When you research becoming a surrogate, a great deal of the information you’ll find is about gestational surrogacy — in which a woman is not genetically related to the child she carries.
But, what if you’re thinking about being a traditional surrogate — where you donate your egg to the intended parents — instead?
While traditional surrogacy is definitely decreasing in popularity, it is still an option for many intended parents and prospective surrogates across the country. As you consider this path for yourself, you may have some difficulty learning about one aspect in particular: traditional surrogate compensation.
Because traditional surrogacy can be a complicated and controversial topic, it’s important that you get your information from a source you trust. Here at Surrogate.com, we are dedicated to giving you the information you need to make the best decision for you. However, it’s important to remember that this article should not be taken as legal advice. Instead, you must always speak with an attorney to determine the laws on traditional surrogacy in your state.
In the meantime, keep reading to learn more about traditional surrogate compensation before you move forward with this life-changing journey.
Do Traditional Surrogates Get Paid More than Gestational Surrogates?
If you’ve been researching surrogacy, odds are you’ve come across a lot of information about surrogate compensation. This is the payment that surrogates receive for their services, as a way to make up for the great amount of time and energy they put into helping intended parents create their family.
But, when you become a traditional surrogate (as opposed to a gestational surrogate), there’s something else that you give: your genetic connection. The child you carry will genetically be yours because your egg will be used in the in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination process.
Because traditional surrogates give a more personal part of themselves to the surrogacy journey, do traditional surrogates get paid more in turn? The answer may not be what you think.
In fact, traditional surrogates are often legally restricted to a smaller surrogate compensation rate — if they get paid at all.
When you intend to give your biological child to intended parents, it complicates things a bit. The usual compensation a gestational carrier receives may not be possible in your situation. Worst case scenario? Being paid to give your biological child to someone else can be legally seen as human trafficking and land you (and the intended parents) in a heap of trouble. We’ll tackle this subject in more depth below.
In the meantime, know this: You will not be paid “more” for a genetic connection to the child you carry and could instead find the overall compensation you could receive as a surrogate greatly reduced.
Is Traditional Surrogate Compensation Legal in the U.S.?
Unlike another popular family-building option (adoption), surrogacy is not regulated by any federal laws. Your surrogacy experience will be determined by your state laws on surrogacy — and not all states are surrogacy-friendly.
But, what do adoption and surrogacy have in common? When it comes to a biological mother placing her child with another family — whether adoptive parents or intended parents — the same set of legal rules often apply. Depending on your state laws, your traditional surrogacy may be treated as an adoption, and your surrogate compensation may be regulated by the birth mother living expenses.
As mentioned above, receiving payment for a biological child can be interpreted as child trafficking, even if you have made an arrangement with the intended parents beforehand. For that reason, traditional surrogacy compensation in your state may be illegal, no matter what legal agreement you have with the intended parents.
In gestational surrogacy, women regularly receive an average of $30,000 to carry a child for intended parents. That money is to do with as they please. But, this is often impossible in traditional surrogacy. If you take this path, you may only be able to receive living and medical expenses similar to what a prospective birth mother receives in adoption. These legal restrictions are designed to reduce the likelihood of you feeling pressured into giving your biological child to another family. The fact is, even in traditional surrogacy, you will usually retain your rights to your child after birth and need to go through a legal process to sign those rights away — regardless of what your surrogacy contract may say.
This complication with traditional surrogacy compensation is just one of the reasons why professionals and surrogates today are moving away from these kinds of surrogacy journeys. If you wish to become a traditional surrogate, you should be comfortable with the fact that you might not receive a large amount of compensation (or any compensation at all).
The joy you get from helping build a family may be your only reward.
Who Should You Contact About Traditional Surrogate Compensation?
That’s not to say that traditional surrogate compensation will be impossible in every situation. Some states may allow you to receive a certain amount of payment for your services as a traditional surrogate. You’ll need to work with an experienced surrogacy professional to do so safely and legally.
When you start the traditional surrogacy process, you will find that many surrogacy agencies will not assist you through this process. Many of these professionals are wary of the legal and emotional complications, so they reserve their services for gestational surrogates only. If you want to be a traditional surrogate, you will likely need to work with a local surrogacy attorney to complete an independent surrogacy.
An experienced surrogacy attorney will be the one who knows the most about traditional surrogacy laws in your state, including whether you will able to receive traditional surrogate compensation. They will guide you through the legal requirements of this journey in order to protect your rights and interests. They will also ensure that you and your intended parents pursue a safe and legal path together.
To start your traditional surrogacy journey today, contact a local assisted reproduction attorney. Start with this helpful list from the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys.