Surrogacy vs. Adoption — What’s Best For My Family?

By Haley Longman

If you’re a prospective parent trying to grow your family, you’ve undeniably asked yourself if surrogacy or adoption is a better option for you. Both surrogacy and adoption are unique, rewarding journeys to having a child—they’re both long processes that are worth the wait in the end—but each comes with its own advantages and challenges.

Ultimately, when thinking about surrogacy vs. adoption, it’s important to weigh the options and figure out what your goals are in building your family. For instance, do you want a child that is genetically related to you? Do you have budgetary restrictions?
Below, Reproductive Possibilities gives you an honest pros and cons list of surrogacy vs. adoption to help you determine what might work best for your situation emotionally and financially.

The Pros of Surrogacy

What are the benefits of surrogacy? If intended parents choose to work with a surrogate, some of the advantages include:

  • Genetic ties to the child: One of the biggest incentives in going the surrogacy route is many prospective parents want a child who is biologically theirs. Having a baby via gestational carrier means the baby (or babies) will be conceived via IVF with the egg, sperm or both egg and sperm from the intended parents.
  • A mutual matching process: Agencies like Reproductive Possibilities work hard during the surrogate screening process to ensure the intended parents/surrogate match is a mutual fit—the IPs and the Gestational Carrier (GC) essentially choose each other, rather than the matching process being one-sided. Background checks, medical evaluations, and other in-depth screenings ensure both the IPs and the GC are happy with the pairing and that you share the same plans and goals.
  • As much as involvement as you’d likeIntended parents are involved with the surrogate’s pregnancy throughout the entire process—from even before conception until birth. This helps you feel like you’re part of the pregnancy, and also ensures that your carrier is getting the proper prenatal care and medical attention she needs to keep herself and the baby healthy. Plus, in many instances, a surrogate’s and intended parents’ relationship extends well beyond their surrogacy journey.
  • A clear legal contract that is written and signed before birth. With surrogacy, there is no question about who the baby’s parents are: at RP, a surrogacy contract is written up before the embryo transfer which explicitly outlines each party’s role.

The Cons of Surrogacy

However, we won’t lie—there are some challenges to surrogacy as well, which include:

  • The cost of surrogacy: The cost of surrogacy is undoubtedly the biggest obstacle in choosing this path to parenthood. In addition to legal expenses, a base compensation, and prenatal medical costs for the carrier, surrogacy yields additional fees such as those for fertility medication and treatments, egg and/or sperm donations, IVFs transfers, surrogacy insurance, and more. However, working with an agency such as RP can help you make sense of these costs and help mitigate them wherever possible.

The legal process can be complicated. Surrogacy laws vary by state, but in all surrogacy pregnancies, a contract is signed before the embryo transfer to establish the intended parents as the legal parents. However, between the medical treatments and the surrogacy laws, it can be confusing. That’s why it’s imperative to work with both an experienced reproductive lawyerand a surrogacy agency such as RP, who are well-equipped to help you navigate the legal aspects of surrogacy.

The Pros of Adoption

Some of the advantages of domestic adoption of a newborn baby (which typically happens through an adoption agency) are:

  • The cost is more manageable. It’s not inexpensive by any means, but when compared to surrogacy, adoption is the more affordable option—a typical agency adoption in the United States costs about $20,000-$45,000 total, which includes agency fees, medical expenses, and the home study. Additionally, adoptive parents can get a tax credit for adopting a child, may get adoption employer benefits, and have the option to apply for an adoption grant through non-profits such as HelpusAdopt.org.
  • Adoptive parents can give a child a better life. Many birth parents decide to place their baby for adoption to give them a life of opportunity that they cannot provide, and there is a sense of pride and joy in being entrusted to do that for your adopted child. In turn, by adopting you are also helping a birth mother toward a brighter future.

You can establish a beautiful, life-long relationship. Should the birth parents opt for an open adoption—which means they will be involved in the child’s life after the birth and/or have direct contact with you and the child in some capacity—you will have an unbreakable bond with the individual(s) who completed your family. Better yet, your child will one day know where he or she comes from and will be able to hear his or her adoption story straight from the birth parents.

The Cons of Adoption

These are some challenges to consider before contemplating adoption, such as:

  • Birth parents must “choose” you. Unlike with surrogacy, the matching process is more one-sided with adoption—the birth parents have the upper hand and ultimately choose to place their child with the couple or family who they think is best suited to be the baby’s parents.
  • Birth parents can change their mind. In adoption, legal contracts and parental rights aren’t signed over until after the baby is born, which means the adoption could fall through at any moment. This is an emotional and unavoidable aspect to adoption that prospective adoptive parents must be prepared for.

Birth parents could opt for a closed adoption. While not as common as they once were, closed adoption is always an option, which means the birth parent(s) chooses not to be involved in the child’s and adoptive parents’ lives now or in the future. This gives the birth parents emotional closure, but can be difficult for an adoptive parent should you want to maintain that relationship and/or should your child want to track down their lineage as they get older.

Should I choose surrogacy or adoption?

Starting or building your family via surrogacy or adoption is a personal decision that is unique to each family. But no matter which road to parenthood you take and how long it takes you to get there, remember that the end result is a child. Trust us—it will all be worth it in the end!
If you’re interested in finding out about the surrogacy process or want to learn more about RP, give us a call at (201) 505-0078, fill out our Contact Us form and follow Reproductive Possibilities on social media: we’re on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest.

Haley Longman is a New Jersey-based writer and editor who spent the bulk of her career writing about entertainment, celebrities and reality TV. She has been creating a wider range of lifestyle content since becoming a mom in 2017, from health and interior design to her favorite topics: fertility, pregnancy and parenting.

Haley’s work has been featured on MTV.com, POPSUGAR, Kveller, CafeMom and SheKnows, among others. Professional highlights include appearing on an episode of MTV’s ‘Teen Mom’ and that one time Justin Bieber tweeted out her story about him.