What is Altruistic Surrogacy?

Typically used in situations of identified surrogacy, altruistic surrogacy is when a surrogate carries a child with no additional base compensation.

Altruism is defined as “unselfish regard or devotion to the welfare of others” — a quality that all surrogates arguably must possess to make the physical and emotional sacrifices demanded by surrogacy. Many surrogacy supporters argue that all surrogacy is altruistic in nature, which can make it somewhat difficult to truly define altruistic surrogacy.

However, the term “altruistic surrogacy” generally refers only to those arrangements in which the surrogate does not receive compensation for her services beyond reimbursement for medical costs and other reasonable pregnancy-related expenses. Many of these arrangements are between family members or close friends and are completed as independent surrogacies. The alternative to altruistic surrogacy is commercial surrogacy, in which the surrogate is fairly compensated for her time and energy, the sacrifices she makes and the many physical and emotional challenges she faces throughout the surrogacy process.

The sections below explore the process, costs, pros and cons of altruistic surrogacy, as well as some important considerations for prospective intended parents to take into account before pursuing this type of surrogacy arrangement.

How does altruistic surrogacy work?

The surrogacy process is generally the same for altruistic surrogacy as it is for commercial surrogacy. However, most intended parents in altruistic surrogacy arrangements work with surrogates they already know. Because of the incredible selflessness required of altruistic surrogates, many are women who volunteer their gestational services for their siblings, children, or other close family members or friends.

These arrangements are known as “identified surrogacy” because the intended parents and surrogate have already found their match before working with a surrogacy professional. Identified surrogacy puts intended parents and surrogates a few steps ahead in the surrogacy process and eliminates the need for an agency’s matching services. However, it is highly recommended that intended parents and identified surrogates work closely with a surrogacy professional throughout the remainder of the process to complete the necessary legal and medical requirements, and to provide the surrogate any support she made need.

Altruistic Surrogacy Cost

Altruistic surrogacy is often less expensive than commercial surrogacy because the intended parents do not compensate their surrogate. Despite these savings, there are still several important services and professionals involved in the altruistic surrogacy process, as well as many variable expenses that can impact the overall cost of the surrogacy.

Here are some of the services and fees that may be applicable to altruistic surrogacy arrangements:

These surrogacy costs are variable depending on a number of factors, including your state’s laws and cost of living, the professional you work with and your surrogate’s needs. For a better understanding of surrogacy costs, speak with a surrogacy professional to discuss your individual circumstances.

Pros and Cons of Altruistic Surrogacy

Between the right surrogate and intended parents, altruistic surrogacy can be a positive experience with many benefits for intended parents. However, there are also some challenges with altruistic surrogacy to keep in mind before entering into this type of surrogacy agreement.

Here are some common advantages and disadvantages of altruistic surrogacy:


Final Thoughts

Under the right circumstances, altruistic surrogacy can be an incredible and rewarding experience for everyone involved. For intended parents, it is a remarkable and selfless gift and a more cost-effective way to grow their family. However, it is also important to think about the potential complications that could arise before entering into an altruistic surrogacy agreement with a friend or family member.

Surrogacy is a life-altering experience for everyone involved, and intended parents should be aware of the potential long-term impact this form of surrogacy could have on their relationship with the friend or family member who carries the pregnancy for them. Surrogates and intended parents should seek counseling services before and during the surrogacy process to ensure this is the best choice for them.

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