Altruistic Surrogacy vs. Commercial Surrogacy

At Growing Generations, we guide surrogates and intended parents through ethical surrogacy to ensure healthy outcomes for our surrogates, intended parents, and their families. The idea that surrogates are uneducated and financially unstable women who are being led into an arrangement that they would not otherwise choose is common. When surrogacy is done properly these things are objectively not true, and these ideas can be deeply offensive to a woman who is motivated to help change lives. 

Altruistic vs. Commercial Surrogacy

When entering the world of surrogacy, you’ll hear about two main types of surrogacy: altruistic and commercial. The main distinguishing factor of altruistic surrogacy is that no monetary compensation is offered to the surrogate. Other than that, there are no significant differences between the two types of surrogacy.

Altruistic Motives for Commercial Surrogacy

Commercial surrogacy includes monetary compensation and a contract between surrogates and intended parents who don’t usually have a prior relationship. While many people believe commercial surrogacy commoditizes women, we believe that surrogacy can be both altruistic and commercial at the same time.

We deeply respect all of our surrogates at Growing Generations and believe they are some of the most incredible women we’ve ever met. So, it’s important that we dispel the misconception that surrogacy is about commoditization. In reality, surrogacy is a partnership between several parties of educated, informed, and stable adults working together toward a common goal. This level of informed consent and ethical standards is paramount to surrogacy done well.

Our gestational surrogates are women who have become mothers themselves and have enjoyed the process of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood so much that they wish to give this gift to others. While surrogates in our program receive compensation, the majority of them tell us they would have chosen this journey even if money was not exchanged. It’s important to note that we only work in surrogate-friendly states to avoid legal problems.

Motivated by altruistic measures, these women are not only seeking fiscal gain. and this is something we investigate  during our in-depth screening process. We screen our surrogates thoroughly, including a review of their income to ensure that financial gains are not a motive for their choice. Our surrogates are women who are financially stable without the added compensation of surrogacy. They do not need this additional income to survive. Additionally, we offer a surrogate compensation package that is competitive but not excessive.

Beyond simple financial matters, these women are vetted and counseled long before signing any binding paperwork or starting any medications. Our surrogates undergo extensive interviews and psychological evaluations, and they are given the opportunity to ask as many questions as they want before they’re approved to join our program. Surrogates can back out of an agreement at any time before becoming pregnant. We don’t force women to follow through with becoming pregnant if they change their mind. While this rarely happens, thanks in large part to proper screening, it eliminates any concerns over coercion.

All parties receive their own legal representative to ensure that everyone’s needs can be addressed and considered before moving forward with a binding contract. This ensures that, even if the surrogate is not fluent in legal jargon, she understands what she is agreeing to and has the opportunity to have those requests amended or even removed from her contract before moving forward.


A growing family and the gift of a child are always worth celebrating – whether formed through altruistic or commercial surrogacy. When surrogate applicants are properly screened and vetted, the outcome is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Ethical surrogacy is a shining example of the mountains that can be moved when adults are informed, respectful and working together toward a common goal.

Read testimonials from Danielle and Michelle, who have been surrogates with Growing Generations.

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for intended parents, surrogates and donors. She is the co-owner of Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.