Adoption Vs. Surrogacy: The Pros & Cons

Many people around the world find the one person that matters to them the most and decide to spend the rest of their lives together. It’s natural for people at this stage to decide to take things a step further and begin a new phase of life as a family. While most couples will do this, the conventional way of having the woman in the relationship allows a pregnancy to occur and then give birth to a baby nine months later; not everyone has this option.

For some, serious medical considerations pose significant barriers. A woman may be advised that a heart condition, for example, could put her and a baby at risk as the demands of pregnancy increase with time’s passing. Or surgery to fight cancer resulted in a hysterectomy that removed the uterus, so pregnancy is no longer possible. Fortunately, these kinds of obstacles don’t mean a couple has to accept a life without children.

Two common solutions to this issue exist: adoption and surrogacy. But what is the difference between these two, and what are the pros and cons of adoption vs surrogacy?


Adoption is an age-old tradition. This is a process whereby a child who has lost parents is taken in by another couple and raised as their own. Today, this is a much more formalized process, with more legal mechanisms in place both to recognize the adoption itself and to protect the children involved since, in the past, adoption had sometimes been used as an easy method to acquire children for various unethical purposes.

Pro: It Gives A Child A Family

Perhaps the biggest pro in favor of adoption is that this is a situation where children, now orphans, find themselves in a world without parents, and regardless of where in the world people live, this always puts these young lives at a disadvantage without the love, psychological and financial support of a constant family presence. All children deserve parents, so giving an orphan a chance to have a family again can be an incredibly fulfilling experience for the couple involved.

Con: The Choice Is What Is

Of course, when a couple decides to adopt a child, they get a certain amount of choice, but that choice is limited to the “current availability” of children. A couple may want a child who is still an infant, but if there are no such children available, then they either have to wait or make do with the available children who are still in need.

If couples want more control over the specific characteristics of a child, adoption may not be a great choice, as this process is largely about choosing to accept children for who they are and accommodating that into a family. This is not about shaping a child to a couple’s requirements.


On the other hand, there is surrogacy, but how does surrogacy work? This is a process where a couple goes to another woman who has been medically evaluated as suitable, and that woman agrees to become pregnant on the couple’s behalf. The baby is born nine months later and is united with the new parents, and life as a family can now begin. Surrogacy as an alternative is nearly as old as adoption, having been documented even in the Bible as a solution for some childless couples. Like adoption, it has its advantages and disadvantages.

Pro: A Newborn Of Choice

For many couples, the dream is to have a newborn baby of their very own from the day of the first breath. Some would also still prefer a “traditional” child in the sense that it has a DNA combination from both parents, providing a direct genetic line of ancestry, just as with conventional pregnancies. This is only possible with a traditional pregnancy or a surrogacy, where that newborn is immediately introduced to new parents. This is one of the biggest advantages of surrogacy, although this alternative also offers far more choices.

Hopeful parents who go the surrogacy route have more control over the “outcome” of a child. For example, with certain types of surrogacy, it’s possible to choose the gender of the child. If one or both people in a relationship have a family history of congenital diseases, it’s even possible to screen for these disorders to ensure that the baby has the best possible start in life.

Con: A Major Investment

While neither adoption nor surrogacy is free, the costs of surrogacy, especially for those who want as little waiting time and as much choice as possible, can be significant. A compensated surrogacy means more choices about working with a surrogate mother candidate and also less waiting time due to greater immediate availability, but this costs a lot of money. The same is true for the In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF process, which can provide hopeful parents with a direct genetic descendant, choice of gender, and screening for inherited disorders. Hopeful parents who want more control must be prepared to invest significantly to get it.