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Surrogate Partner Code of Conduct

Our Code of Conduct articulates a vision of ethical behavior grounded in our values and teachings.  Its purpose is to provide guidelines for behavior that is both ethical and authentic. This document also serves the purpose of holding one another accountable to this standard. Each SPC Surrogate Partner agrees to uphold this code of conduct and be held accountable to it.

This code has as its primary goal the welfare and protection of the individuals with whom surrogate partners work. It is the individual responsibility of each surrogate partner to aspire to the highest possible standards of conduct. Surrogate partners respect and protect human, civil, and sexual rights, and do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair or discriminatory practices.

The development of a dynamic set of ethical standards for surrogates’ work-related conduct requires a personal commitment to a lifelong effort to act ethically and to consult with others as needed concerning any ethical questions.

These work-related activities can be distinguished from the surrogate’s private conduct, which is not within the scope of this Code. 

Each member of the SPC, when acting as surrogate, agrees to the following ethical standards:


  1. The surrogate partner’s chief focus and primary ethical responsibility is on the client’s welfare.

  2. The designation “surrogate partner” (or “surrogate”) shall apply only in a therapeutic situation comprised of client, surrogate, and collaborating clinician. The surrogate partner will only see clients who are actively and concurrently engaged with a qualified collaborating clinician. The surrogate partner’s relationship with the client is temporary and for therapeutic purposes. 

  3. The surrogate will ensure that the client has been educated about the objectives and boundaries of the therapy and has expectations consistent with the practice.

  4. In order to maintain optimum professionalism, surrogates agree to:

    • obtain relevant continuing education;

    • seek prompt and effective help when challenges arise;

    • receive adequate supervision for each case; and

    • prioritize their ongoing self care.

  5. Surrogates recognize the importance of consent and choice in all work with clients. At no time shall a client be required or coerced to participate in any activity. Surrogates include education about consent and choice and actively create learning environments where students are empowered to exercise these skills. 

  6. Surrogates understand the inherent power we hold in our role and will not use this power for personal gain. The surrogate is aware of the potential for attraction within the surrogate/client relationship and ensures the focus is always on the client’s growth & learning.

  7. Surrogates will respect, defend, and preserve the privacy of all information gained during sessions. Surrogates will seek the advice of colleagues or supervisors as a routine part of their practice or training and will preserve the anonymity of clients when using information for purposes of education, research, or supervision.

  8. Any public representation by a surrogate of the Surrogate Partner Therapy (SPT) profession shall be respectful, in integrity with this Code, and shall have the intention of furthering the profession. Such representations shall not create unjustified expectations regarding outcomes or benefits or suggest that we diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical or psychological condition. Surrogates will represent with honesty and accuracy the scope of their training, qualifications, and experience with SPT in all spoken or written forms. Surrogates may not represent other modalities as SPT, and must distinguish between SPT and other professional services they may offer. Surrogates shall not use, or knowingly allow to be used, the terms “sex surrogate,” or “sex surrogacy,” and, when appropriate, will educate others about why they are misleading and therefore harmful.

  9. Surrogates shall be responsible for taking, and educating clients about, appropriate actions to support overall general health. Surrogates will work with their client to come to agreement about how they each will minimize health risks. This includes taking adequate precautionary measures with respect to transmissible infections and conception.  

  10. Surrogates will aid the SPC in upholding this Code and cooperate fully with any investigation of possible violations.

Authored by Brian Gibney, Nicole Ananda, River Roaring, and Andrew Heartman

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