Dear Scholastic Surrogate: Altruistic vs. Compensated Surrogacy

Dear Scholastic Surrogate,

I know that in some states and countries surrogacy of any kind isn’t legal; and in some, only altruistic surrogacy? What does it mean if a location only allows altruistic surrogacy? 

Great question! Yes…believe it or not, some countries (and even states in the US) don’t allow surrogacy at all, and some only allow altruistic surrogacy. When surrogacy is altruistic, whether it’s traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not monetarily compensated above and beyond reimbursement for expenses. For example, Canada has the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which makes it illegal to pay a surrogate for her services. If the surrogate is paid an amount of money on top of expenses, then the surrogacy is considered compensated. Here’s a handy map so you can see what the status is for each state in the US. If being a surrogate is something you’re thinking about or if you’re considering using a surrogate to grow your family, it is extremely important to know the laws in your state/country regarding whether surrogacy is legal and whether the surrogate can be compensated. Seek out a reputable surrogacy agency, like New Mexico Surrogacy, and be sure to consult a local attorney.

Dear Scholastic,

If someone lives in a state that allows compensated surrogacy, why would she choose to do an altruistic surrogacy?

The money is nice…for sure! Extra income can greatly help a surrogate’s own family, and being a surrogate takes work. Work getting everything together to prepare for the pregnancy, work leading up the pregnancy (meds, appointments, transfer, etc.), work during the pregnancy (um, hello…growing a baby) and work on the family and support system of the surrogate. In our opinion, every surrogate deserves to be compensated. But, the majority of surrogates don’t do it for the money! Surrogates have huge hearts and truly want to help someone grow their family who isn’t able to on their own. Often times a surrogate will offer to carry the child of a close friend or family member and not want to be compensated or will offer to do it at a reduced compensation. You also have those who will carry for a complete stranger and want no compensation because that is not why they wanted to do it. So, while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with accepting compensation, where it’s legal, some surrogates just prefer to not accept it. Read about our Montana Surrogacy Intake Coordinator’s altruistic surrogacy experience here. It all depends on the surrogate, the intended parents and their relationship. Whether the surrogacy is altruistic or compensated, it’s a HUGE gift and we are so thankful there are women who are willing to change someone’s life by helping them grow their family.

Interested in becoming a surrogate?