Why Can’t a Surrogate Mother be on Government Assistance?

Many potential surrogate mothers, who are otherwise perfect candidates for surrogacy, may be shocked to find themselves rejected for a reason that may surprise them. If a potential surrogate mother is found to be receiving government assistance (i.e. Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, etc.) she will be rejected. State funded surrogacy (surrogate situations involving a commercial surrogacy arrangement where the surrogate mother receives federally funded aid) is illegal. But why? Read on to find out why an otherwise perfect candidate will be rejected.

For most people involved in a surrogacy situation, it seems unfair that a woman that is willing to sacrifice so much to bless another family with a child would be rejected simply because she is experiencing some financial difficulties. They may feel that this women should be commended, not punished. However, the fact of the matter is, despite her many positive attributes, surrogacy is simply not the right thing for her to pursue in her situation.


First, this perpetuates a negative stereotype that is held by many who hear about surrogacy. Many people that think about surrogacy imagine a scenario where a rich couple, unwilling (for whatever reason) to go through 9 months of pregnancy themselves, seek out a poor woman who will do it for them for a little money. Although this vignette is far from the truth of what surrogacy is all about, a woman who receives government assistance being a surrogate for a wealthy couple does play into the stereotype.


However, the main issue is that if the surrogate mother is paid in any form for her services, she will likely be deemed ineligible for government assistance. This means that she may suddenly become ineligible to receive Medicaid – and so will her children. According to the law, people on welfare are supposed to report ANY money they receive, even if it comes in the form of a birthday gift.


Some people in these surrogacy situations may be tempted to fool the system by paying the surrogate “on the low”. Some of them may do this because they feel that the laws are unfair and that the surrogate mother deserves the financial assistance she receives. Others do it for more selfish reasons – using her government assistance (Medicaid) to cover the costs of her pregnancy, labor, and delivery. However, there is no getting around the fact that this is fraud. And defrauding the United States government is not something that you want to do. Not only is it unethical, but it can come with very severe (and costly) consequences.


These are the main reasons that surrogacy agencies have the simple rule of automatically rejecting potential surrogate mothers who receive government assistance. However, when she is in a more stable financial situation, she is more than welcome to try again.



Posted in Getting Started.