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    What is altruistic surrogacy and How does altruistic surrogacy work?

    • 4.5   (1 Votes)
    Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MS, MBBS on 27 Apr 2019 - Written by Dr. Garima Sawhney - MS, MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MS, MBBS

    Altruistic surrogacy is akin to commercial surrogacy except that there is a closely related surrogate and no monetary compensation for the surrogate is involved. Facts in this article covers about Altruistic Surrogacy - what it takes for it to be a success, its benefit against commercial surrogacy, pros and cons, and cost of altruistic surrogacy.

    Surrogacy is a major resort for the couples combating infertility for a long time. Surrogacy treatment usually comes as the last option for conceiving a baby after rest of the other ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) fail or cannot be opted at all due to certain health conditions related to reproductive tract of women. Altruistic surrogacyis one of the different types of surrogacy arrangements like commercial surrogacy with the only highlighted difference in the type of surrogate. Unlike commercial surrogacy where a surrogate mother is selected using an agency with a dedicated monetary compensation for the surrogate, altruistic surrogacy has a surrogate who is closely related to the intended parents. She gets ready to carry the child with no monetary gains hence her motive behind the act is purely selfless. Let’s learn more in detail as to what altruistic surrogacy is about, what its significance in today’s world is and how it is carried out.

    In this article, we will look at:

    Explaining Altruistic Surrogacy

    The other meaning for Altruism is selfless regard or devotion for the welfare of others around you. This is a quality that mostly every surrogate possesses for the very reason that she has to make emotional sacrifice that is the prime need of surrogacy. As commonly put by surrogacy supporters, all surrogacy cases are altruistic in nature that can add to the difficulty of defining altruistic surrogacy altogether. The term Altruistic Surrogacy only applies to provisions where the surrogate doesn’t get monetary compensation in return to her services apart from reimbursement of medical bills and other valid pregnancy-related expenses. (1)

    Altruistic surrogacy is carried out mostly between family members or close friends. Such surrogacy is done as completed surrogacy. However, commercial surrogacy is an alternative to this kind of arrangement where a surrogate is justly compensated for her complete involvement in the baby making process, her energy and time that she spends throughout the full-term pregnancy along with the emotional and physical challenges that comes her way during pregnancy. It is important to be noted that commercial surrogacy is not permitted in many countries of the world with altruistic surrogacy as the only option in some. (2)


    What Happens During Altruistic Surrogacy?

    The process for surrogacy remains same in case of altruistic surrogacy just as in the case of commercial surrogacy. However, in case of the former one, most of the surrogate mothersknow the intended parents as they are someone from their family or close friends. For the incredible amount of selflessness that goes into the process, many women who offer their gestational services voluntarily to the intended parents can be a sibling, cousin, or any other close relative. (3)

    Altruistic surrogacy is also known as an “identified surrogacy” as a surrogate and intended parents know each other beforehand and do not need a surrogacy professional to find a surrogate for a match. (4) This kind of arrangement is quite helpful in keeping the parents and the surrogate mother ahead thereby eliminating the requirement of an agency’s services to arrange for a surrogate. Despite the convenience that altruistic surrogacy brings in, it is advisable that intended parents and surrogate mother should work in close coordination with a surrogacy professional for the rest of the process so as to ensure proper completion of all the legal and medical steps and formalities. Except for the type of surrogate mother, rest of the other procedures like IVF cycles, responsibilities towards surrogate mother and other steps remain same as in commercial surrogacy. (5)

    Pros and Cons of Altruistic Surrogacy

    When among the right surrogate and intended parents, altruistic surrogacy can be an experience full of positivity and advantages for intended parents. However, prior preparation and knowledge is necessary to overcome certain challenges that may accompany altruistic surrogacy. Hence it is important to be well-informed before getting into such type of an arrangement.

    Following are some of the commonly known benefits and limitation of altruistic surrogacy:


    • Altruistic surrogacy is advantageous as it is cheaper when compared to commercial surrogacy for the fact that intended parents do not have to provide monetary compensation to the surrogate mother. (6)
    • Altruistic surrogacy is legal in many countries of the world as against its commercial form which is banned in different countries. Therefore, altruistic surrogacy becomes a more viable option to select. 
    • Altruistic surrogacy can assure a greater sense of satisfaction and peace of mind to the intended parents as there is an element of trust associated with it when it’s a close friend or relative who is carrying the pregnancy. 


    • There could be cases when a surrogate mother may feel being pressurized to be a surrogate for an intended couple in a family. There could also be a feeling of dissatisfaction related to compensation during a later stage of pregnancy.
    • There could be lesser control on the part of the intended parents who do not pay a surrogate mother. At times they may find it difficult to ask surrogate to follow instructions or make certain requests due to the fact that there is no monetary compensation involved.
    • The surrogate mother may develop feelings for the baby after seeing it grow as she remains close to the family even after the birth.

    Cost Involved in Altruistic Surrogacy

    Due to the fact that there is no compensation given to the surrogate, altruistic surrogacy is less expensive as compared to commercial surrogacy. Although there is a great saving on the expenses involved in this surrogacy type, there are a number of professionals and services that are functional in it. A number of expenses can also be expected during the process. (7)

    Some of the expenses that may come associated with altruistic surrogacy may include:

    • Payments related to fertility injections, artificial insemination, embryo transfer, labor and delivery 
    • Donation fees for egg-donor or sperm donor (if required)
    • Counseling charges
    • Attorney fees
    • Other miscellaneous expenses on maternity clothing and traveling for appointments

    Commercial Surrogacy vs. Altruistic Surrogacy

    Among the two types of surrogacy treatments, Altruistic and Commercial surrogacy, the intended parents have to make a choice about the kind of treatment that would work best for them. (8)

    1. Commercial surrogacy:

    In this type of surrogacy, a surrogate mother is provided monetary compensation for carrying a pregnancyfor complete 9 months. This includes her compensation, stay, medical expenses, nutrition and delivery charges. Many couples turn to medical tourism to avail overseas commercial surrogacy services allowed in some countries. Yet it is important to get complete information and legal advice before opting for surrogacy in a country other than one’s own. Some people do not support commercial surrogacy as according to them it exploits vulnerable women. (9)

    2. Altruistic surrogacy:

    This type of surrogacy is when the surrogate mother demands no compensation for her act of kindness and agrees to carry a pregnancy for a close family member or friend only to help them start their family. Here, only those expenses that incur on the treatment and up keep of the surrogate are paid for. These expenses include medical costs, travel, time off work, etc. This type of surrogacy may have either of a traditional or gestational surrogate. (10)

    Surrogacy in itself is a life-changing experience for any couple. Altruistic surrogacy, when strikes right balance, can become fulfilling for both the intended parents and the surrogate mother. On one hand the intended parents get the golden chance of extending their family while the surrogate gets the life-time satisfaction of serving the near and dear ones in a selfless way. It is however, crucial to remember that all the risks and potential complications have to be discussed before getting into such an agreement with a close family or a friend. 

    One should also try to foresee the long term effect of altruistic surrogacy that it may have on their relationship with the proposed surrogate mother. Intended parents along with the surrogate mother, should consider getting counseling prior to the beginning and during the course of the surrogacy process to take a final decision about the choice they are making. 

    One should always remember that although a great rewarding experience, Altruistic Surrogacy is totally optional and that nobody should feel forced into this arrangement. Yet, if you have plans to pursue altruistic surrogacy, allow Elawoman to assist you and ensure you an endearing experience by managing the entire course of this otherwise complicated procedure. Call us at +918929020600 and have access to a network of doctors and legal advisors specialized in surrogacy.  

    Dr. Garima Sawhney

    Written by

    MS, MBBS
    Dr. Garima Sawhney is an infertility specialist and obstetrician who specializes in High-risk pregnancy care, IUI treatment and Normal vaginal delivery procedures. Dr. Garima completed MBBS from Maharashtra University in 2010 and then went on to pursue MS in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Bharati Vidyapeeth Dental College and Hospital, Pune in the year 2013. Dr. Garima is a member of Pune Obstetric and Gynecology Society and Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Delhi. Currently, Dr. Garima Sawhney is practicing at Max Hospital and Asha Multi Specialty Clinic, Sector 40, Gurgaon. For further information, visit



    1 Comment


    Jugnu Dharuna

    Jan. 10, 2019, 4:16 p.m. 4.5

    Leave a Comment



    The information displayed on this webpage covers general information on several medical conditions, fertility treatments, IVF ICSI, surrogacy procedure, home remedies, and their respective treatments. The exclusive purpose of the displayed information is for the sake of general understanding and it has been collected from open sources which heavily rely on research and laboratory tests. However, the information shared here should not be considered as a medical advice or an alternative to consultation with a registered medical practitioner or licensed healthcare professional.

    It is not advised to self-diagnose or treat any medical condition or disease following the information given in this article. We insist you to consult a registered practitioner and never try to replace their advice or discontinue treatment in between by relying solely on the information obtained. External links to different websites as well as videos given on the website serve the purpose of sharing knowledge only. Ela being an Independent Medical Information platform is neither responsible nor guarantees the authenticity, reliability, and accuracy of these videos and websites in any way. We do not intend the information displayed here to be used for a medical emergency, if you seek medical attention for yourself (or any other person with whom you want to share the information with), we advise you to directly get in touch with the hospital or the doctor.

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