The development of the surrogacy over time

When you think about how surrogacy was developing and how long surrogacy has been around, you may think it’s a fairly new process. To a certain extent, you’re right; surrogacy, as we know it today, has only been around for the last 30 years. However, the idea of surrogacy has been around for a lot longer — even tracing back to Biblical times.

In this article, we’ll track the history of surrogacy and relevant assisted reproductive technology (ART) to show how it got to where it is today. Understanding this history is crucial when you’re considering surrogacy, as it will help you better comprehend the process the legalities involved, and what you can expect.

  • Biblical Times: The first mention of surrogacy can be found in “The Book of Genesis” in the story of Sarah and Abraham. They were married but could not conceive a child of their own, so Sarah turned to her servant Hagar to be the mother of Abraham’s child. This is a case of traditional surrogacy where the surrogate uses her own egg in the child she’s carrying for intended parents. Even though Sarah was not biologically related to the baby, she and Abraham both claimed the child as their own. Up until about 30 years ago, traditional surrogacies like these were the only way intended parents could create a child through surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy remained a taboo topic up until the twentieth century due to the stigmas associated with infertility and “illegitimate” children. During this time, surrogate pregnancies would have been conceived naturally — which would be shameful for married couples.
  • 1884: The first successful artificial insemination of a woman was completed, although in an ethically questionable way. This paved the way for future artificial inseminations used in the surrogacy process.
  • 1975: The first ethically completed IVF embryo transfer was successful.
  • 1976: The first legal surrogacy agreement in the history of surrogacy was brokered by lawyer Noel Keane. This was a traditional surrogacy, and the surrogate did not receive any compensation for the pregnancy.
  • 1978: The first baby conceived through IVF transfer was born.
  • 1980: The first compensated surrogacy agreement was arranged between a traditional surrogate and the intended parents. Elizabeth Kane (a pseudonym) received $10,000 to carry a baby for another couple. Although she had already completed her family and placed a child for adoption, Kane was unprepared for the emotions of surrogacy and the challenges she faced after giving birth to the baby. She eventually regretted her choice to become a surrogate and wrote about her experiences in a book called Birth Mother.
  • 1984–1986: Perhaps the most famous case in surrogacy history is the “Baby M.” case, involving a traditional surrogacy. Bill and Betsy Stern hired Mary Beth Whitehead to be their surrogate in 1984, agreeing to pay her $10,000. Whitehead’s eggs were used in the artificial insemination process, making her the biological mother of the child. When the baby was born and it was time for Whitehead to sign over her parental rights, she refused and took custody of baby Melissa Stern (“Baby M.”) — starting a long custody battle in 1986. The results of the custody case played a key role in the development of some of the stricter surrogacy laws in the U.S. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the surrogacy agreement between Whitehead and the Sterns was illegal and, therefore, restored Whitehead’s parental rights. Custody was granted to Bill Stern, with Whitehead receiving visitation rights. This case marked a huge turning point in the history of surrogacy, and, not surprisingly, many surrogacy professionals began to move toward the use of gestational surrogacy to avoid these legal entanglements.
  • 1985: While the “Baby M.” case was going on, the first successful gestational surrogacy was completed, paving the way for future gestational surrogacies to be the norm. In the 30 years to follow, states would continue to place restrictions on traditional surrogacies and surrogacy in general. In response, lawyers and legislators began to establish ways that intended parents could protect their parental rights in surrogacy — usually through a pre-birth or post-birth parentage order. Surrogacy agencies and surrogacy professionals also became more prominent and more experienced, making it easier for both intended parents and prospective surrogates to learn more and participate in the process.

Clearly, surrogacy has come a long way from where it was before the late twentieth century. Today, the combination of rapidly advancing medicine and the different types of surrogacy available make it easier than ever for intended parents to complete their family and for prospective surrogates to change the lives of others forever.

In the ADONIS group of hospitals, we perform only the gestational surrogacy programs involving the IVF and donor sperm or donor egg if it is needed.

Gestational Surrogacy:

  • If traditional one is outlawed in the surrogate’s states and the intended parents will need to pursue gestational surrogacy.
  • Gestational surrogacy allows many intended mothers to be related to their child.
  • Intended parents who have remaining embryos from past IVF treatments can use those in gestational surrogacy.

Our Gestational Surrogacy Program has been successfully operating since 2012. Programs with the participation of Surrogate mothers can be provided in the territory of Ukraine for officially married heterosexual couples (man and woman).

Take care of your health today

    I agree with privacy policy


    IVF - ICSI


    Medical services:

    • Examination of man before IVF (karyotype cost is not included), if needed (Spermogramm; Blood group, Rh factor; Hepatitis B – HbsAg; Hepatitis C (HCV), Ig total; Treponema Рallidum, Ig total; HIV (screening test for antibodies to HIV by IFA); X-ray of thoracal cavity organs in direct projection)
    • Cryopreservation of sperm (UNLIMITED)
    • IVF+ICSI+ED with the medicines cost for Donor`s stimulation, without embryo transfer with the storage of embryos during 12 months
    • PGT (24 chromosomes) UNLIMITED (will be made by decision of the Medical Center)
    • Examination of Surrogate mother before IVF program according to locally approved MGC «Adonis» protocol (Surrogate mothers – if needed)
    • Cryoprogram, UNLIMITED (transfer of thawed embryos, cost of medicines for endometrium preparation included)
    • Prenatal care program “Expecting baby”
    • Medicines for SM`s pregnancy support (up to $1000)
    • SM`s delivery in a natural way, pregnancy with 1 fetus (The cost of delivery by cesarean section and / or twin delivery must be paid extra)
    • Interruption of nonprogressive and progressive abnormal uterine pregnancy in terms up to 12 weeks (with the cost of pathohistological examination) – one time if needed

    Non-medical services:

    • Biomaterial Transportation Coordination and Paperwork Completion
    • Selection of Egg Donor (UNLIMITED)
    • Selection of Surrogate Mother (UNLIMITED)
    • Surrogate mother’s stay in the Standard Room (up to 15 days)
    • Standard Compensation to Surrogate Mother (1 time): transport expenses, embryo transfer, 9-months compensation for a healthy diet and clothing, final compensation
    • Translation of Patients` documents for Medical Center (passports, marriage certificate medical documentation required to start the Program)
    • Legal services pre-birth (standard): development and signing of the agreement with the surrogate mother and all the agreements required for the program (including notary for one surrogate mother)
    • Legal services post-birth (one child registration; standard; urgent): legal services for scheduling and preparation of documents for standard registration of a child born as a result of the client’s participant in the SM program, included preparing documents for ONE embassy and Civil Registration Office, and accompany clients for post-birth vital meetings (i.e., birth certificate filing and receiving at the Civil Registration Office)
    • Program coordination and support (English) till pregnancy confirmation
    • Program coordination and support (English) pregnancy confirmation till baby exit. Coordination included in Kyiv and Lviv.


    read more


    Tetiana Fakhrutdinova
    MD, PhD. Head of Female Consultation, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Fertility Specialist
    MD, Acting Head of the Department of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Obstetrician and GynecologistFertility Specialist
    Olha Tarasenko
    MD, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Fertility Specialist
    MD, PhD. Deputy Medical Director for Obstetrics and Gynecology, Obstetrician-Gynecologist

    What do other patients think?


    Take care of your health today

      I agree with privacy policy

      Take care of your health today

        I agree with privacy policy

        Thank you for your message. It has been sent.

        GET PDF

          I agree with privacy policy

          The latest news and great secret offers for you here!

          We use cookies and other tools to enhance your experience on our website and to analyze our web traffic. For more information about these cookies and the data collected, please refer to our Privacy Policy.