While traditional surrogacy certainly isn’t as popular as it once was, it remains an option for those parents looking to build their family and those women looking to help them do so.
If you are considering becoming a traditional surrogate, there are some important things you need to consider. This surrogacy experience is vastly different from a gestational surrogacy experience — emotionally, medically and legally.
There are a lot of sacrifices you’ll need to be comfortable with as a traditional surrogate. Key among them will be traditional surrogate compensation.
Unlike with gestational surrogacy, compensation with traditional surrogacy is complicated and rare. Depending on where you live, it may not even be possible. That’s why we encourage every prospective traditional surrogate to contact a professional before deciding that this path is right for her.
In the meantime, we aim to answer some of your most pressing questions about traditional surrogacy compensation below. Please keep in mind: The information in this article should not be taken as legal advice. Only a surrogacy professional or attorney can give you the most accurate information for your situation.
Do Traditional Surrogates Get Paid More?
It’s no secret that traditional surrogacy is a harder journey than gestational surrogacy, simply by definition.
During traditional surrogacy, a prospective surrogate not only volunteers to carry a baby for intended parents, but she also volunteers her eggs to be used in the embryo creation process (either through artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization). Therefore, a traditional surrogate is the biological mother of the baby that she carries. This often makes the process more legally difficult (because parental rights need to be terminated), but it can also make it much more emotionally difficult, as well.
For this reason, you may be asking: Do traditional surrogates get paid more for this harder journey?
You might be inclined to think so, but the answer is no. In fact, many traditional surrogates get paid far less than gestational surrogates — if they are even paid at all.
The genetic relationship between a traditional surrogate and the baby she carries makes any kind of payment incredibly complicated. Even though a woman signs a contract and intends to give the intended parents the baby after birth, she is still the baby’s biological mother — and she still has rights. It’s not dissimilar to a prospective birth mother choosing adoption. A woman who receives payment for placing her child with other parents could legally be engaging in human trafficking. All involved parties could face serious legal trouble.
So, know this: Traditional surrogates do not get “paid more” for placing a biological child with intended parents. If you are looking for the highest compensation possible (or any compensation at all), we’d recommend gestational surrogacy, instead.
Is Traditional Surrogate Compensation Legal?
If you’re like most surrogates, the money isn’t why you’re doing this. You’re doing this to help someone else become the parent they’ve always wanted to be — and making the medical process a little easier by donating your egg, too.
However, before you jump into this process, it’s important you understand all aspects. That includes the traditional surrogate compensation you are (or are not) entitled to.
There are many states in the U.S. where traditional surrogate compensation is illegal. Because the process is so similar to adoption — in that a genetic mother must relinquish her rights prior to placing the child with other parents — many states regulate it as so.
In adoption, a prospective birth mother cannot be paid, although she can receive living expenses and other reimbursements for her pregnancy-related costs. In many states, a traditional surrogate is treated the same. She will be unable to receive traditional surrogate compensation, but the intended parents will always cover her medical and pregnancy-related expenses along the way.
In addition to these reimbursements for expenses, gestational surrogates on average receive at least $30,000 in base compensation. But, if you are considering being a traditional surrogate, you should be prepared to be ineligible for any kind of base compensation.
While there are many women comfortable with this sacrifice, it’s important that you do what is right for you. When you become a traditional surrogate, you waive the right to compensation that you would otherwise receive as a gestational surrogate — money you can use to put a down payment on a house, buy a new car, or pay off your student loans, for example.
When you become a traditional surrogate, the only reward you get from your decision will be the sense of satisfaction that you have created a family where there was none before.
Who Should I Talk to About Traditional Surrogacy Compensation?
The lack of traditional surrogacy compensation is just one of the reasons why many surrogacy professionals today are moving away from this family-building option. You will be hard-pressed to find a surrogacy agency who will guide you through a traditional surrogacy. Instead, you must be ready for the challenges of an independent surrogacy with the assistance of a surrogacy attorney.
Speaking of attorneys, every prospective traditional surrogate should contact one before getting started. That way, you can learn more about the laws in your state. They may impact which surrogacy journey is best for you and your family.
Not sure whether gestational or traditional surrogacy is right for you? That’s OK, too. Contact a surrogacy professional today to learn more.