Types of Surrogacy

What is Commercial Surrogacy, and How Does it Work?

When you’re considering becoming a surrogate, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is whether or not you want to receive a base compensation for your services. If you’re like the majority of surrogates, you’ll choose to do so by completing a commercial surrogacy.

Where it is legally allowable, commercial surrogacy is often the preferred form of surrogacy for both intended parents and surrogates, as it provides a method of compensation to ensure that a surrogate feels appreciated for her services. In fact, many surrogacy professionals will advise that those interested in surrogacy pursue a commercial surrogacy — which can always be tailored to the degree of compensation that intended parents and surrogates both agree upon.

Like all aspects of the surrogacy journey, there are certain things that prospective surrogates like yourself should consider before deciding on a commercial surrogacy journey.

What is Commercial Surrogacy?

There is no single “commercial surrogacy definition,” as each commercial surrogacy is designed around the needs and preferences of the intended parents and surrogate involved. In general, however, a commercial surrogacy is any surrogacy process where a woman is compensated beyond her surrogacy- and pregnancy-related expenses.

Commercial surrogacy exists in contrast to altruistic surrogacy, where a woman is not additionally compensated. Typically, altruistic surrogacies are completed between family members and friends, while commercial surrogacy is often completed by those who didn’t know each other prior to their match. Therefore, if you are working with a surrogacy professional to find intended parents, your surrogacy process will likely be compensated.

So, how does commercial surrogacy work?

If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, you probably know that all of your medical expenses will be covered by intended parents through monthly payments or reimbursements. The base compensation aspect of a commercial surrogacy is handled similarly. You will usually receive the first payment upon confirmation of a pregnancy, and the rest of your compensation will be paid out in monthly payments until you give birth, at which point you’ll receive your final payment. How much your surrogate compensation will be will depend on many factors, and surrogacy professionals can give you a better estimate of what you may expect.

Where is Commercial Surrogacy Legal?

While commercial surrogacy used to be legal in countries around the world, new legislation has restricted the availability of commercial surrogacy. In fact, many countries today have banned the practice.

As a surrogate in the United States, you will likely have the opportunity to complete a commercial surrogacy. However, whether or not you can and how much compensation you can receive will depend upon your individual state’s laws. Unfortunately, there are a few states that prohibit commercial surrogacy, so it’s important that you speak with a local surrogacy lawyer to learn more about the options for surrogacy in your area.

If commercial surrogacy is legal in your state, the details of your process will be agreed upon during the legal contract phase. In this process, your individual surrogacy attorney will negotiate with the intended parents’ lawyer to make sure that your rights and interests are protected throughout your commercial surrogacy. He or she will help determine exactly what your base compensation will look like.

Why is There a Debate over Commercial Surrogacy?

Because commercial surrogacy is so common and more preferred than altruistic, you may wonder why certain states have made the process illegal.

Ever since surrogacy has existed, there has been a debate over the ethics involved. With commercial surrogacy, critics say that paying a woman for the use of her uterus is akin to prostitution. While commercial surrogacy allows surrogates the opportunity to receive the compensation they deserve, some view this as a negative thing rather than a positive. They claim that commercial surrogacy may force women in need of financial assistance into a process they don’t really wish to complete.

However, it’s important to understand the facts behind commercial surrogacy before making a judgement like this. Women who are surrogates often cannot be on government assistance and, while the base compensation they make can be substantial, it is often not a life-changing amount in the United States — for example, enough to pay off student loans or put a down payment on a house. Unfortunately, like many critics of surrogacy, those who criticize the commercial aspect of it often don’t have all the facts needed to make an informed judgement.

It’s also important to realize that commercial surrogacy in the United States varies greatly depending on the state laws involved, the situations of the intended parents and surrogates, and other surrogacy details. If you’re considering being a surrogate in a commercial surrogacy, it’s important to fully understand the pros and cons associated with your particular surrogacy circumstances before committing to this path.



Before deciding on a commercial surrogacy, make sure to discuss your personal surrogacy goals and expectations with an experienced surrogacy professional. They can give you a better estimate of not only what your surrogate compensation could be but also what your commercial surrogacy journey could look like.

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