Adoption vs. Surrogacy: What’s Best for My Family?

If you’re hoping to become a parent in South Carolina, you may be at the point where you’re deciding between adoption and surrogacy to have a child. Each process has its own merits and challenges, and you’re the only one who can decide which path is best for you.

Fortunately, whichever one you choose, attorney Jim Thompson can help. Our law firm is experienced in several kinds of adoption, as well as assisted reproductive technology law, including surrogacy and egg donation. Therefore, we can help you understand the difference in adoption vs. surrogacy — giving you the important information you need to make a decision. To learn more about our specific processes and services for adoption or surrogacy, call us today at 864-573-5533.

If you’re trying to decide between surrogacy and adoption in South Carolina, here are some things to consider:

The Cost of the Process

One of the biggest questions that intended parents ask is, “Which is more expensive: adoption or surrogacy?”

Adoption and surrogacy can both be expensive processes, as they involve many services, professionals and fees to successfully make you parents. Typically, however, adoption is the less expensive of the two options, especially if you go the route of foster care adoption (which is usually reimbursed to a certain extent by the state).

Both surrogates and prospective birth mothers can receive assistance with pregnancy related expenses, but surrogates also receive a base compensation that can increase your overall costs. When you work with a professional for adoption and surrogacy, you will have to pay comparable program fees for matching and case management services, but surrogacy also requires additional medical steps with the embryo transfer process, which add to your overall expenses.

While there are tax credits available for adoption and potential assistance for infertility treatments (e.g. employer assistance) involved in surrogacy depending on your situation, each process still can be expensive. If you’re interested in how your costs may differ when choosing adoption vs. surrogacy, you can contact us today for more information about our specific program fees.

Genetic Relationships & Their Effect on the Process

Unless you are completing a relative adoption, you will not be genetically related to the child that you adopt. Therefore, if you feel strongly about being related to your child, surrogacy will likely be the choice for you. If you choose a gestational surrogacy, you may have the chance to pass your genes along to your child, whether you’re an intended father or mother.

Another important thing to consider is the relationship between the child and the woman who is carrying him or her. In gestational surrogacy, there is never any doubt about who will have parentage over the child. Because a gestational surrogate is not genetically related to a child, the legal and emotional implications of her carrying the child 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’s genetically related to the child, that is her right. In our Gestational Carrier Program, there is legal involvement before a pregnancy occurs, creating less legal risk and uncertainty at the time of birth. Therefore, the uncertainties that can surround outcome of a potential adoptive placement are not as prevalent in a surrogacy birth.

The Matching Process

Another difference between adoption and surrogacy is the way that intended parents find a surrogate or prospective birth mother.

In surrogacy, the matching process is mutual and occurs before a pregnancy occurs; both you and the surrogate will have the chance to decide whether you are good fit for each other. You will view each other’s profiles and then meet in our office, where we will let you get to know each other and then decide if you want to move forward. Because surrogacy is a partnership, we give both intended parents and prospective surrogates the ability to choose who they work with. During the contract phase, the intended parents and gestational carrier will discuss and agree on certain aspects of the pregnancy, including lifestyle restrictions and expectations regarding the intended parents’ involvement in the pregnancy.

In adoption, a match occurs during the pregnancy. Before we present your profile to prospective birth mothers, you’ll get to choose what kind of health situations, racial background and adoption contact you’re comfortable with — and we will only show your profile to birth mothers that fit your preferences. However, information gathered from the expectant parent has the potential to be underreported, creating the potential risk of unknowns in any particular adoption opportunity. Depending on your preferences, and the fact that the adoptive parents must first be selected by the birth mother, you could likely wait longer for a prospective birth mother than a surrogate.

Post-Birth Relationships

When looking at adoption or surrogacy in South Carolina, you need to be familiar with what kind of contact is expected after the birth of your child.

In adoption, most prospective birth mothers will want a semi-open or open adoption with their child’s adoptive parents. This can include anything from letters and pictures sent a couple of times a year, to emails, phone calls, or even in-person visits. You will be able to decide what kind of post-adoption relationship you’re comfortable with, but remember — a more restrictive contact preference may make it more difficult to find a potential birth mother.

Unless you work with a surrogate who is a friend or family member, it’s less common for surrogates to desire close contact with the intended parents after the baby is born. Because a surrogate is not related to the baby she gives birth to, she has less of an emotional attachment and may be comfortable moving forward with her life without regular contact with the family she helped create.

Of course, each surrogate is different, so if you want to maintain a relationship with her after birth, that is something that you can discuss when you are going through the matching process. In many surrogacies, intended parents and surrogates end up developing a close friendship and do choose to stay in touch after the baby is born, creating a lifelong friendship.

How to Decide Between Adoption vs. Surrogacy in S.C.

These are only some of the aspects you need to consider if you’re deciding between adoption and surrogacy at this point in your parenthood journey. While you are ultimately the only one who can decide what’s best for your family, our professionals at the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson can further explain what to expect from adoption and surrogacy through our law firm, as well as help you decide which might be the best option for you.

We recommend that you do as much research as possible when deciding if adoption or surrogacy is best for you. To learn more about how each process works at our law firm, please call us today at 864-573-5533 or contact us online.