Adoption and Surrogacy: The Pros and Cons

When it comes to building a family, most intended parents will find themselves considering different options, including surrogacy and adoption. Choosing the one that best suits your family’s ideal will depend on many different factors.

These two family-building paths have some similarities—they are both rewarding and life-changing journeys to parenthood—but at the same time, they are very different.

To help you with this decision-making process, we will discuss five important differences between adoption and surrogacy:

pros and cons adoption and surrogacy

1. The Genetic Connection with the Baby

An advantage of gestational surrogacy is that one or both intended parents can be tied to the child biologically. The prospective parents will provide the eggs and/or sperm used during the IVF process to create an embryo that will be transferred into the surrogate mother’s uterus. This biological connection often makes surrogacy a great option for people who feel strongly about having a genetic child. Additionally, being biologically related to the child can help simplify all the legal paperwork.

Contrary to surrogacy, adoption often involves unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, and the birth mother will be genetically tied to the child. This situation usually means that the prospective parents will not be biologically related to the baby, therefore deriving a more complicated and lengthier.

2. The Costs Associated with Adoption and Surrogacy

Whether you decide to go with surrogacy or adoption, you will be responsible for most expenses during the process. These expenses normally include legal costs and agency fees. However, if you pursue a surrogacy process, you will have additional expenses due to the fertility treatments and surrogate compensation, which will make surrogacy much more expensive than adoption.

3. The Matching and Screening Process

Even though many adoption programs allow the adoptive parents to define some criteria for the adoption process, the birth mother is often the one who selects the potential family, and she can change her mind at any time during this process which makes it also an emotionally demanding process you need to be prepared for.

In surrogacy, the matching process is a mutual decision and takes place before the pregnancy happens so there is no child involved yet. You and your surrogate will have the chance to decide if you are a good fit before moving forward and starting with medical and legal processes.

4. Your Involvement During the Adoption and Surrogacy Process

Adoptive parents don’t have much control when it comes to the adoption process, and depending birth mother’s personal circumstances, they may not be around during the pregnancy. Legally, the birth parents do have the right to change their minds about adoption at any point during the process, and this can cause high levels of uncertainty for all involved during the process.

When it comes to surrogacy, there is a legal contract in place that states the rights and obligations of each party during the process. Thanks to this legal agreement drafted and signed before the surrogacy process starts, there are no doubts about the fact that the surrogate is carrying the baby for the intended parents or what kind of involvement and contact is expected between the surrogate and intended parents during the pregnancy.

5. The Legal and Medical Process

Surrogacy is a complex medical and legal process. It involves a planned pregnancy that is created through medical procedures and a legal contract that outlines the roles of each person and their responsibilities to the child. Most of the legal work is done before the baby is born, which decreases the risk of unpleasant surprises along the way.

The same legal and medical procedures are not needed in adoption. Instead, the legal aspect of adoption happens after the baby is born when the birth parents have legally consented to the adoption and you are granted custody by the court.

adoption vs surrogacyPros and Cons of Adoption and Surrogacy

Taking into account these five differences, we have created a table of the pros and cons to simplify both alternatives and help you to make a better choice.


Pros Cons
  • The birth mother chooses adoption after becoming pregnant, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not the birth mother will get pregnant.
  • Adoption creates a stable home for a child who needs it.
  • The baby won’t be related to you
  •  Adoption can be uncertain. The birth mother has the right to change her mind after the child is born.
  • You will not have any control over prenatal environments in adoption. You also may not know much about the medical history of the child.
  • The pregnancy of the birth mom is often unplanned


Pros Cons
  • A baby born through surrogacy is biologically related to you.
  •  Surrogacy is more certain, and you will have more control over the process.
  •  Surrogacy is always planned.
  • The surrogate may not be able to get pregnant. You may worry that IVF will fail.

Adoption or Surrogacy: Which One Is Right for You?

Even after learning about the advantages and disadvantages of these two options, it can be really hard to decide which one is the right one for you when thinking about expanding your family. If this is the case, then take your time and ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you comfortable with risk in the family-building process?
  • Do you want a relationship with the person who is carrying your child during the pregnancy and after the baby is born?
  • How long do you want to wait for a child?
  • What is your budget for family building?
  • Do you want a child who is genetically related to you?

Final Thoughts

Many things need to be considered when you are thinking about adoption or surrogacy. However, the most important are your personal circumstances and the needs of your family. Research your options before you commit to any process.

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Written by David
I work daily to make surrogacy available to as many intended parents, surrogate mothers and egg donors around the world as possible.

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