One of the many decisions facing families considering surrogacy is whether to opt for commercial or unpaid surrogacy.
Some states have laws that prohibit commercial surrogacy. North Carolina permits the intended parents and the surrogate to work together to create a mutually acceptable surrogacy contract, which may include provisions for commercial surrogacy.
Commercial surrogacy, sometimes called compensated surrogacy, is surrogacy in which the surrogate receives payment for the act of surrogacy itself, in addition to her medical costs and living expenses. This extra payment varies widely and is up to the parties involved. Some states prohibit surrogates from earning a “profit” from the act of surrogacy. North Carolina, however, allows and even encourages families to consider commercial surrogacy.
Surrogate mothers, even those who may initially be uncomfortable with commercial surrogacy, often report experiencing feelings of loss or regret. Some surrogates report feeling used or taken advantage of. The extra compensation in a commercial surrogacy is a tangible benefit for the surrogate which may help prevent or combat these feelings: The surrogate does not walk away empty-handed.
Unpaid surrogacy is not truly unpaid. For unpaid, or “altruistic,” surrogacy, the intended parents typically cover the costs of the surrogacy, including any medical expenses and costs of living throughout the pregnancy. In states that allow commercial surrogacy, unpaid surrogacy is most common when the surrogate is a close friend or relative of the intended parents.
The surrogacy process is a deeply personal and emotional experience. It is important that the surrogate and the intended parents work together to create a contract that is agreeable and beneficial to everyone involved.