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The Real Cost of Surrogacy

By Eloise Drane on

4 minutes | Surrogacy

If you’re considering surrogacy, chances are, one of your first worries is the cost. Surrogacy is legendarily costly, and with tabloids advertising million dollar surrogates, the fear of the financial requirements of surrogacy can scare many people off. On top of that, many agencies are seemingly unwilling to give you a firm number for how much your experience will cost. It all adds up to a lot of fear and anxiety, when in reality, that’s the last thing that we want you to be feeling.

So let’s break it down.

Our surrogacy program will typically run from $95-$150k. And yes, we know that’s a wide window.

The instant concern from most perspective intended parents is that no one will pay the $95,000 number and that there must be some trickery going on. In addition, many clients want to know why the range is so wide and what can be done to keep your total costs on the lower end of the spectrum.

The first thing to understand is why surrogacy carries such a high price tag. Please believe us when we say it is not artificially inflated as an artificial barrier to parenthood. The truth is simple. Lots of hands play a role in creating a child this way, and no one works for free.

Here is a list of expected expenses in the most standard and easy of surrogacy arrangements:

  • Surrogate Compensation
  • Surrogate Benefits (Life, health, disability, loss of reproductive organs)
  • Agency Fees
  • Mental Health Evaluations
  • Mental Health Consultations
  • Attorney Fees for the surrogate
  • Attorney Fees for the intended parents
  • Clinic fees associated with screening for the egg donor
  • Clinic fees associated with screening for the surrogate
  • Fees for the home visit, performed by a social worker
  • IVF fees from a Reproductive Endocrinologist
  • Egg retrieval medical costs
  • Egg donor compensation
  • Embryologist fees
  • Storage of excess embryos
  • Pharmaceuticals for the egg donor
  • Pharmaceuticals for the surrogate
  • Transportation and travel for the surrogate
  • Transportation and travel for the egg donor
  • Co-Pays and deductibles on health and life insurance
  • Bills submitted by your surrogate’s OBGYN
  • Hospital bills from the birth
  • The potential for NICU bills for the bab(ies).
  • Medical bills not covered by insurance
  • Lost wages for your surrogate during birth and recovery
  • Fees associated with multiple gestations (twins)

The list could go on, but we think that you get the idea. While this list is not exhaustive, it does begin to paint a picture; and this is just a standard, easy surrogacy situation. Just as with any other service-based project, any special needs or requests will raise your expenses.

Complications will also raise the cost. If you need two rounds of IVF, your IVF expense will be twice as high. If your surrogate has a miscarriage there will be additional expenses relating to that, and then the fees of starting over. Additional fees are assessed if you need to rematch with a new egg donor or surrogate. If your surrogate is required to be placed on bedrest, this will raise costs as well.

Are you starting to get a feel for why the price tag is so high, and the distance between the low end and high end of expected costs can be so wide?

Your surrogate will always be your highest single line item expense. Many intended parents feel that finding a lower compensated surrogate will save them a lot of money as a result. But if you really break it down, these women are making far less than minimum wage in order to help you grow your family. They put their own lives on hold and risk their own health (because no pregnancy is risk-free) for what equates to just over $5 an hour. Paying a surrogate less than the industry standard often means working with a woman that wasn’t qualified to work with agencies for reasons that could potentially open the door for additional complications, and those complications can almost certainly raise your overall cost.

Agency fees are another area where perspective intended parents feel that they can save a large amount of money. We don’t encourage this, either. The agency fee is a small part of the overall cost, and going through a surrogacy arrangement without professional help and guidance could lead to much heartache and financial damage. An agency safeguards and protects your investment. And any $100,000 expense should be protected.

The bottom line is that surrogacy is not an inexpensive thing. Understand where you can save money, and where it’s best to allocate a larger budget. Any ethical surrogacy agency will take the time to patiently explain potential costs to you, and offer suggestions about funding, budgeting, and overall cost at every step of the way.

We’re proud to offer free consultations to potential intended parents. Please don’t let the big number scare you away from your dream before you’ve given us a chance to explain how we arrive at the number a little more clearly.

When you’re ready, click below and send us an Email. Our compassionate staff will reach out to you to open a dialogue about your family of choice and your surrogacy journey.

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