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Should Surrogates Receive Government Benefits While Participating in a Journey


Should Surrogates Receive Government Benefits While Participating in a Journey

Becoming a surrogate is a noble act that helps fulfill the dreams of individuals or couples longing to have a child. However, when engaging in surrogacy, it's essential to consider various ethical and legal implications, especially regarding government benefits. While the surrogate is compensated for her services, there are concerns about receiving government assistance simultaneously. Here are the different considerations you need to have when it comes to surrogacy and government benefits:

1. Medicaid Incompatibility:

Medicaid (which has different names in different states such as DenaliCare, Medi-Cal, Medical Assistance Program, etc) is a vital healthcare program for low-income individuals and families. However, it cannot be used to cover expenses related to surrogacy. Surrogacy is a voluntary arrangement where a woman carries a child for intended parents, and it does not fall under the medical necessity criteria for Medicaid coverage. Therefore, it's inappropriate for a surrogate to utilize Medicaid benefits for surrogacy-related expenses.

2. Disclosure Requirements:

Surrogates who receive compensation for their services must disclose this income to government agencies who are providing the surrogate with benefits that qualify based on the income level of the surrogate, benefits such as Medicaid or food stamps. Failure to disclose additional income may be considered fraud, leading to legal consequences. Even if the income from surrogacy does not disqualify the surrogate from receiving benefits, honesty and transparency are crucial to maintain eligibility and avoid accusations of fraudulent behavior.

3. Ethical Considerations:

Surrogacy compensation is intended to cover various expenses associated with the surrogacy process, including medical care, lost wages, and other related costs. While surrogates may receive an allowance for food or other necessities, this should not be seen as a replacement for government benefits designed to support individuals with low incomes. Accepting both surrogacy compensation and government benefits simultaneously could be perceived as exploiting the system and taking advantage of resources meant for those in genuine need.

4. Risk of Benefit Reduction:

Disclosing additional income from surrogacy may lead to a reduction or discontinuation of government benefits, such as WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) or food stamps. While the impact of surrogacy compensation on

benefit eligibility may vary depending on individual circumstances and program requirements, it's essential to consider the potential consequences of reporting additional income honestly. Surrogates should prioritize compliance with benefit guidelines to avoid jeopardizing their eligibility for essential assistance programs in the future.

4. Nuanced Financial Situations:

In my opinion, a surrogate's receipt of government benefits does not necessarily indicate financial instability and it should not automatically disqualify her from participating in surrogacy. However, there are organizations and agencies that take the position that it is an automatic disqualification. Individuals and families may qualify for government assistance due to various circumstances, such as temporary unemployment due to a family member’s health, medical expenses, or caring for dependents with special needs. It's crucial not to make assumptions about a surrogate's financial status based solely on her receipt of benefits.

5. Avoiding Bias and Stigma:

Unfortunately, there exists a pervasive bias in the surrogacy world against individuals who receive government benefits, with some erroneously associating benefit receipt with poor judgment or irresponsibility. This bias can manifest in discriminatory attitudes and language, perpetuating stigma, and misconceptions. It's essential to challenge such prejudices and recognize that individuals from all walks of life may require temporary assistance at different points in their lives, without it reflecting negatively on their character or suitability as surrogates. When considering a surrogate's eligibility for surrogacy, agencies and intended parents must adhere to legal and ethical guidelines. While a surrogate's financial situation may be a factor in the screening process, it should not be the sole determinant of her suitability. Surrogacy agreements should be entered into voluntarily, with full understanding and consent from all parties involved, regardless of financial status.

6. Individual Circumstances:

Each surrogate's situation is unique, and it's essential to consider the broader context when evaluating her eligibility for surrogacy. For example, a surrogate who receives government benefits may still have the financial stability, support system, and emotional readiness necessary to undertake a surrogacy journey successfully. Conversely, a surrogate who does not receive benefits may face other challenges that impact her suitability as a surrogate and perhaps that surrogate should have applied for benefits for her children and she has neglected to do so.

Surrogacy is a deeply personal decision, and individuals come to it from various backgrounds and life experiences. Some may choose surrogacy as a means of supplementing their income or fulfilling a desire to help others, while others may pursue surrogacy despite receiving government benefits. It's crucial to respect each individual's autonomy and agency in making decisions about their participation in surrogacy.


In conclusion, while surrogacy provides an opportunity for individuals or couples to start or expand their families, it's crucial to navigate the process ethically and responsibly. Surrogates should refrain from receiving government benefits that are income dependent while earning income from surrogacy to uphold integrity, transparency, and compliance with legal and ethical standards. By prioritizing honesty and adherence to benefit guidelines, surrogates can ensure that their actions align with the principles of fairness and social responsibility.

However, while discussions about a surrogate's financial status and receipt of government benefits are important, it's essential to approach these topics with sensitivity, empathy, and an understanding of the complexities involved. Surrogacy agencies and intended parents should prioritize fair and equitable treatment of surrogates, avoiding bias and stigma based on financial circumstances. Ultimately, the focus should be on ensuring that all parties involved in the surrogacy process are treated with dignity, respect, and understanding.