Altruistic vs. compensated surrogacy

On Behalf of | May 18, 2022 | Surrogacy

Compassion is a core quality in most women who help families with fertility challenges by becoming a surrogate. But there are two kinds of surrogacy — compensated and altruistic.

Unlike many other nations, the United States allows surrogates to receive reasonable compensation for their effort, but no federal laws are in place defining the process. That’s why it’s essential to seek legal guidance in a surrogacy-friendly state like Minnesota. Let’s explain the differences between the two types.

Altruistic surrogacy

Altruistic surrogates usually do not receive monetary compensation other than reimbursement for actual medical costs and expenses incurred that are directly related to the pregnancy and birth of the child. Most of the time, the surrogate is a relative or a close friend of the parents-to-be, but I have also seen women who have elected to become a surrogate for aspiring parents that they did not previously know without compensation. Even when compensation is not paid, it is essential to put the entire arrangement in writing. This can be a wonderful experience for both the parents and the surrogate, but it is not an option for most families.

Compensated surrogacy

Surrogacies with negotiated compensation packages are also generous and noble acts of kindness regardless of the money earned. Under compensated surrogacy agreements, the intended parents are responsible for all costs that are expressly spelled out in a contract as well as an additional fee for the time, effort, and health risks attendant to the process. The expenses include, among others:

  • Uninsured medical costs
  • Legal fees and expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Life insurance premiums
  • Necessary estate planning
  • Any desired and necessary counselling
  • Child care
  • Travel expenses
  • Maternity clothing
  • Prenatal vitamins

Average compensation over and above expenses in Minnesota typically runs between $30,000 and $40,000, depending upon the unique circumstances of the surrogate and her individual personal motivational balance between altruism and financial benefit.  It is axiomatic that virtually all professionals who work in surrogacy believe that those who are best suited for the process are far more motivated by altruism than money. The higher the fee a surrogate requests, the fewer intended parents can afford this already burdensomely expensive and complicated process. It is sad to think that some aspiring can be priced our of their only viable means of having a family, but it is true.

Cover your legal bases concerning surrogacy

Whether you consider becoming a surrogate or hope to grow your family through gestational surrogacy, a number of factors can complicate the process. Only a minority of states have laws explicitly allowing compensated and uncompensated surrogacy agreements.

Others, like Minnesota, without state laws in place, are considered surrogacy-friendly based on favorable parentage laws and/or court decisions. That is why it’s essential to work with an assisted reproduction lawyer to navigate the legal process, regardless of whether you seek an altruistic or compensated surrogate agreement.