Compassionate Surrogacy

Definition - What does Compassionate Surrogacy mean?

Compassionate surrogacy is when a woman agrees to become pregnant and deliver a child for another individual or couple without any financial gain. Compassionate surrogacy differs from compensated surrogacy in which the surrogate mother is paid for her services. Individuals or couples who wish to have a child but are unable to carry a pregnancy may seek the assistance of a compassionate surrogate.

Compassionate surrogacy was previously referred to as altruistic surrogacy.

FertilitySmarts explains Compassionate Surrogacy

Because compassionate surrogacy does not involve personal financial gain to the woman carrying the child, many surrogate mothers are known by the intended parents. Family members or friends of an individual or couple who cannot carry a pregnancy themselves may offer to become a surrogate mother. This is known as identified surrogacy because the surrogate mother and the intended parent(s) do not require matching services from a surrogacy professional.

Although compassionate surrogacy doesn't involve financial compensation, reasonable expenses related to the birth including maternity clothes, medical expenses, travel, and time off work are often reimbursed by the intended parent(s).

A surrogate may either be the biological mother of the child (traditional surrogacy) or can be a gestational carrier who carries a child produced by a fertilized egg that is not biologically related to her (gestational surrogacy).

Compassionate surrogacy is the only legal form of surrogacy in some countries outside of the US. In the United Kingdom, Canada, and some other countries, surrogacy is legal but it is illegal to pay a woman to be a surrogate mother. Therefore, in these countries, compassionate surrogacy is the only legal form of surrogacy. In the United States, surrogacy laws vary from state to state. As a result, compassionate surrogacy is legal in all states and commercial surrogacy is legal in some states.

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