Compassionate Surrogacy vs Compensated Surrogacy

woman holding a heart icon over her pregnant belly

There are many different types of surrogacy, but two of the most common are compassionate carry and compensated matching. Though the two are both quite popular, they're actually vastly different. The main way the two surrogacy approaches differ from one another is with compensation. In this blog, we'll go over what compassionate surrogacy and compensated surrogacy are, some pros and cons of each, and provide some deeper insight on how to get started with surrogacy in general.

Let's start with the basics.

doctor holding stethoscope on pregnant woman's belly

What is compassionate surrogacy?

Compassionate surrogacy, also known as compassionate carry, is when a friend or family member of an intended parent volunteers to carry a pregnancy without monetary compensation. In other words, compassionate surrogacy is a type of surrogacy that, in technical terms, is uncompensated- but in fact, has many pros that some may even call compensation in a non-monetary form. We'll go over some of the benefits of compassionate surrogacy later in this article.

What is compensated surrogacy?

On the contrary, compensated surrogacy is a type of surrogacy in which the surrogate receives full monetary compensation for their services. This is generally done through surrogate agencies, and can be an optimal choice for those who may not know or want someone they know to carry their baby. The choice is ultimately up to the intended parent, but there is no right or wrong choice for choosing compensated vs compassionate surrogacy, as long as there is consent from all parties involved.

parent and child holding hands

What are the pros of compassionate surrogacy?

Though uncompensated by definition, there are many non-monetary benefits that come along with compassionate carry. Here are a few reasons one may favor compassionate surrogacy when choosing their preferred surrogacy method.

Knowing and trusting your surrogate

When a surrogate is chosen from a friend or family member, there's an initial level of comfort there that's not found through traditional compensated surrogacy. With compassionate surrogacy, a more personal connection is there from the start between the surrogate and intended parent, bringing warmth and trust to the entire journey.

A stronger friendship building

As mentioned above, knowing and trusting your surrogate really lays the foundation for a stronger companionship throughout the pregnancy and beyond. Those who choose compassionate carry may find that through the surrogacy process, they grow exponentially closer with their surrogate, to the point where some end up deciding that the surrogate be a part of their baby's life!

Having support from friends and family

Another benefit to choosing compassionate carry is having the support of mutual friends and family when you're in need. Of course, with compensated surrogacy, surrogates and intended parents are able to find support from their own individual networks, but with compassionate surrogacy, that support network is often strengthened due to the initial mutual connection.

Knowing the carrier’s family and having a history together

In many cases, if a surrogate is chosen from a friend or family member, there's often been a long history of connections and experiences that have helped to form a more solid friendship over time. This makes it easier to understand one another on a deeper level throughout the surrogacy process, clearly communicate with honesty, and lead to lasting success stories.

Not having to wait months to a year to get matched

In compensated surrogacy, there is a timeline of waiting for a surrogate match to be made. Compassionate surrogacy tends to be much faster of a process overall, as surrogates and intended parents are already matched with each other from the get-go.

pregnant woman holding belly

What are the cons of compassionate surrogacy?

Now that we've covered the pros of compassionate surrogacy, it's important to note that it's not always promised smooth sailing. There are of course also some potential pitfalls to compassionate surrogacy. Here are a few to consider.

Personal issues may arise

Unlike compensated surrogacy, in compassionate surrogacy when issues arise, they can feel heavier or more personal due to that initial deeper connection. If something goes wrong during the pregnancy, it might cause problems in the friendship or with other family members- even if it is unintentional.

Trouble setting (and sticking to) boundaries

Many intended parents may feel pressured or obligated after the baby is born to include the surrogate in the baby's life more than they are truly comfortable with. Sometimes boundaries are set at the beginning of compassionate surrogacy, but not everyone is comfortable with speaking up or addressing concerns to avoid hurting feelings. The reality is, though boundaries may be uncomfortable to discuss, if they are not clearly laid out from the start, there leaves lots of room for lines to be crossed. This can cause miscommunication, strain, or even resentment in a relationship that could have remained strong.

Lack of non-biased support

When people choose to go the route of compassionate carry, the thought of having a strong support group with their shared inner circle is quite appealing. The reality that we see often in these situations, is that an external non-biased support group is truly necessary. Sometimes, it can be difficult for surrogates and intended parents to communicate how they are feeling throughout the journey when the ones they're communicating with may be close to both parties. That's why it's especially important in compassionate surrogacy that both surrogates and intended parents have a support group separate from their shared relationships.

No matching organization

Having the guidance of a matching organization to help intended parents and surrogates prepare for their surrogacy journey, and guide them through the many steps and hurdles of the process is extremely beneficial for those new to surrogacy. Without a matching organization, the overall process may feel less clear or structured.

What reimbursements are included in compassionate surrogacy?

Though there is no actual compensation rate, like there is in matched surrogacy through an organization, there may be reimbursements included in compassionate surrogacy for the following.

Lost wages, some health insurance payments

Reimbursements for lost wages and health insurance payments for co-pays and deductibles are often included in compassionate surrogacy. This can help to offset some of the larger up-front costs associated with the surrogacy journey.

Travel expenses

Travel expenses are often an overlooked cost associated with surrogacy. Travel expenses in surrogacy refer to traveling to and from all mandatory appointments and in-person meetings. The costs can add up over the process, however, in compassionate surrogacy, many of these costs can be reimbursed. This includes travel expenses for both the surrogate and intended parents.

Maternity clothes

It's common knowledge that when you become pregnant, the need to purchase new clothes to accommodate your growing body is essential. What's less commonly known, is that if you are a surrogate going through the compassionate surrogacy process, you'll likely be able to get reimbursed for the maternity clothes you purchase.

Any expenses directly related to the pregnancy

When someone is going through the process of compassionate surrogacy, they are also able to get reimbursed for other expenses related directly to pregnancy. Some examples of this can range anywhere from small costs like maternity vitamins, to larger payments such as ultrasound appointments.

pregnant woman holding flowers

I'm interested in compassionate surrogacy. Now what?

If you are interested in compassionate surrogacy, you're in the right place. Vermont Surrogacy Network offers a Compassionate Carry program to provide support to couples who visit us with their own carrier- whether it's a friend, family member, or someone they met on their own.

The Compassionate Carry program at Vermont Surrogacy Network offers two options for surrogate parents who want to carry a child. The first is a short-term plan beginning at sign-on through the first trimester, and the second is a long-term policy that covers birth until six months post-delivery.

At Vermont Surrogacy Network, intended parents who use Compassionate Carry programs receive the same level of attention and support at a significantly lower price than traditional surrogacy. Starting at $7,000 for short-term and $10,000 for long-term, all intended parents and surrogates receive the same support as they would at a matching agency- without needing to work with a stranger or wait for 6-12 months to complete the matching process.

Learn more about surrogacy

We hope this gave you a good overview of the differences between compassionate and compensated surrogacy. If you have any further questions about surrogacy, are interested in becoming a surrogate mother, or are looking to grow your own family through surrogacy- please don't hesitate to reach out to us today. We look forward to hearing from you!