Fortunately, modern reproductive science and assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have made it possible to overcome the challenges of infertility. Today, women who are unable to carry their own pregnancy can have a biologically-related baby with the assistance of a surrogate mom. However, due to the costs of surrogacy, not every parent will be able to embark on this journey.
Surrogacy enables hopeful parents to have a genetic connection with their child, which makes it different from adoption. Thanks to its impressive success rate and benefits, surrogacy is becoming more and more popular. But surrogacy is a complex, costly process that involves legal, medical, and emotional aspects.
Costs of Surrogacy
If you’re wondering how much does it cost for surrogacy, the answer varies based on several factors that can influence the total fees and expenses.
The costs of surrogacy can range from $100,000 to $150,000 based on the kind of services and factors involved in the process. Hence, it is important that intended parents do their homework and make a budget accordingly.
The surrogacy costs may differ by agency, surrogate mother, number of IVF rounds, your surrogacy lawyer, and the state where you or your surrogate lives.
The two most important factors that determine the costs of surrogacy are surrogate compensation and the kind of surrogacy (whether gestational or traditional surrogacy).
Below are the common surrogacy costs that intended parents should expect. I’ll explain more about each fee below.
- Surrogate compensation
- Medical fees
- Agency costs
- Insurance fees
- Legal fees
- Miscellaneous fees
In commercial surrogacy, surrogate compensation is one of the biggest expenses that hopeful parents would need to pay. Gestational carriers (surrogates) are paid around $40,000 to $70,000 based on their previous experience and many other factors.
Aside from paying the surrogate’s medical, legal, travel, and counseling expenses, hopeful parents will also pay her base compensation and an allowance every month to cover pregnancy-related expenses and recompense her for her sacrifices, time, and effort.
Extra expenses may be incurred if you intend to feed the newborn baby with the surrogate’s breast milk.
The money paid to the surrogate covers the following:
- Fertility tests and treatments
- Carrying and giving birth to the baby
- Accepting the health risks involved
- Small insurance copayments
- Travel to and from doctor’s appointments
- Housekeeping assistance during the pregnancy
- Calls or shipping for the necessary legal documents
- Prenatal supplements and other medical supplies
- Miscellaneous expenses related to the pregnancy such as:
- Supplies, like maternity clothing, pregnancy pillows, etc.
- Compensation to the surrogate for wages lost during the pregnancy
- Pregnancy surgeries in the case of multiple births
If you are pursuing surrogacy without an agency, you will have to discuss and manage these payments by yourself. An agency handles the negotiations and release payments for you while also reducing the stress of how to find a surrogate yourself.
Agency fees can range from $15,000 to $30,000 based on the agency’s reputation, state, and country. The majority of surrogacy agencies provide only gestational surrogacy.
These fees cover:
- Fertility tests
- Medical evaluations
- Surrogate screening
- Financial advice
- Legal background checks
- Counseling and education for Intended Parents and Surrogate moms
- Help search for a suitable insurance plan for the Surrogate
- Matching services to help to look for an ideal Surrogate mother
- Insurance verification
- Coordination of the surrogacy process
- Travel and lodging expenses for the intended parents or surrogate mother
Below are the surrogacy costs at some reputable agencies in the US:
- Physician’s Surrogacy – $100,000 – $150,000
- Southern Surrogacy – $80,000 upward
- Circle Surrogacy – $128,750 – $158,250
- West Coast Surrogacy – $90,000-$130,000
- Conceiveabilities – $139,900
- Simple Surrogacy – $90,000 – $150,000
Independent Surrogacy Price
Third-party reproduction services come with a very high cost that can deter people from pursuing surrogacy.
Also called private surrogacy, independent surrogacy allows Intended Parents to go into a surrogacy contract with a surrogate without an agency’s help, eliminating around $15,000- $25,000 in agency costs from the whole budget.
While Intended Parents may be able to save up on the agency fees by opting for a private surrogacy, they will miss out on services that can increase chances of success.
The hardest part of independent surrogacy is looking for a suitable surrogate. It could take a couple years to find a gestational carrier who meets the surrogacy requirements and is ready to work without a surrogacy agency.
IVF and fertility clinic costs are around $12,000 to $30,000. The costs of fertility clinics can vary based on the kind of surrogacy you are pursuing and the medical procedures involved.
The cost of IVF medication can also range from $3000 to $5000.
It is important to have legal support during surrogacy to prevent any complications that can occur later on between the surrogate, baby, and intended parents. It costs around $10,000 to negotiate and draft the surrogacy contract.
Surrogate insurance can cost approximately $25,000 based on the type of surrogacy, country, state, and the surrogate mother’s health insurance.
In case the surrogate does not have prior health insurance, the hopeful parents will also need to purchase a health insurance plan for her.
How to Pay for Surrogacy
The costs of surrogacy can accumulate pretty quickly. That’s why intended parents need to research extensively and do their homework on various agencies before choosing the one they think is best for them financially.
Below are the red flags to watch out for when talking to your surrogacy agency to know the surrogacy cost in total:
- Hidden fees
- Low estimates
- Recurring costs
- Cut services
If you’re scrambling with how to pay for surrogacy, here are several ways you can bring down your expenses:
If you are an Intended Parent, you could set up an online fundraiser (like GoFundMe) or get creative by organizing fundraising events.
A lot of Intended Parents rely on loans to help pay the costs of surrogacy, such as:
- Surrogacy loans
- 401(k) plans
- Credit cards
- Home equity loans
An increasing number of employers are covering some, if not all, costs incurred during the surrogacy process. They might offer benefits for your gestational carrier’s IVF.
There are several organizations that offer grants to help ease the financial burden of fertility treatments and surrogacy. Below are some organizations that provide surrogacy grants if you qualify:
- Baby Quest Foundation
- Life Grants
- Pay it Forward Fertility
- Family Formation Charitable Trust
- Journey to Parenthood Grant
- Tinina Q. Cade Foundation Family Building Grant
This is a kind of surrogacy arrangement that doesn’t monetarily compensate the surrogate at the end of the process. In most cases of altruistic surrogacy, the surrogate has a close relationship with the intended parents (i.e., a close friend or relative).
A lot of people need to save for years before they can pay for surrogacy. It would be ideal to save up to $100k before commencing the surrogacy journey. This will help offset the whole surrogacy price without seeking financial help by covering a large chunk of the total amount.
You may have control over some of the surrogacy costs, such as the choice of agency, but there are some things you cannot control, like medical complications.
It is best that you and your partner weigh your options and make plans for your surrogacy journey and the costs associated.
About the author:
Rohit Layal is the leading columnist of Physician’s Surrogacy, a reputed surrogacy agency established in California and serving intended parents worldwide. Rohit has worked with many experts from the reproductive technology field and authored numerous journals to shed light on the recent events in reproductive sciences.