Surrogacy vs Adoption: What Choice Is Best For You?
The day a person or couple gets the word that they can’t be biological parents is always a trying day and understandably so. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the end of the dream to one day be a parent or parents. What’s the saying, “when one door closes, another door opens?”
When faced with this problem and after deciding to still go forward towards parenthood, the are two options to which prospective parents might have access, depending on their circumstances. Those two options require a comparison of surrogacy vs adoption.
What are Surrogacy and Adoption?
Before we can make any meaningful comparison of surrogacy vs adoption, we feel it’s prudent to make sure you understand what each option entails. You will need this understanding when you start thinking about going with surrogacy or how to adopt.
Surrogacy is a legal arrangement whereby a woman (the surrogate) agrees to go through pregnancy with the obligation to do so for the parental benefit of an intended parent or parents. In the case of a gestational surrogacy process, the surrogate mother goes through in vitro implantation with the sperm and egg cells being provided by one or both of the intended parents and or a donor or donors. In the case of a traditional surrogacy process, the surrogate’s egg cell is used with the sperm coming from the intended father or a donor. That leaves the surrogate with a biological connection to the child. In most cases, there is a fee paid to the surrogate mother.
Adoption is also a legal arrangement. However, the adoption process targets children that have either already been born or at the least have already been conceived. The process is generally initiated by the biological mother or parents who wish to give the child up (for personal reasons) or have passed away. In the case of the adoption process, the intended parents will have no biological connection to the child but will agree to permanently assume all parenting obligations.
The Comparison Between Surrogacy vs Adoption
To determine which of these options would be best for you and your family, there are several areas that warrant your consideration. These areas include:
- Legal differences
- Process Differences
- Screening Differences
- Costs and Compensation
Let’s take a closer look at these difference.
In both surrogacy and adoption, the legal process differs. It starts with the fact each state has very detailed adoption laws while the laws or rules related to surrogacy tend to be less restrictive.
With surrogacy, a written agreement is made between the surrogate and the intended parents before pregnancy is initiated. The terms of the agreement generally focus most on the rules for the surrogate how much do surrogates get paid and for what. The agreement might also detail the rules governing future relationships between all parties after the birth of the child.
In the adoption process, there are two separate legal procedures and associated documentation. The first legal procedure targets the removal of parental rights from the biological parents. The second legal procedure targets the actual adoption of the child by the new parent or parents.
Note: Once a surrogacy agreement is signed, there is no going back on the part of either party. With adoption, the biological mother has the right to stop the adoption until she legally executes the final consent document after birth.
As indicated above, surrogacy starts with a written agreement between the surrogate mother and intended parents. As part of the process, the surrogate mother will receive some form of compensation, which usually includes a surrogacy fee and expense reimbursements/fees related to the pregnancy and delivery.
With adoption, the process starts with the pregnancy and the desire of the biological mother or parents to not raise the child on their own. If the mother is pregnant, the adopting parents might offer some financial assistance. Otherwise, the biological mother or parents bear the cost of the pregnancy.
With surrogacy, it’s the intended parents that start the process. As long as they are pursuing this option with the best of intentions, the only screening they have to endure is financial screening to ensure they have the financial resources to cover the surrogacy process.
It’s the surrogate that must go through intensive screening. The screening process will include a medical screening, psychological screening, a background check, and criteria screening to address issues like:
- Age limits (21 to 40)
- Confirmation of a prior pregnancy with a successful delivery and no complications
- Home stability
- Acceptability screening by the intended parents
As part of how to adopt, the entire screening process is directed towards the adoptive parent or parents. The biological mother might be asked to disclose substance abuse information and possibly family medical history information.
The adoptive parents will need to go through rigorous screening to ensure they will be suitable parents. Much of this screening will focus on background issues and financial stability. Also, the biological mother might get an opportunity to screen for parent suitability.
Costs and Compensation
When it comes to adoption vs surrogacy cost, there are both similarities and differences. The similarities of adoption vs surrogacy cost include the need to pay an agency fee and perhaps legal fees associated with drawing up contracts and agreements. There might also be similarities tied to expense reimbursements, though that is usually restricted to medical expenses on the adoption side.
How much does a surrogate cost? While it’s illegal in most if not all states for biological parents to “get paid” for adoption, surrogates can be compensated with a base fee. At our clinic that fee could range from $35K to $40K, depending on whether or not it’s the surrogate’s first surrogacy agreement. They also get reimbursements and fees for
- Maternity clothes
- General monthly allowance
- Medical and life insurance coverage during pregnancy
- Reimbursement of travels costs and lost wages for scheduled appointments
- Special fees related to the in vitro implanting process and extra medical procedures
All told, the surrogacy route could end up costing the intended parents up to $65K, which includes an agency fee (ours is $21K).
As the prospective parent, it’s up to you to decide which of these options will best suit your wants/needs/circumstances.
If you want a biological connection to the child, surrogacy would be the only option. While it’s more costly, there is a very high level of certainty that you would get the child you want so much.
When considering how to adopt, there are uncertainties. First, you might have to wait on a list for months/years for an available child. Second, the certainty of getting a designated child is always at risk as long as the biological mother can change her mind. Finally, you might have to accept the desire of the biological mother to want future contact with the baby and or family.
Our recommendation is this. This will be the most important decision you will ever make in your lifetime. Make the decision carefully and with as much forethought as possible.