Altruistic vs. Compensated Surrogacy

Dear Supportive Surrogate: I have heard some countries, and even states with in the United States, only allow altruistic surrogacy. What does that mean? - Curious

Great question, Curious! Altruistic surrogacy means that the surrogate, whether traditional or gestational, will not receive any monetary compensation outside of reimbursement for expenses. In many places there are laws that prohibit compensation for a surrogate. For example, Canada has the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which makes it illegal to pay a surrogate for her services. Many places where compensating the surrogate is illegal will allow surrogacy only with the reimbursements of reasonable expenses directly related to the surrogacy pregnancy. Knowing what the laws say in your area, whether illegal altogether, or just illegal to compensate, is important. Please consult a lawyer and/or surrogacy agency to see what the laws say about where you live regarding altruistic or compensated surrogacy.

Dear Supportive: If someone is wanting to be a surrogate, and it’s legal in their state or country to be compensated, why would someone choose to be a surrogate altruistically? - AltSurro

Dear AltSurro: While receiving compensation is appealing, the calling to become a surrogate often has nothing to do with money. Surrogates are people who feel a deeper desire to help another person or couple build their family. The reality of compensation and its ability to help their own family is often only a second thought to them. More often than not, surrogates who are altruistic are carrying for a family member or very close friend, and in those cases they frequently don’t request compensation, or at least significantly reduced compensation. The surrogate’s expenses related to the pregnancy are covered by the Intended Parents, whether the surrogacy is altruistic or compensated. It really depends on the surrogate. A decision to act altruistically or be compensated depends on the gestational carrier’s relationship with the Intended Parents, whether she chooses to go through an agency or not and even on if she lives in a place where laws don’t allow her to be compensated. Compensated or not, being a gestational surrogate isn’t an easy task. There is time and energy taken away from her family and life and placed into carrying this beautiful baby for someone else. New or evolving relationships will need to be nurtured and time spent very carefully tracking fertility medications and doctors’ appointments. All those things aside, being a gestational surrogate, is beautiful gift and one you may find difficult to place a price on, especially for those people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to have children of their own. 

Are you interested in learning more about being a gestational carrier and what it entails?