About Surrogacy

What is Commercial Surrogacy?

Commercial surrogacy refers to any surrogacy arrangement where the surrogate mother is compensated for her services beyond reimbursement of medical expenses.

You can contact a surrogacy professional to find out the different kinds of surrogacy journeys you can take. But, continue reading to learn more about commercial surrogacy right now.

Commercial Surrogacy vs. Altruistic Surrogacy

The alternative to commercial surrogacy is altruistic surrogacy, in which a woman volunteers to carry a pregnancy for intended parents without receiving any monetary compensation in return.

Most altruistic surrogacies are between family members or close friends; for example, when a woman offers to carry a pregnancy for her sibling or child without compensation, this would be considered altruistic surrogacy. If you are working with a surrogacy professional to locate a surrogate, your surrogacy is most likely commercial.

The Ethics of Commercial Surrogacy

There has been some debate over the ethics of commercial surrogacy. Critics of the practice feel that it takes advantage of vulnerable women, exploits the system of reproduction and commoditizes human life. However, surrogacy advocates argue that it is unfair for a woman to carry a baby for someone else and get nothing in return. Proponents of commercial surrogacy also believe it is best to openly allow the practice so that it can be regulated and so everyone’s rights can be protected.

While the commercial surrogacy debate is still ongoing, this form of surrogacy has helped thousands of infertile couples, single parents and members of the LGBT community add to their families.

Where is Commercial Surrogacy Legal?

Ethical concerns have led some countries and U.S. states to ban or restrict commercial surrogacy arrangements. These commercial surrogacy laws are intended to protect women and children, but they also have some consequences that need to be considered. This section addresses commercial surrogacy laws in the United States and internationally, as well as some of the consequences these laws have had on surrogacy arrangements.

International Commercial Surrogacy

There are no internationally recognized surrogacy laws protecting intended parents, surrogate mothers, and children. Some countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, prohibit all forms of surrogacy, whereas others only allow altruistic surrogacy or ban people from other countries from working with a surrogate.

There are a few risks with international surrogacy:

  • Countries outside the United States that allow commercial surrogacy often do not have clear legal frameworks regulating surrogacy arrangements. This means that intended parents and surrogates are not well protected, and difficulties can arise in establishing legal parents and citizenship for babies born via international surrogacy.
  • It’s important to consider the ethics of working with a surrogate in another country. Surrogacy opponents are often the most critical of international commercial surrogacy. Critics often refer to these surrogacy agreements as “fertility tourism,” “surrogacy tourism,” or “womb renting” because they argue that it exploits poor women in developing countries.

Commercial Surrogacy in the United States

Commercial surrogacy is legal in some U.S. states, while other states allow only altruistic surrogacy and some disallow surrogacy altogether.

Certain states that do allow commercial surrogacy, like California, have some of the most well-defined surrogacy laws in the world. This makes these states a popular destination for infertile couples in the United States and around the world who want to pursue commercial surrogacy and be assured that it is safe and their rights are protected.

The popularity of California as a surrogacy destination highlights the high global demand for commercial surrogates and echoes the opinion of commercial surrogacy advocates: that intended parents should be able to pursue commercial surrogacy in an environment where it is legal and well-regulated.

Pros and Cons of Commercial Surrogacy

Clearly, there are many arguments to be made for and against commercial surrogacy. The advantages and disadvantages of this type of surrogacy will also depend to some extent on where the surrogacy is completed, the relationship between the intended parents and the surrogate, and more. Each prospective intended parent should consider the benefits and challenges of commercial surrogacy, as well as their own individual goals and circumstances, as they decide whether this form of surrogacy is right for them.

Here is an overview of some of the pros and cons of commercial surrogacy:


  • Commercial surrogacy allows women to be compensated fairly for their yearlong commitment to intended parents as well as the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy.
  • In states and countries with well-defined laws, commercial surrogacy is legally regulated to protect the rights of the surrogate as well as the intended parents.
  • Commercial surrogacy is an option for intended parents who do not want to pressure close friends or family members to make the sacrifices required of altruistic surrogacy.
  • In commercial surrogacy, contracts are negotiated ahead of time to determine the monetary compensation the surrogate will receive, which can prevent disputes over reimbursements during and after the pregnancy.
  • At least in the United States, most commercial surrogates do not pursue surrogacy solely for the compensation. All surrogacy involves some level of altruism, as every surrogacy requires compassion and sacrifice. Most women pursue surrogacy because they want to help build other families.


  • Commercial surrogacy is more expensive than altruistic surrogacy because intended parents will be responsible for surrogate compensation in addition to medical and legal costs.
  • Some opponents of commercial surrogacy argue that it exploits vulnerable women.
  • Commercial surrogacy is illegal in some countries, forcing some intended parents to pursue international surrogacy, which can lead to legal and ethical complications.

Deciding if Commercial Surrogacy is Right for You

Commercial surrogacy, when completed legally and ethically, can be a wonderful way for people to come together to help hopeful parents add to their families. Intended parents who are concerned about the legal or ethical implications of commercial surrogacy should work with an experienced professional in a country or state with clear surrogacy laws, and ensure their surrogate is compensated and treated fairly.

Are you interested in learning more about surrogacy or starting the process? Complete our form to request free surrogacy information now.

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