What Is the Difference Between Adoption and Surrogacy?
What to Know When Choosing Between Adoption and Surrogacy
Each year in the United States, about 135,000 children are adopted. Excluding step-parent adoptions, about 59% of adoptions are from the foster care system. Surrogacy is another way to add to your family, and each year, about 18,000 babies are born through this method.
Some families choose surrogacy because of genetics. If one or both parents have a strong desire for their genetics to be passed on through a biological child, surrogacy provides this option. Prospective parents can have their eggs and sperm tested in order to find out whether or not their child will be affected by a genetic condition, such as Down syndrome. Eggs and sperm can be selected based on these criteria, and then, the fertilized egg can be implanted into the surrogate. With adoption, a mother may not be sure of who fathered her child. Even when the father is certain, natural pregnancy means that a child could have a genetic disorder through chance.
Types of Surrogacy and Adoption
With surrogacy, a woman can donate her eggs, and a man can donate his sperm. In a heterosexual couple, both of them can be the biological parents, and the surrogate is a gestational carrier. There’s also an option for the surrogate to be artificially inseminated by the male’s sperm. Alternatively, a sperm donor can be used for fertilizing the woman’s egg before it’s implanted into the surrogate mother. With adoption, the process can be open or closed, so you may or may not know the child’s parentage.
Both adoption and surrogacy can be expensive. Surrogacy tends to be the costlier of the two choices. In most cases, the biological parents will enter into a legal agreement to pay for the surrogate’s prenatal care, labor and delivery costs, postpartum costs and pregnancy-related expenses, such as the purchase of maternity clothing. Surrogates also typically receive a base payment in addition to the pregnancy, labor and delivery-related expenses.
In many cases, adoption agencies or agents will charge a fee for their services, as will an attorney. Prospective parents may also need to pay fees for social workers, home inspectors and psychological evaluations of their fitness to become adoptive parents. A New Jersey adoption attorney can help you understand the costs of both surrogacy and adoption.
Surrogacy provides prospective parents with more control over the growth of their family. Although there is no guarantee that implantation of the fertilized egg will lead to a full-term pregnancy and birth of a child, the prospective parents can choose the hospital where the baby will be born, and they know they will be taking the baby home once the child is discharged by the doctor.
With adoption, prospective parents have less control. An adoptive mother can change her mind at any time. She may not go to prenatal care appointments. If she’s not invested in the pregnancy, she may not follow medical guidelines for taking care of herself or her growing child.
The adoption process may take years. Prospective parents may find a biological mother or be matched to a mother only to have her change her mind once the baby is born, and the whole process must start over again. Prospective parents may not be selected by the biological mother for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the biological father may initiate court proceedings to obtain custody of the child, and the hopeful adoptive parents have no recourse.
With surrogacy, once the surrogate signs the legal paperwork, the process of implanting a fertilized egg may start. Once the surrogate is determined to be pregnant, the prospective parents will have a clear timeline as to when the baby will be born.
For more information, contact our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005. You may also fill out our online contact form, and one of our office associates will reach out to you to schedule a consultation with our New Jersey adoption attorney.