Adoption vs. Surrogacy: Weighing the Options
About 2,000 children are typically in New Jersey’s foster care system waiting to be adopted, and the number of surrogacy cases is also skyrocketing. In fact, demand for surrogates is currently outstripping the supply in some areas. However, deciding which alternative family expansion route is right for you can be challenging.
Biological connections are sacred to some people. If you’ve always dreamed of having kids with your smile or your partner’s eyes or a laugh like your great aunt Shirley, surrogacy is likely the best choice. This can be tough to admit, but it’s important to be as honest with yourself as possible. After all, if you cannot fully accept a child that doesn’t share a biological link, adoption isn’t a fair or wise choice. Your disappointment may manifest in implicit ways and have a negative psychological impact on the adopted child.
Many couples deciding between adoption and surrogacy often worry that it will be more difficult to “bond” with newborns that don’t share their DNA. This is not the case. Love is love, and the moment adoptive parents clap eyes on their new bundles of joy, the same affectionate feelings and protective instincts kick in, just like biological parents.
No matter how it happens, having a baby is expensive. Adopting through a public service can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $15,000, depending on the program and whether or not you choose to use a New Jersey adoption attorney. Private adoptions may cost between $40,000 and $50,000.
Surrogacy is the most expensive option. It usually sets donors back between $75,000 and $150,000 because they’re expected to pay for surrogates’ related medical expenses in addition to compensation for carrying the children. In some situations, couples also pay surrogate living expenses.
When considering your budget, don’t forget to factor in the expense of having a newborn baby and the related equipment. The average middle-class family spends between $20,000 and $50,000 on newborns in their first year of life.
Another dynamic to consider when choosing between surrogacy and adoption is the type of relationship that you want to have with the birth partner. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want to know the birthing parent or partner?
- Would you be comfortable maintaining a relationship with the birthing parent after the baby is born?
- Would you be comfortable with your child having a relationship with a biological parent down the road?
- Do you want a relationship with the birth partner during pregnancy?
- How are you planning to discuss your decision with your family, friends, and, eventually, the child?
If you choose to go the adoption route, you may or may not be given information about the biological parents. In days of old, most adoptions were closed, meaning that the birth parents’ identities were never revealed. These days, however, the overwhelming majority of adoptions are open, and birth parents maintain some level of contact with the adoptive parents. Sometimes, the biological parents simply get pictures and updates once a year but never meet the children. Other agreements give the birth parents visitation rights after an adjustment period, which usually lasts several years, so the family has time to bond.
With surrogacy, the relationship typically ends with the gestational carrier after the child is born. Moreover, donor parents usually have a say in certain aspects of the pregnancy. Typical agreements include prohibitions against smoking, drugs, and drinking. Some even include healthy eating guidelines.
Some surrogates, however, are people who are close to the adopting couple, like a sister or close friend. In this case, the surrogate is almost always in the baby’s life as a type of aunt figure who becomes a close part of the baby’s life.
Couples deciding between adoption and surrogacy may benefit from a consultation with New Jersey adoption attorney Donald Cofsky of Cofsky & Zeidman. If you have questions about surrogacy or adoption, contact our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005 or our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.