What is Altruistic Surrogacy?

And How Does It Work?

What is altruistic surrogacy and how does it work? Find out the details behind surrogacy in which a gestational carrier provides her services for free.

Women who choose to become surrogates do so for altruistic reasons — and that includes women who accept fair compensation for their time and effort as surrogates. The definition of altruism is an “unselfish regard or devotion to the welfare of others,” which is an apt description of the sacrifices to the surrogate’s body, time, career, emotions and family that they make to help others have a child, regardless of whether or not they decide to accept compensation.

While all women who become surrogates do so out of an altruistic desire to help intended parents, some women do so without accepting the base compensation they are entitled to receive. This is called altruistic surrogacy, and while it’s not right for everyone, surrogates may choose to offer this gift to their intended parents in certain situations. The following are some of the most common questions about altruistic surrogacy, which may help you better understand this option if you’re thinking about becoming an altruistic surrogate or growing your family through the altruistic surrogacy process:

Altruistic Surrogacy Definition

“What is altruistic surrogacy, and what is the difference between commercial and altruistic surrogacy?”

It’s fairly straightforward to define altruistic surrogacy — in this type of surrogacy, the surrogate declines compensation other than reimbursement for the pregnancy- and surrogacy-related expenses incurred and her medical costs. The alternative of this is called commercial or compensated surrogacy.

Altruistic surrogacy is most common in identified surrogacy situations, which is where a woman offers to be a surrogate for a friend, family member, or someone she personally knows to help them cut down on their surrogacy costs.

Altruistic Surrogacy Process

“How does altruistic surrogacy work?”

You can choose altruistic surrogacy whether you’re pursuing the gestational surrogacy process, or the traditional surrogacy process. Then, the surrogacy process would proceed like normal.

All matters of surrogate compensation are established between the intended parents and the surrogate when they create their surrogacy contract with their surrogacy attorneys. So, in cases of altruistic surrogacy, you would simply detail within the contract that the intended parents are only reimbursing the altruistic surrogate for her pregnancy- and surrogacy-related costs.

The surrogate may need to cover certain costs up front, like copays at the doctor’s office, for example. Then, the intended parents will reimburse her for those expenses according to their contract.

Altruistic Surrogacy Cost

“How much does altruistic surrogacy cost? Is it free for the intended parents?”

Some intended parents are attracted to the idea of altruistic surrogacy because is often less expensive than compensated surrogacy. However, altruistic surrogacy is not free. The total cost of surrogacy will vary, depending on the laws, medical needs and other variables that affect your individual situation.

For altruistic surrogates: Whether or not they receive base compensation, surrogates are not expected to cover the costs of the pregnancy- and surrogacy-related expenses — those are generally the responsibility of the intended parents. So the hope is that altruistic surrogates will walk away from their surrogacy journey shouldering only minor financial costs, although things like childcare for your older children, travel expenses, maternity clothes, lost wages from the time you (and sometimes your spouse, if you’re married) spend away from work and more can all add up.

Surrogacy is a 24/7 job that requires a ton of sacrifices, and refusing compensation can sometimes lead to feelings of resentment on the part of surrogates, and a sense of indebtedness on the part of intended parents. For these reasons and more, we encourage surrogates to consider at least some amount of compensation.

For intended parents: Altruistic surrogacy is usually less expensive than compensated surrogacy, because you’re not paying for the surrogate’s compensation fee. However, all the other expenses will remain the same as any other type of surrogacy. You’ll still be responsible for the medical, legal and professional fees accrued throughout the surrogacy journey for you and your surrogate. Intended parents can anticipate paying upwards of $100,000.

American Surrogacy offers fixed-rate surrogacy fees and is transparent about costs from the beginning to help intended parents afford surrogacy more easily.

Altruistic Surrogacy Laws

“Is altruistic surrogacy legal?”

Because every state has its own set of surrogacy laws, you’ll need to make sure that your state permits surrogacy. Consult with American Surrogacy and your attorney to navigate surrogacy in your state, and to create a surrogacy contract that will legally protect everyone involved.

It’s important to work with experienced surrogacy professionals to complete the altruistic surrogacy process, even if you already know and trust your surrogacy partner. Careful adherence to surrogacy laws and the creation of a detailed surrogacy contract with a professional will protect you, your surrogacy partner and, most importantly, the baby at the heart of your surrogacy journey.

Is Being an Altruistic Surrogate Right for You?

Women who choose to become surrogates repeatedly cite the desire to help others as the primary reason why they pursue surrogacy. So, for some women, the idea of asking for compensation seems at odds with the very reason why they wanted to become a surrogate.

But accepting reasonable compensation for the time a woman gives up, the physical risks she accepts, the emotional rollercoaster she goes on and the sacrifices she makes in time spent away from her job and family is fair and certainly not greedy. Even accepting a small amount of base compensation can help intended parents and surrogates feel more comfortable in the long-run. Surrogates often feel more appreciated and less resentful or taken advantage of, and it can ensure that intended parents don’t feel forever indebted to the surrogate, or uncomfortable with making small requests of their surrogate.

It’s also worth noting that pregnancy is costly, and even though the intended parents typically cover all pregnancy-related costs for their surrogate, there are often some small, everyday expenses that aren’t thought of that can add up. That’s when surrogacy compensation can be helpful in offsetting some of those miscellaneous expenses.

If you’d like more information on altruistic surrogacy vs. compensated surrogacy, or if you’d like to begin your surrogacy journey as a parent or surrogate, contact us now at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).