In a sense, every surrogacy completed is an altruistic one for the surrogate involved — she is choosing to sacrifice her body, time and energy to help someone else reach their parenthood dreams.
However, the term “altruistic surrogacy” applies to a certain subset of surrogacies completed — those in which the surrogate does not receive any additional compensation beyond that for medical and pregnancy expenses. While altruistic surrogacies can be rare, they are certainly a possibility for those considering becoming a surrogate.
Before you decide that an altruistic surrogacy is right for you, it’s important that you consider all the pros and cons of the process. An altruistic surrogacy is not right for every prospective surrogate, and it may or may not be the right choice for you — but, either way, you should be 100 percent confident in your decision before moving forward.
To help you learn more about this unique surrogacy journey, we’ve answered some of the questions you may have below.
What is an Altruistic Surrogacy?
In general, you can define altruistic surrogacy as any surrogacy process in which the surrogate is not receiving a base compensation. She will still receive all the necessary surrogacy services for free and have her medical and pregnancy expenses covered by the intended parents, but she waives her right to a base compensation for her services in this kind of surrogacy.
Just like in a commercial surrogacy, the specifics of an altruistic surrogacy must still be detailed in the surrogacy legal contract — even though there are no financial details to negotiate in regards to compensation. An altruistic surrogacy is often cheaper for intended parents than a commercial surrogacy, but many of the same professionals and services will be needed to successfully complete this kind of surrogacy process. In fact, in most other ways, an altruistic surrogacy is no different from the process of a commercial surrogacy.
Why Do People Complete an Altruistic Surrogacy?
As a woman considering becoming a surrogate, you may wonder why someone would choose to waive their right to surrogate base compensation.
Often, the surrogates and intended parents who complete an altruistic surrogacy already know each other before starting the surrogacy process. They may be family member or friends, and the woman who chooses to become a surrogate may have seen the intended parents go through years of unsuccessfully trying to raise a family. To help them reach their goals and to ease the financial burden of the surrogacy process, she may offer to complete an altruistic surrogacy with them. This is why many altruistic surrogacies are also identified surrogacies.
In all altruistic surrogacies, the surrogates involved are truly selfless and generous individuals who recognize that their goal is to help create families — not to obtain any sort of financial compensation. This is a serious commitment to make; once a woman decides to complete an altruistic surrogacy, she cannot change her mind later during the rigors of the surrogacy process. Many surrogacy professionals advise that a prospective surrogate require at least a small base compensation to avoid feelings of vulnerability and being taken advantage of later down the line — and to create a more equally respecting relationship between her and the intended parents.
If you are considering being a part of an altruistic surrogacy, consider the pros and cons associated with this kind of process:
- Altruistic surrogacy is generally less expensive for intended parents than a commercial surrogacy, especially if the surrogate and intended parents find each other before hiring the assistance of a surrogacy agency. However, remember that no matter which surrogacy process you pursue, it will always be free to you as a prospective surrogate.
- Altruistic surrogacy is legal in many U.S. states and other countries and may even be the only option for surrogates and intended parents who live where commercial surrogacy is illegal.
- If an altruistic surrogacy is also an identified surrogacy, there will be an existing level of trust between a surrogate and her intended parents.
- Because most altruistic surrogacies occur between friends or family members, choosing an altruistic surrogacy without already having found a match can make the matching process more difficult.
- If you choose to be a surrogate in an altruistic surrogacy, you may feel underappreciated as you experience more of the responsibilities of the surrogacy process. First-time surrogates don’t know what to expect and, if you enter into an altruistic surrogacy for your first experience, you may not be prepared for all of the physical and emotional demands of the surrogacy process — and just how important base compensation may be to you.
- Your relationship with the intended parents may suffer if you complete an altruistic surrogacy. They may be hesitant to make specific requests beyond the basics because you are not being compensated, and you may also feel like you can’t request certain things because you have established yourself as someone who is being a surrogate for the emotional benefits of the process.
An altruistic surrogacy, like any surrogacy, is a great commitment, and it may not be the right path for every woman interested in being a surrogate. Under the right circumstances, though, it can be a positive and rewarding experience for both surrogates and intended parents. All prospective surrogates should fully consider the potential complications of the altruistic surrogacy process before starting.
Whether you are considering a commercial or an altruistic surrogacy, it’s important that you speak with an experienced surrogacy professional to learn more about each process and to determine which one is right for you. Get started by contacting a surrogacy agency today.