If you or a partner are having difficulty conceiving a child due to infertility or other medical issues, you now have choices like adoption and surrogacy to explore.
Surrogacy is when a surrogate carries and gives birth to the child for another couple. The child is biologically related to its legal parents, but a surrogate mother carries their biological child in her womb. A legal contract binds both parties together.
In comparison, adoption is where the adoptive parents take up someone else’s child and bring it up as their own. Someone may be willing to give up their baby due to an unplanned pregnancy or for financial reasons.
Even though both surrogacy and adoption are two similar options, there are a few factors that you must consider before choosing between these two alternatives.
The Cost of Adoption vs Surrogacy
Before considering either of the alternatives, hopeful parents must evaluate both the legal and medical costs of adoption and surrogacy. After all, there are several medical expenses, especially during the surrogacy process. The biological parents have to bear the medical cost of fertility treatment, medical procedures, and surrogate compensation.
If we compare the medical and legal expenses of adoption and surrogacy, surrogacy is definitely heavier on the pocket. Let us compare the costs of both alternatives.
The Cost of Adoption
The cost of adoption can vary from absolutely free to about $60,000, depending on various factors like location and adoption type. If you adopt a child from foster care, then it is absolutely without any cost, as the government usually funds it. However, this process is usually more time-consuming.
Also, it can take a long time to match with the right child per your requirements. The government will ensure that your home is safe for the adoptive child. For this review, you may have to pay a fee of at least $1,500. You should also consider the agency fee if you have connected with the adoption agency in your locality.
If you go for domestic adoption, the process may take as long as twelve months, but the cost will vary between $25,000 and $30,000. Then again, the cost of adoption depends on a lot of factors. For instance, if you have paired up with an adoptive agency, the medical history, adoption home studies, court fees, legal fees, and profile evaluation processes.
Furthermore, international adoption costs much more than any other type of adoption and can cost even more than $50,000. However, these costs vary significantly between which country you adopt from and which agency you consult with. In a private adoption, the birth mother and the adoptive parents meet up directly and negotiate between themselves. In such cases, the adoptive parents might need to consider the birth mother’s medical fees, legal fees, social work costs, and other fees..
The Cost of Surrogacy
With surrogacy, you can opt for either gestational or traditional. In traditional surrogacy, the sperm of the father fertilizes the egg of the surrogate mother. This means the child will be genetically related to the father and the surrogate mother. However, in gestational surrogacy, the surrogate only acts as the carrier of the baby. In this process, both the egg and sperm are from the intended parents or external donors.
The embryo is placed inside the uterus of the surrogate mother. Hence, the child is only biologically related to the intended parents, not the surrogate. Generally, surrogacy costs more than adoption because it involves medical expenses and legal fees. The intended parents also have to pay for surrogate compensation that the surrogate demands in exchange for her effort and time in some states.
To estimate, traditional surrogacy can cost as much as $75,000, but the gestational surrogacy process will cost at least $100,000 in the USA. Furthermore, if you pair up with a surrogate agency, the agency may cost an additional commission fee. This includes legal parentage procedures, surrogate compensations, medical evaluation, psychological screening, and more.
Moreover, the surrogate compensation costs also vary greatly from state to state, but usually about $30,000. However, you may have to pay for other expenses such as insurance costs, traveling costs, missed wages of the surrogate, and other miscellaneous pregnancy expenses that may occur at the moment.
Furthermore, the surrogate has to undergo a medical screening process to carry the child in her womb. Moreover, the medical process requires a thorough medical and psychological evaluation to ensure that the surrogate has no hereditary disease or disorder. Other than that, the intended parents also need to consider the cost of the actual surrogacy process in their budget.
Other Distinguishing Factors
Apart from the cost and expenses of both options, there are a few factors that you can consider before making the final decision. Our team went through hours of painstaking research to help the intended parents decide which option suits them the best. Having a third party involved in your parenthood journey is not to be taken lightly and might raise a few concerns. Read below to find out some other factors to consider.
- Genetically Related
In surrogacy, there is a considerable possibility that either one or both of the intended parents are genetically related to the expected child. The sperm or the egg of the intended parent or both the sperm and egg can be used to form the embryo that is medically placed in the surrogate mother.
If you feel strongly about being biologically related to your child, then surrogacy is the best option for you rather than adoption. Other than that, birth parents do not have to go through a hectic and thorough legal process. Moreover, the law gives more rights and control to the intended parents of the child during pregnancy.
- The Matching and Screening Process
During gestational surrogacy, if you pair up with an agency, the birth parents will have to undergo a thorough screening and watching process to find the perfect surrogate for your family. The intended parents, during the gestational surrogacy process, go through various profiles of surrogates and choose the ideal surrogate.
Furthermore, the adoption agency requires information from the adoptive parents about the criteria and types of adoption they prefer. Moreover, the birth mother or father also has the right to review the profiles of the families who wish to adopt their babies.
However, the surrogacy process is far more personal and interactive because, typically, the intended parents wish to know the prospective birth mother of their child. Both parties match and go through the files, backgrounds, and physical evaluations of each other. Intended parents also go through the medical assessment of the prospective birth mother in order to make sure that she is the right fit for them.
Be it the adoption process or the surrogacy process, it only moves forward once both parties agree and all legal requirements are fulfilled.
- Birth Parents’ Involvement
Generally, adoptive parents may have little or no control over the process, especially if the birth mother is pregnant with the child. They may not be as involved during pregnancy as in surrogacy. However, they can meet and discuss ideas or any problems they face.
Furthermore, the prospective birth mother can change her mind anytime during the process, which can create a lot of stress for the adoptive parents. Till the process is done, there will always be a sense of uncertainty for the adoptive parents about the commitment of birth parents toward adoption.
However, in surrogacy, both parties are deeply involved with each other. Additionally, legal contracts clearly define their relationship and state the expectations both parties have for each other during the pregnancy. Moreover, both parties sign a binding legal before the medical process begins. Without any doubt, the surrogate mother is expected to take complete care of herself and the baby in her womb.
- Different Medical and Legal Processes
Regarding legal and medical processes, surrogacy is far more straightforward than adoption. After all, it is a planned pregnancy that is achieved through proper medical procedures and legal contracts are signed.
The medical aspect might be a little complicated with fertilization and gamete donors, but it’s simpler because all these roles are clearly defined before the pregnancy begins. The entire process costs more than most other alternatives to creating a family. However, most of the legal process is completed before the gestational surrogacy begins, meaning there are very few complications once the process has started.
However, the adoption process has a different set of legal and medical procedures. The medical process is usually the sole responsibility of the birth mother, with little input from the intended parents. If the baby is yet to be born, then most of the legal process takes place after the birth of the biological child. In the legal adoption process, the prospective parents sign a contract where they legally consent to give up their biological child for adoption. After that, the law grants legal custody of the child to the adoptive parents.
- Post Delivery Contact
In both surrogacy and adoption, the intended parents, adoptive families, and biological mother have the freedom to discuss and decide on post-delivery contact. During the surrogacy process, the surrogate and intended parents can decide whether they want to keep in touch or not. It can be as simple as sharing photographs or exchanging emails. Some families wish to stay connected, while others choose not to maintain any contact. So, it is totally up to both parties.
In adoption, the adoptive families must decide whether they wish to stay in touch with the biological mother. Either they can opt for closed adoption or open adoption. In a closed adoption, the adoptive family does not allow the birth mother to remain in contact with the child.
Some adoptive families even choose not to disclose any information to the child about their adoption. However, some families may also go for open adoption. In this case, the birth mothers can stay in touch with the child. The child would not only know about their adoption but may also regularly visit their biological parents.
There are a lot of factors to consider before choosing between adoption and surrogacy. It is difficult to say which one is better, as it differs from family to family. However, intended parents should know that adoption is cheaper than surrogacy in terms of cost. In this article, we have thoroughly discussed the factors one should consider. You should carefully weigh the cost, pros, and cons of surrogacy and adoption before deciding. Good Luck!