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What are the different types of surrogacy?

You may not know that there are several types of surrogacy, so we strive to provide accurate information from the start of your surrogacy journey.

types of surrogacy


Types of Surrogacy to choose from

One of our initial priorities at SurrogateFirst is educating surrogates and intended parents on the different types of surrogacy available through our agency.

The main confusion about surrogacy stems from the fact that the specific type falls along two primary dimensions: traditional versus gestational and compensated versus altruistic.

Understanding the pros and cons of each is vital to making an informed decision because it could significantly affect your decision on which type is best for your future family.

At SurrogateFirst, we know first-hand how hard it can be to choose, so here is a quick breakdown of what types of surrogacy you can expect.

Traditional Surrogacy

First, traditional agreements are what most people think of when it comes to surrogacy. It’s a fairly routine process these days to do a conventional surrogacy, although it’s still medically complex and requires the care of a licensed reproductive endocrinologist to succeed.

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate receives a procedure called intrauterine insemination. Essentially, the process involves impregnating the surrogate with the intended father’s donated sperm.

This form of surrogacy was the dominant type until about 30 years ago, when gestational surrogacy showed a higher success rate.

Typically, the remainder of the pregnancy proceeds as usual but with added care and attention from an agency like SurrogateFirst to see it through to the end.

Gestational Surrogacy

Besides traditional surrogacy, gestational surrogacy is a more modern alternative and is becoming more popular each year.

When you opt for gestational surrogacy, the surrogate acts more like a vessel to carry the child to term. She doesn’t use her own ovum during a gestational surrogacy; the embryo is fertilized and then implanted via in vitro fertilization.

That means the child won’t have any of the surrogate’s genetic profile, the exact opposite of traditional surrogacy. There are many reasons why gestational surrogacy works so well, but the main takeaway is that medical device technology has evolved to new heights and enables new techniques. 

Also, gestational surrogacy entails a lengthy screening process to find out whether or not the surrogate is healthy enough physically – and mentally – to have a successful pregnancy. At SurrogateFirst, the most successful cases we’ve seen are the result of this rigorous screening process.

Although this type of surrogacy is more expensive, it typically ends with a higher success rate than traditional surrogacy, making it an attractive option if you want to increase your chances from the very beginning.

Compensated Surrogacy 

That said, we’ll move on to the financial dimensions, which are compensated surrogacy and altruistic surrogacy. The good news is that the difference is easy to understand. 

Compensated surrogacy is reasonably straightforward; it involves paying for the surrogate’s medical care during the pregnancy, lost wages, and her base compensation for agreeing to the arrangement.

The vast majority of the time, a compensated surrogacy involves a detailed contract that specifies everything from custody and parentage to health care services after the surrogate gives birth to the child. Today, some surrogacy contracts include stipulations that the surrogate will continue to receive health care for a specified duration after giving birth.

That’s compensated surrogacy in a nutshell, but altruistic surrogacy is an entirely different dimension altogether. 

Altruistic Surrogacy

Altruistic surrogacy is when the surrogate agrees to carry a child to term without monetary compensation. It’s actually a more common scenario than you might think. Some of our clients already come to us with an altruistic surrogate in mind, usually a relative or a close friend but not always.

This type of surrogacy is extraordinary, and we’ve seen some of the most successful surrogacies end without the surrogate receiving any financial compensation whatsoever. It’s literally something she does out of the kindness and generosity of her heart. It’s an absolute delight to see when it works out between surrogates and intended parents.

What is the most common type of surrogacy today?

Since you can categorize surrogacies based on medical procedures and financial compensation, it’s possible to arrange a traditional altruistic surrogacy or a compensated traditional surrogacy. 

Likewise, the same school of thought applies to gestational surrogacy too. You can choose a compensated gestational surrogate, or you can try to find an altruistic gestational surrogate.

But generally speaking, the most popular types of surrogacy these days are the compensated gestational variety.

Are there surrogacy laws that only apply to certain types of surrogacy?

Interestingly, gestational surrogacy isn’t legal in all 50 states. Paternity statutes vary widely state-by-state, so that’s also what we help with at SurrogateFirst, knowing which laws in your home state apply to you.

For instance, it’s a criminal offense to arrange a compensated surrogacy in the state of Louisiana, but in New York, you can readily sign off on surrogacy contracts. Other states that don’t allow compensated gestational surrogacy are Michigan and Nebraska.

So, where do you go to find out which laws apply to your state? At SurrogateFirst, we can provide you with trustworthy, accurate information on the different types of surrogacy we arrange.

Contact us to learn more about which type of surrogacy works best for you!

About SurrogateFirst

At SurrogateFirst, we’re a boutique surrogate agency specializing in quickly matching intended parents around the world with our fully-vetted, exceptional surrogates.

We help individuals and couples, regardless of race or sexual orientation, build their families through the miracle of surrogacy.

Every team member at SurrogateFirst is either a former intended parent or an experienced surrogate herself. We also have first-hand knowledge of what it takes to have an incredible, successful surrogate journey.

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