What is Commercial Surrogacy?

And How Does It Work?

What is commercial surrogacy and what's the legal process like with this type of surrogacy? Learn more here before becoming a surrogate or intended parent in this process.

If you’re considering surrogacy, either as a surrogate or an intended parent, you’ve probably already learned about surrogate compensation, and you might have questions about the “commercialization” of surrogacy — why surrogates are compensated, how commercial surrogacy works, what laws govern it and more.

Here are some common questions about compensated surrogacy that may help you better understand what becoming a compensated surrogate or expanding your family through the commercial surrogacy process is like:

Commercial Surrogacy Definition

“What is commercial surrogacy?”

Commercial surrogacy, also called compensated surrogacy, is exactly what it sounds like: the surrogate accepts some amount of compensation in addition to being reimbursed for her pregnancy- and surrogacy- related expenses that are incurred throughout the surrogacy process.

In its counterpart, altruistic surrogacy, the surrogate declines any compensation outside of reimbursement by the intended parents. However, in both types of surrogacy, surrogates consistently cite their desire to help others as their foremost reason for becoming a surrogate, regardless of whether or not they accept compensation.

Commercial Surrogacy Process

“How does the commercial surrogacy process work?”

Commercial surrogacy can be applied to the gestational surrogacy process and sometimes the traditional surrogacy process. In some states, traditional surrogacy is legally treated as adoption due to the traditional surrogate’s status as the baby’s biological mother, making compensation for traditional surrogacy illegal in those situations.

When you create your contract with your surrogacy partner and your attorneys, you’ll detail the terms of all financial matters within that contract. That includes negotiating any compensation for the surrogate.

The agreed-upon base compensation and monthly allowance for the surrogate will begin being paid out of an escrow account once the baby’s heartbeat is heard. Any surrogacy-related expenses that are incurred throughout the process are handled by your surrogacy specialist, and will also typically come from that escrow account. This makes it easier for intended parents to handle costs, as they’ve already paid into their escrow account from which the funds are pulled.

Commercial Surrogacy Cost

“How much does a commercial surrogate cost for intended parents?”

For commercial surrogates: Regardless of whether or not you accept compensation, surrogates are not expected to pay for their pregnancy- and surrogacy-related costs. That’s generally the responsibility of the intended parents. The additional compensation that commercial surrogates receive is often used toward goals like paying off student loans, making a down payment on a house, saving for her children’s college tuition and more.

For intended parents: At American Surrogacy, many costs are fixed-rate, but some costs will vary based on medical and legal variables in your individual situation. Most intended parents can anticipate the total cost falling somewhere in the range of $75,000-$125,000.

American Surrogacy can break down the individual costs for you so you can better understand where each dollar is going, so contact our surrogacy specialists with any questions you may have. Transparency about fees is incredibly important when it comes to financing a surrogacy journey, including compensated surrogacy situations.

Commercial Surrogacy Laws

“Where is commercial surrogacy legal?”

Every state has its own surrogacy laws, and some have specific laws on how commercial surrogacy must be handled. Some states prohibit surrogacy entirely, so consult with American Surrogacy and your attorney about pursuing surrogacy safely and legally in your individual situation.

No matter what, it’s always imperative that you work with an experienced surrogacy professional to complete the commercial surrogacy process, even if you already know and trust your surrogacy partner. It’s vital that you adhere to all surrogacy laws and that you create a thorough surrogacy contract for the legal protection of everyone involved — including the baby at the center of your shared surrogacy journey.

Is Being a Commercial Surrogate Right for You?

Our general philosophy on compensated surrogacy is this: if your main motivation for becoming a surrogate is financial gain, then you’re probably not a good fit for surrogacy. If, however, your primary goal for becoming a surrogate is to help people have a child, then you’ll likely make a great surrogate, regardless of whether or not you accept compensation.

Choosing to accept compensation as a surrogate is a perfectly reasonable response to the risks and sacrifices you take on as a surrogate. Most compensated surrogates view this compensation as a kind of secondary benefit of surrogacy, with the primary benefit being able to help intended parents.

How you feel about compensated surrogacy tends to be a fairly personal choice. For ourselves, we feel that commercial surrogacy can be a fair and reasonable way to compensate women for their time, effort and dedication to an approximately year-long process. American Surrogacy supports both altruistic and compensated surrogacy — only you can decide which path is right for you as a parent or surrogate.

If you have any questions about how commercial surrogacy works with American Surrogacy, or if you’d like to start your surrogacy journey as a parent or surrogate, contact us now at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).