A surrogacy journey takes a big heart and indescribable selflessness. Some surrogates are willing to embark on a surrogacy journey for very low compensation or without compensation at all in order to help make the surrogacy process more affordable – this is known as altruistic surrogacy. Such an act of compassion helps to improve the access to surrogacy for intended parents on a modest budget by having them pay only medical expenses and related costs. Still, this may not be the best option for everyone or something they wish to pursue.
Some may ask, “What is altruistic surrogacy?” The term “altruism” really describes all surrogates’ reasons for doing surrogacy. Their desire to help others build families prevails. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, altruism is defined as being “motivated by the desire to benefit someone other than oneself for that person’s sake.”
This characteristic inspires countless surrogates to support the growth of new families, which forms the foundation of all types of surrogacy, whether it’s compensated or not. The main reason why a prospective surrogate might choose altruistic versus commercial surrogacy is their financial situation.
The literal meaning of altruistic surrogacy is defined by the absence of compensation. Because compensation for commercial surrogacy is very generous, altruistic surrogacy is also called “compassionate surrogacy”. The term, though, could arguably be applied to both altruistic and commercial options.
How Does Altruistic Surrogacy Work?
Unlike the commercial alternative, altruistic surrogacy does not come with a full compensation package and often eliminates the base compensation fee for the surrogate. Instead, the surrogate mainly receives reimbursements only for medical and pregnancy-related costs in addition to lost wage reimbursement for the time off of work due to medical appointments throughout the process.
Apart from that, other financial elements may vary. That may be due to various state laws (such as states that prohibit a surrogate from getting compensation or state laws that specify what can be reimbursed) or what’s agreed upon in the altruistic gestational surrogacy carrier contract between intended parents and surrogate.
Compensation aside, when working with an agency like IARC the surrogacy journey looks like this:
- Research surrogacy to confirm it’s right for you
- Complete the initial screening
- Match with intended parents and discuss legal requirements
- Complete medical screening at fertility clinic
- Complete embryo transfer
- Have a successful pregnancy
- Delivery and post-birth procedures
Whether or not you receive a compensation package, if you go through an agency, the agency you work with should provide substantial support for you each step of the way. This will ensure that you have the safest, most fulfilling surrogate journey possible. That’s because, whether you are compensated or not, you are making an immense commitment to help build a family. An agency’s primary responsibility is to ensure that commitment is protected and sustained with the utmost care.
Altruistic vs Commercial Surrogacy: What’s the Difference?
Compensation is the key difference between altruistic and commercial surrogacy. The commercial surrogacy definition is “any arrangement in which the woman is compensated for her services beyond reimbursement for her medical expenses.” Such compensation can include the main surrogate fee, embryo transfer fee, clothing allowance, reimbursement for lost wages, and various other payments throughout the surrogacy journey. There are numerous other factors that determine overall compensation.
Despite the connotation of the word “altruism,” the presence or lack of compensation does not make one option better than the other. Both kinds of surrogacy take a huge heart and remarkable selflessness.
The reasons some surrogates may choose to do an altruistic surrogacy doesn’t mean that altruistic is necessarily the best way to do surrogacy. In each case, both with or without compensation, the surrogate is providing a gift that the intended parents will cherish forever. Surrogacy is very altruistic in nature, and it is reasonable to request compensation for the time and sacrifice you and your family go through in order to help build a family for others.
Your preference for one kind of surrogacy over another is just one of many factors to consider when deciding to become a surrogate. You should do what will make you feel supported in this process, no matter if this is a compensated surrogacy or not.
With IARC, the most common reasons women choose to work with us regardless of the amount of compensation they receive:
- We are with you from the very first phone call until long after birth. Once an IARC Surrogate, always an IARC Surrogate! You become family to us.
- You have an entire community of other surrogates supporting you, and we have surrogates on staff.
- We arrange all travel details (including accommodations)
- We arrange and facilitate payment for the medical screening appointment as well as the monitoring appointments (labwork/ultrasounds) that occur just before and after embryo transfer.
- We support both the surrogate and the intended parents throughout the process, and your Program Coordinator ensures a smooth journey from contracts to pregnancy to the birth and beyond.
Become a Surrogate With IARC and Change Lives
Surrogacy is altruistic by nature. Whether you accept compensation or not, you can help change lives as a surrogate and help build a family and make dreams come true.
Although altruistic surrogacy can improve accessibility for some intended parents, it may not be for everyone. Are you wondering if surrogacy is right for you? Look through IARC’s compensation package and our proven process. If you have any questions, reach out to the team of experts at IARC. We are always happy to answer your questions whether you decide to ultimately work with us or not.