to know each other before legal (which only benefits the agency, not Intended Parents or surrogates)! Communication lines between Intended Parents and surrogates are typically more straightforward and direct in independent surrogacy. This can lead to better understanding and trust between the parties.
Greater Control: Intended Parents and surrogates have more control over the entire surrogacy process. They can manage the legal and medical aspects themselves, ensuring that they have a say in all decisions and agreements without an agency’s financial goals being a factor.
Tailored Arrangements: Independent surrogacy offers flexibility in negotiating the terms of the surrogacy arrangement. You can work directly with each other to create a plan that suits both parties, potentially resulting in a more customized and satisfactory agreement.
Legal Considerations: An agency is not a legal resource. Whether you’re doing an independent journey or going through an agency, you need the expertise of an experienced attorney to assist with contracts, parentage, and any potential disputes.
It’s crucial to thoroughly research and seek legal and medical guidance regardless of the path you choose.
Altruistic Surrogacy vs. Compensated Surrogacy
There are two forms of surrogacy compensation: altruistic surrogacy (unpaid) and compensated surrogacy. It’s important to note that the legality and acceptance of these two forms can vary greatly depending on your location.
Altruistic surrogacy, often referred to as “uncompensated surrogacy,” is a surrogacy arrangement where the surrogate receives no financial gain beyond the reimbursement of pregnancy-related expenses. In altruistic surrogacy, the primary motivation of the surrogate is to help another person or couple achieve their dream of parenthood, and she does not receive a fee for her services. The Intended Parents cover the costs associated with the pregnancy, such as medical expenses, maternity clothing, and other related bills.
Some jurisdictions have a loose definition of altruistic surrogacy and reimbursements can include payments towards rent and housing expenses, others narrowly define what types of expenses are allowed. It’s important to discuss these parameters with a qualified attorney.
Altruistic surrogacy in the United States is very rare outside of close friends and family members. Most surrogates want to be compensated for their time, energy, and risk to their health that any pregnancy poses.
Compensated surrogacy, on the other hand, involves the payment of a fee or compensation to the surrogate beyond just the reimbursement of pregnancy-related expenses. In compensated surrogacy, the surrogate receives a predetermined financial compensation in exchange for carrying the pregnancy. This compensation is often meant to acknowledge the surrogate’s time, effort, and potential discomfort throughout the surrogacy journey.
Here are some key distinctions between the two forms of surrogacy:
- Financial Motivation: Altruistic surrogates are primarily motivated by the desire to help others become parents, whereas compensated surrogates receive financial compensation for their services.
- Legal Considerations: In many locations, only altruistic surrogacy is permitted or regulated, while compensated surrogacy may be illegal or heavily restricted. The legality of surrogacy, in general, varies widely from country to country and even within different states or regions.
- Availability: Altruistic surrogates may be more challenging to find due to the absence of financial compensation. Compensated surrogates, in contrast, may be more readily available.
Before embarking on a surrogacy journey, it’s crucial to research and understand the legal and ethical landscape in your area. Consulting with legal and medical professionals who specialize in reproductive law and fertility can help you navigate the complexities of surrogacy and make informed decisions about the compensation model that aligns with your values and legal requirements.
FAQ: Types of Surrogacy and Variations
Can you tell me about Traditional vs. Gestational Surrogacy?
Gestational surrogacy involves the surrogate carrying a pregnancy but not being genetically related to the child. Traditional surrogacy involves the surrogate carrying and being genetically related to the child.
How do I choose the right surrogacy method for me?
Your choice should consider factors like your genetic connection preferences, budget, legal aspects in your jurisdiction, emotional considerations, and your medical and fertility factors. Consult with fertility specialists and legal experts to make an informed decision.
What are the reasons to consider independent surrogacy over agency-contracted surrogacy?
Cost savings for Intended Parents and surrogates having greater control over compensation, quicker matching times, building a more personal connection, the ability to tailor the surrogacy arrangement to your preferences, and avoiding agency fees and potential conflicts of interest.
What is altruistic surrogacy?
Altruistic surrogacy, often referred to as “uncompensated surrogacy,” is a surrogacy arrangement in which the surrogate receives no financial gain beyond the reimbursement of pregnancy-related expenses. The primary motivation is to help another person or couple become parents.
What is compensated surrogacy?
Compensated surrogacy involves the payment of a fee or compensation to the surrogate beyond just the reimbursement of pregnancy-related expenses. This compensation acknowledges the surrogate’s time, effort, and potential discomfort throughout the surrogacy journey. Compensated surrogacy is also called “commercial surrogacy”.
Is there a legal difference between altruistic and compensated surrogacy?
Yes, the legality and acceptance of these surrogacy compensation models can vary greatly depending on your location. Some jurisdictions permit altruistic surrogacy only, while others allow compensated surrogacy with varying degrees of regulation.
What should I consider when deciding between the types of surrogacy?
It’s crucial to research and understand the legal and ethical landscape in your area. Consult with legal and medical professionals who specialize in reproductive law and fertility to make informed decisions that aligns with your values and local legal requirements.