When you first start looking into the surrogacy process, you might assume that every journey is more or less the same: a woman becomes pregnant and carries a child to term for intended parents.
But there are actually many different types of surrogacy, each of which has different nuances, requirements and steps you will need to complete. So, whether you’re a prospective surrogate or an intended parent, it’s important to understand how surrogacy types differ so you can choose the path that’s best for you.
To help you learn more about the types of surrogacy, we’ve broken them down for you here. If you have any further questions, you can always contact a surrogacy specialist today.
Traditional vs. Gestational Surrogacy
When it comes to the medical process involved, there are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. The main difference between these two processes is how the embryo is created — more specifically, whose egg is being used.
In traditional surrogacy, the embryo is created with the surrogate’s own egg, usually through intrauterine insemination (IUI). After carrying and giving birth to the baby, the surrogate will have to go through an additional process to terminate her parental rights, as she will be the biological mother of the child. Because of the emotional and legal complexities involved in traditional surrogacy, it is the less commonly used method of surrogacy today.
Gestational surrogacy, on the other hand, is the new norm for intended parents and surrogates. In this type of surrogacy, a surrogate does not use her own egg and, therefore, is not biologically related to the child she’s carrying. Typically, an embryo will be created by the intended parents (using a donated sperm or egg, if necessary) through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and will then be transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. If you work with American Surrogacy and most other surrogacy professionals, you will usually complete a gestational surrogacy.
Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy: What's Right for Me?
While gestational surrogacy is the recommended surrogacy process today, you will still have the choice between the two types of surrogacy. There are many pros and cons to each process, so it’s important that you fully research both types of surrogacy before deciding what’s right for you.
Here are some things to consider:
1. Who Uses the Two Types of Surrogacy:
People who use traditional surrogacy may include:
- Single men
- Same-sex male couples
- Intended mothers who cannot produce healthy eggs
People who use gestational surrogacy may include:
- People who have struggled with infertility
- Intended single parents, male or female
- Same-sex couples
- People who don’t want a genetic relationship between the surrogate and their child
- Anyone who cannot carry a pregnancy safely to term
2. The Laws Regarding These Types of Surrogacy
While the laws regarding your surrogacy will vary based on your state, there are some general differences when it comes to the legalities of gestational and traditional surrogacy.
For example, with gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not the biological mother of the child born. Therefore, the intended parents may be able to complete a pre- or post-birth order that protects their parental rights to their child from the moment he or she is born. Eliminating that genetic connection will make your surrogacy process easier from a legal standpoint.
With traditional surrogacy, because the surrogate is related to the child, she will have to terminate her parental rights after the child is born to allow the intended parents to legally become the child’s parents. There may be a waiting period before a biological mother can sign away her parental rights (as you will technically be completing an adoption), and you always run the risk of that surrogate mother deciding to invoke her parental rights to the child, even if the parties signed a surrogacy agreement ahead of time. In addition, if the state’s laws treat traditional surrogacy as an adoption, the surrogate may not be able to receive compensation for the surrogacy.
Keep in mind: Traditional surrogacy is banned in many states.
3. How Much These Types of Surrogacy Cost
When it comes to a discussion of the cost of surrogacy, this is usually only a factor for intended parents; surrogates will have their pregnancy-related costs covered and may receive additional compensation for carrying the child.
Because traditional surrogacy does not require harvesting of eggs from an intended mother or egg donor, it may be the cheaper of the two options for intended parents. However, your decision between the surrogacy types should not be based solely on the cost involved. How much your surrogacy will cost will also depend on many other factors, including your unique circumstances and the professional you use to complete the process. Talk to an American Surrogacy specialist today to learn more about our surrogacy costs and how we compare to other surrogacy professionals.
Deciding between a gestational and traditional surrogate is a personal choice but, in our experience, gestational surrogacy is the better option to avoid possible legal and emotional complications that could come from a biologically related surrogate. In addition, if you pursue traditional surrogacy, you do so on your own; many surogacy agencies and fertility clinics will not complete this family-building process.
Our surrogacy specialists can discuss your individual situation in more detail with you to help you decide which type of surrogacy is best.
Compensated/Commercial Surrogacy vs. Altruistic Surrogacy
In addition to deciding between the two types of surrogacy, you will also need to decide what kind of compensation, if any, will be included in your surrogacy contract. When you get ready to begin your surrogacy journey, there are two paths to take: compensated/commercial surrogacy or altruistic/non-compensated surrogacy.
Compensated surrogacy is just what it sounds like; in addition to the coverage of all pregnancy-related costs, a surrogate will receive a base compensation for carrying the intended parents’ child. This kind of commercial surrogacy can be a complicated legal and ethical matter, as some state laws do not allow for compensated surrogacy of any kind.
Some intended parents and surrogates choose to do an altruistic surrogacy instead, where a surrogate does not receive any additional compensation beyond the coverage of pregnancy-related costs. Typically, this kind of surrogacy is completed when intended parents and surrogates previously know each other — for example, if they are close friends or family members — situations which can also be called “identified surrogacy.”
Compensated and Altruistic Surrogacy: What's Right for Me?
Just like some surrogacy professionals only complete gestational surrogacy, you may only have the option of a commercial surrogacy if you find a surrogate or intended parents through a surrogacy professional. You’ll want to speak with your surrogacy specialist to determine what kind of surrogacies they complete and how state laws may affect whether or not your surrogacy can be compensated or altruistic.
The choice between commercial surrogacy and altruistic surrogacy is a controversial one, and which one is best for you will likely depend on your own feelings about surrogate compensation. Critics of commercial surrogacy say the process takes advantage of vulnerable women in need of money and exploits the system of human reproduction, though this may be more of a concern in international surrogacy than in surrogacies completed within the U.S.
On the other hand, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of having a surrogate carry a child and receive nothing for doing so, in case she feels exploited or underappreciated during the process. While an altruistic surrogacy may save intended parents money, it may also come with challenges for the relationship between the intended parent and surrogate during the process.
To learn more about what types of surrogacy American Surrogacy can help you complete, please call us today at 1-800-875-2229.