Surrogacy vs Adoption Process, What Are the Differences?

By (babygest staff), (project manager) and (embryologist).
Last Update: 03/25/2019

It often happens that every time a friend or family member learns that you can't have children, the immediate answer is: "You can adopt". Many see adoption as the solution for those who can't have children. However, it is important to say that adoption is the solution to protect those children who do not have a family providing them with an education, stability and, above all, love.

Have children is a goal for many people. The human being is a social animal that lives in a family and genetics continues to play an important role. In this sense, surrogacy is one of the options these families have when they are unable to procreate and it also offers the possibility of having biological children.

In order to be able to clearly establish the differences and, consequently, the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure, we have drafted this article with the steps to be followed in each procedure.

Adoption step by step

In the United States

In the United States, depending on which type of adoption you choose (national or international, foster care or US newborn), adoption process may vary from 1 to 9 years.

Here we will resume the different steps:

  1. Make the application
  2. Complete the Home Study
  3. Send the complete file and wait for an answer
  4. Travel to the country or state (in case of international or interstate adoption)
  5. Bring back the child home
  6. Post Adoption Supervisory Report
  7. Final Court Hearing

As we can see, it is a long road, but it has the advantage that it is regulated by U.S. legislation, which facilitates the procedures from the legal point of view.

In the United Kingdom

  1. Contact an adoption agency: the adoption agency will send information about the adoption process. If the prospective adopters want to follow the process, they decide it with their social worker.
  2. Training and assessment process: a social worker will be allocated, criminal backgrounds checks carried out. It is also necessary to attend preparation classes. Through home visits, the social worker check if the propective adopters are ready to adopt.
  3. Assessment and decision time: The prospective adopter's assessment plan is presented to an independent panel that will decide if they are suitable adopters.
  4. the assessment is sent to the overseas adoption authority
  5. it is necessary to travel in the child's own country
  6. Adoption court order: to make an adoption legal, a the adoption court order is necessary. It gives the parental rights and responsibilities. It is necessary to wait at least 10 weeks after the child arrives at home.
  7. Adoption certificate: once the order has been granted, it is possible to buy an adoption certificate created by the General Register Office. It replaces the original birth certificate and shows the child's new name.

Surrogacy step by step

Surrogacy is a technique in which one or two people decide to have a child. It gives the option of bringing a child into the world and living the day to day pregnancy. They start an assisted reproduction treatment where, if possible, they bring their own gametes to create an embryo that will be gestated by a woman who gives her capacity to carry a child.

The illusion of embryo transfer, the confusion during the Two-Weeks Wait, the positive pregnancy test, all the ultrasounds, discovering the sex, the desired birth... In short, living a surrogacy process is the closest thing to living your own pregnancy.

In the United States, there are some permissive states (Nevada, California, Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Virginia, Florida, New Hampshire, Delaware, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Washington). There are also some Surrogacy-friendly states (Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, Minnesota, Maryland, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Mexico, Montana, and Rhode Island). Nevertheless, there are also some prohibitive states (Michigan, New York, Indiana, Kansas, and Nebraska).

It is also possible to undergo a surrogacy in other countries where it is legal for example in Canada, Greece, Russia or Ukraine.

Let's look at the steps involved:

  1. Choose destination
  2. Choose an agency and a clinic
  3. Find the surrogate
  4. Contract signature
  5. IVF
  6. Pregnancy follow-up
  7. Birth
  8. Post-birth order

Thus, the process can also be long: it all depends on how long it takes to select the surrogate, the legal paperwork, how long it takes to become pregnant. It also depends on the requirements established by the law of the chosen destination, etc. Depending on these and other factors, it can last a year or more on average.

Surrogacy is the most challenging of all fertility treatments. For this reason, it's crucial that you rely on well-versed professionals. If you are looking for trustworthy agencies, this tool will show you destination countries where your family type is permitted, and provide you with a detailed cost estimate. Moreover, our specialists will evaluate your case in particular in order to recommend you those clinics that best fit your needs, and meet our rigorous selection criteria. We have 10 years' experience behind us.

Pros and cons

Perhaps the great difference between choosing to have a child by surrogacy or by adopting lies in the finality. When you decide to have a child, you are deciding to procreate. All of us, when we see a baby, look for similarities with parents, grandparents and uncles. We all wonder who he will look like, for example, in character.

When a child is adopted, on the other hand, all that we will be able to identify in him or her will be what has been acquired, but we cannot forget that what has been acquired begins from birth, from the first minute of life.

The people who normally find themselves in the situation of choosing between a surrogacy process or adoption are heterosexual couples with an inability to gestate, male homosexual couples and single men. Both are viable options on a case-by-case basis.

Before making a decision, the advantages and disadvantages of each case should be evaluated in order to know well what process we are facing, whatever the final decision. Some factors to compare are:

Genetics
surrogacy gives the opportunity for at least one or both intended parents to contribute their genetics, whereas, with adoption, this possibility is ruled out.
Waiting time
As mentioned above, the average waiting period for adoption is currently 5 years. This is a period of time considerably longer than that of a surrogacy process, which can take between 1 and 2 years if all goes well.
Cost
both are costly processes from an economic point of view, so we do not find advantages of one over the other in this sense.
Legal aspects
in both cases, a lot of paperwork has to be done and the involvement of lawyers and legal advisers is necessary. In surrogacy, since a large part is managed by the agency, this step can be made more bearable.
Choice
In surrogacy, although it depends on the country, parents have the final say in selecting a surrogate , and she, in turn, also chooses the parent to gestate for. It is a two-way process, something that is not usually the case in adoption.
Follow-up
the intended parents can follow the surrogate pregnancy from the beginning to the moment of birth, while in adoption the process is much more impersonal.

In conclusion, surrogacy and adoption have nothing to do with each other. The first is a medical technique that makes it possible for a person or couple to have a child and the second is an act of solidarity by which a person or couple provides a home to a child who does not have one.

Single parent & LGBT families

The new family models that have appeared in society have not only been made possible thanks to different assisted reproduction treatments such as egg and sperm donation or surrogacy, but also thanks to adoption.

Heterosexual couples with fertility problems, unable to procreate naturally, find in adoption a mean to achieve paternity. Also same-sex couples, both female and male, and single people choose adoption to form their own family.

Thanks to different supreme court decision, now, adoption by same-sex couples and gay single is possible:

  • First, on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court struck down all prohibitions on same-sex marriage in the United States.
  • Then, on March 31, 2016, a federal district court overturned adoption ban on same-sex couples in Mississipi.
  • Finally in June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court overturned a decision of the Arkansas Supreme Court and ordered all states to treat same-sex couples equally with opposite-sex couples regarding the issuance of birth certificates.

However, although U.S. law permits it, homosexual couples, in practice, have few possibilities to adopt foreign minors: most countries limit adoptions to marriages formed by a man and a woman.

For all these reasons, some of these families face difficulties at the time of carrying out the adoption and, therefore, many of them end up discarding it and resorting to another reproductive option such as surrogacy.

If you want to know more about the adoption process for same-sex couples, we recommend reading the following article: LGBT Adoption: Are Gays Allowed to Adopt in United States?

FAQs from users

By Zaira Salvador (embryologist).

No, since the laws for one process or another are different and depend on each specific country.

For example, in Russia it is possible to adopt and carry out a surrogacy process, although only for heterosexual couples. On the other hand, China, Vietnam, India or Hungary (main destinations for adoption) do not allow surrogacy for foreigners.

You can learn more about the countries where surrogacy is possible here: International Surrogacy – Laws & Options for Surrogacy Abroad.

Can I adopt if I already have a child born by surrogacy?

By Zaira Salvador (embryologist).

Yes, it is possible to adopt even if the adopters have a child previously, even if it is born by surrogacy. In order to adopt, adopters must meet the requirements of U.S. legislation and complete a Home Study.

Suggested for you

Surrogacy is not permitted in every country, it is possible to travel to a foreign country where it is permitted, as long as the conditions established by law are met. If you want to be informed about possible destinations, click here: Surrogacy Laws by Country – Where Is It Legal?

On the other hand, if you are more interested in adopting to complete your family, you can find all the necessary information in the following article: Adopting a Child in United States: – How it Works?

Our editors have made great efforts to create this content for you. By sharing this post, you are helping us to keep ourselves motivated to work even harder.

References

Authors and contributors

 Marie Tusseau
Marie Tusseau
Babygest Staff
Editorial Director of Babygest magazine in French and English. More information about Marie Tusseau
 Natalia Álvarez
Natalia Álvarez
Project Manager
Graduated in Business Administration from the University of Alicante. She has more than 9 years of experience in the field of assisted reproduction and was the creator and director of the first assisted reproduction fair in Spain. She is the director of Wearesurrogacy and is an expert in the sector of surrogacy because during all these years has had the opportunity to know hundreds of real cases of couples who have carried out treatments for surrogacy and the best professionals, international clinics. More information about Natalia Álvarez
 Zaira Salvador
Zaira Salvador
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV). Embryologist specializing in Assisted Procreation, with a Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV) and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). More information about Zaira Salvador
License: 3185-CV

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