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There are many wonderful ways to build a family. For couples struggling with infertility or health challenges, two common options are surrogacy and adoption.

And while both options lead to a common destination, the creation of a family, the journey itself can be quite different. So when it comes to surrogacy vs. adoption, how do you know which one is right for you?

The path you choose will and should depend on the individual circumstances of each intended parent. Neither choice is better or worse, both roads lead to the same beautiful outcome… fulfilling the dream of parenthood. 

But the processes differ in a few key ways, and it’s important for intended parents to consider these differences before making their final choice.

To help with your decision-making as you embark on the journey to parenthood, here are some important considerations when making the choice between surrogacy vs. adoption.

The Differences Between Surrogacy and Adoption

There are several key differences between surrogacy vs. adoption.  For starters, in an adoption, the potential parents are called adoptive parents.  In a surrogacy, the potential parents are called intended parents.  

Here are some of main differences between adoption vs surrogacy:

  • Adoption involves bringing a child into your life who needs a home, but is not biologically related to you.
  • In gestational surrogacy, a surrogate becomes pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the intended parents’ sperm and egg (or the sperm and/or egg of a donor).
  • Intended parents have a legally binding contract with the surrogate. The surrogate cannot change her mind and keep the baby after it is born.
  • There are no legally binding “adoption contracts” that say who the parents will be. The birth mother can change her mind and keep the baby after it is born.
  • Adopting parents become the legal parents of their child several months after the child is placed with them.
  • Intended parents using surrogacy become legal parents before the child is born.
  • The screening and matching process for surrogacy vs. adoption is different. Surrogacy tends to be much more in-depth and personal, and includes full medical and background screenings for potential surrogate mothers.


Surrogacy Vs. Adoption: Pros and Cons

Pregnant Belly

When you’re ready to add a child to your family, deciding between adoption or surrogacy can be tough. To make this decision easier, it’s important that you take the time to think about what your family-building goals are.

A good place to start is by asking yourself the following  questions:

  • Do I want a child who is genetically related to me? A child that looks like me?
  • What is my family-building budget?
  • How long am I willing to wait for a child?
  • Do I want a relationship with the woman who is carrying my child, during the pregnancy and after he or she is born?
  • What level of risk am I comfortable with in my family-building process?

Once you have a preliminary idea of your main family-building goals, it’s time to do a deeper dive and look at the specific details of each option. Let’s break down the pros and cons of surrogacy vs. adoption so you can determine what works best for your family.

The Pros and Cons Of Surrogacy

Surrogacy is a beautiful way to start a family that can result in a child biologically related to you. However, surrogacy isn’t the right choice for everyone. So think about the pros and cons of surrogacy when considering this option.


  • Surrogacy allows intended parents to be genetically related to their child, either through their own sperm and egg or with the addition of a donor gamete. This is the only option that allows you to be biologically related to your child.
  • Intended parents can be involved in their surrogate’s pregnancy journey and take part in their unborn child’s development from day one, celebrating milestones along the way.
  • Intended parents can be present for the birth of their child and may even be allowed in the delivery room.
  • Both intended parents and surrogates are fully screened prior to the surrogacy process to ensure that everyone is mentally, physically, and emotionally ready for the challenges and rewards of the surrogacy process.
  • Intended parents are legally recognized as their child’s parents even before the birth takes place with a pre-birth order. There is no risk of a gestational surrogate changing their mind and taking custody of the child.
  • If you work with a surrogacy agency, there may be several pre-screened surrogates already waiting to be matched, so the wait period to find a surrogate mother can be shorter in surrogacy than in adoption.


  • While both surrogacy and adoption are expensive processes, surrogacy is often more expensive considering that a surrogate can receive a base compensation plus expenses. In addition, with surrogacy there are medical and legal costs along with agency fees, all of which are paid by intended parents.
  • There are fewer financing options available for intended parents through surrogacy than for prospective adoptive parents.
  • Insurance may or may not cover a surrogate pregnancy and the costs of IVF, which means intended parents may need to purchase an additional insurance policy for surrogacy.
  • The medical procedures that accompany surrogacy can be long and expensive, and require a great deal of time and energy from both the surrogate mother and intended parents.
  • Sadly, there is always the chance of a failed embryo transfer or miscarriage in surrogacy and, if this happens, the funds spent by intended parents are not refunded.


The Pros and Cons of Adoption

Adoption is another beautiful way to start a family and it’s a chance to give a child a loving home. But again, adoption isn’t right for everyone. So think about these pros and cons when considering surrogacy vs. adoption:


  • While adoption can be expensive, it is often a cheaper overall family-building process than surrogacy.
  • There are more grants and loans available to adoptive families, including the federal tax credit.
  • Many prospective birth mothers in an open adoption want to have a lifelong relationship with adoptive parents and their children, while it’s less common (though not undead of) for surrogates and intended parents to have close relationships after the baby is born.
  • Adoptive parents provide a life of opportunity and love to a child who may not have had the same circumstances with their birth parents. This is a chance to give a deserving child a loving home.
  • There are clear and defined laws regarding the adoption process in all states.



  • Adoptive parents are not genetically related to their child.
  • With adoption, a prospective birth mother always has the right to change her mind throughout the entire adoption process. Only after she signs her adoption consent and her revocation period is up is an adoption completely safe from risk.
  • The waiting period for adoption may be longer than surrogacy. A prospective birth mother is the one who ultimately chooses if she wishes to proceed with the adoption process and who should become the parents of her child.
  • Prospective birth mothers undergo some (limited) screening before being matched with adoptive parents, but they often self-report any drug or alcohol usage and the information may not be accurate. Whether or not a birth mother receives proper prenatal care and stays healthy during their pregnancy is also up to them.
  • While parents might have a relationship with a prospective birth mother during her pregnancy, adoptive parents will have no say over the progression of a prospective birth mother’s pregnancy or their child’s development in utero.

Cost Of Surrogacy Vs. Adoption

Surrogacy vs. adoption, which is cheaper? We hear that question a lot. The truth is, both surrogacy and adoption are expensive processes and will require a bit of an investment. 

Generally speaking, surrogacy is the more expensive of the two. However cost alone should not be the deciding factor in your family-building decision. It’s really about which journey is the right one for you. Cost is simply one more factor to consider as you make your choice.

Here’s how the costs typically break down for surrogacy vs. adoption.

Surrogacy Costs: 

When all is said and done, surrogacy will cost your family more than private domestic adoption. The entire surrogacy process averages around $75,000–$125,000 or more. 

A lot of that cost is due to the medical procedures that are part of the surrogacy process, like fertility medication, embryo transfers and costs associated with the surrogate mother’s pregnancy. 

How much you spend on the medical side can vary, depending on how long it takes for your surrogate to become pregnant and other variables. In addition to covering the cost of pregnancy-related expenses, your total cost will include your surrogate’s base compensation and may include additional expenses related to pregnancy wellness.

It’s important for intended parents to keep in mind that these costs are all part of ensuring that your surrogate has a healthy and stress-free pregnancy to give your baby the best possible outcome.

Adoption Costs: 

While it’s more affordable than surrogacy, private domestic adoption can still be costly, averaging at $40,000–$50,000. Like surrogacy, you’d still be responsible for any pregnancy-related costs. 

The primary variables that affect the total cost of adoption are the financial needs and situation of the expectant mother, which can vary with each birth mother. Does she only need help with medical expenses? Or, does she need help affording other essentials like rent or transportation to doctor appointments?

With both adoption and surrogacy, there are financing options available. However, there tend to be more options and additional grants and tax credits available for adoption.

Which Is Better For You: Surrogacy or Adoption?

Okay, so now that you’ve read the facts… surrogacy vs. adoption, which one is better?

Truth is, each option has its own unique set of pros and cons, and it takes careful consideration to determine which choice is best for you and your family. Remember, there is no one right way for you to have a family. 

Parenthood is available with either of these journeys. It all comes down to what you are looking for in a family, and which path better fits those needs.

Why Choose Surrogacy Over Adoption:

Unless you are completing a relative adoption, you will not be genetically related to a child that you adopt. Therefore, if you feel strongly about being biologically connected to your children, surrogacy is likely the right choice for you. 

With gestational surrogacy, you have the opportunity to pass your genes along to your child, whether you’re an intended father or mother. Having a child that looks like you and is related to you is a very moving experience. It’s a blessing families who choose surrogacy cherish, and are so grateful to their surrogate for providing. 

Another important consideration is the relationship between the child and the woman carrying them. With gestational surrogacy, there is never any doubt about who has parental rights over the child. 

Because a gestational surrogate is not genetically related to a child, the legal and emotional implications of her carrying a baby are different than for a prospective birth mother. The legal process is simplified, and intended parents have more control when they choose surrogacy.

In adoption, a prospective birth mother can change her mind about placing her child any time before she signs her adoption consent. And because she is genetically related to the child, it is well within her rights to do so. 

The uncertainties that can surround the outcome of a potential adoption are not nearly as high in a surrogacy birth. Many families find this lower risk factor a compelling reason to pursue the surrogacy process.

Why Choose Adoption Over Surrogacy:

For potential parents who simply yearn for a child, genetically related or not, private or public adoption can be both a compassionate and enriching experience. In fact, many parents choose adoption precisely so that they might provide a better family life not only for themselves, but also for their adopted child who needs a loving and stable home.

There are some couples who may be fully capable of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy, but are worried about passing down genetic disorders or diseases to their offspring. To avoid that risk, these couples choose to adopt instead.

Sometimes, potential parents may know a pregnant woman who is not ready to raise a child and is looking for someone to adopt her baby. Or perhaps a relative or friend may be unable to care for an existing child and they need someone to step in and give them a better life through adoption. Both are great reasons to go through the adoption process.

And finally, some families may find the surrogacy process to be financially prohibitive and turn to adoption instead, which offers tax credits and more financing options.

Talk To A Professional At Surrogacy By Faith

When making a decision as big as this one, it can help to talk to a professional who understands the process and can walk you through everything you need to know.

If you are considering surrogacy as a path to parenthood, your next step will likely be to consult with an agency to learn more and see if they are a good fit to walk with you on your journey.

The surrogacy journey can be challenging… but the day your baby is born you experience joy and love like no other. At Surrogacy by Faith we understand the intricacy and miracle of bringing a new life into this world.

There is nothing we enjoy more than helping couples longing to have children see that dream fulfilled by finding a caring and genuine surrogate mother. This is one of our favorite parts of the journey, giving intended parents hope!

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Why work with Surrogacy By Faith? We are a Christian agency dedicated to helping grow families by the grace of God… one surrogacy at a time. Our hearts are in this for a loving reason, not a business one. We are simply doing God’s work.

Since most agency staff members at Surrogacy By Faith have also been surrogates themselves, we understand the surrogacy process on a spiritual and emotional level. This allows us to offer sage advice throughout each phase of your journey.

If you are interested in learning more about starting your surrogacy journey with Surrogacy By Faith, please complete our initial Inquiry Form.  We will answer any questions you might have and if you wish to proceed, we’ll start looking for the angel that will carry your child.