If you’re considering surrogacy, one of your most burning questions may be, “How much does surrogacy cost?” You probably already know that surrogacy isn’t usually the most budget-friendly option, but it’s still financially doable for many families, especially for those who have extra funds set aside for their fertility journey.
There are a lot of expenses associated with surrogacy, including medical expenses, legal fees, and compensation for the surrogate. Gestational surrogacy, which involves using the intended mother’s eggs and the intended father’s sperm (or donor sperm), tends to be more expensive than traditional surrogacy, but it’s typically the most preferred route for families. When going the gestational surrogacy route, it’s a good idea to consider using a surrogacy agency.
If you decide to work with a surrogacy agency, there are some additional fees you’ll also want to keep in mind, which help ensure that your surrogacy journey goes smoothly. These fees can include matching you with a surrogate, conducting screening and background checks, coordinating appointments, and providing legal support throughout the process.
In this blog, we’re going to focus on the costs involved in surrogacy, specifically when you choose to go through an agency. We’ll break down each expense and explain what it covers so you can get a better idea of what to expect financially.
We know that the costs associated with surrogacy can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help you understand the fees and make an informed decision.
Types of Surrogacy
To begin, here are different types of surrogacy that a person may consider. Each type of surrogacy comes with its own unique set of costs, and it’s important to carefully consider these costs before making any decisions. Being aware of the financial implications before embarking on your journey can help steer you into the right direction in making the best choice for your family.
With traditional surrogacy, the person whose role is the surrogate also takes on the role of the biological mother of the child. This is because, in traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s egg is fertilized with the intended father’s sperm (or donor sperm) through artificial insemination. Costs for traditional surrogacy can include medical expenses, legal fees, and compensation for the surrogate.
Altruistic surrogacy is when a family member or friend offers to carry a child for the intended parents without receiving any financial compensation (or only receiving reimbursement for expenses incurred during the pregnancy). Costs for altruistic surrogacy may be drastically lower than other types of surrogacy as a result. These costs can include medical expenses and legal fees. primarily.
With independent surrogacy, the intended parents and surrogate mother find each other independently, meaning without the help of a surrogacy agency. Costs for independent surrogacy can include medical expenses, legal fees, and compensation for the surrogate. It’s important to note that independent surrogacy can be risky, as there is no agency to oversee the process and ensure that everything is done legally and ethically.
This is when the surrogate mother carries a child that is not biologically related to her. In gestational surrogacy, an embryo is created using the intended mother’s egg and the intended father’s sperm (or donor sperm), and then transferred to the surrogate mother’s uterus. Costs for gestational surrogacy can include medical expenses (such as IVF and prenatal care), legal fees, compensation for the surrogate, and fees for the surrogacy agency.
Costs Involved in Traditional, Compassionate, and Independent Surrogacy
While gestational surrogacy is the most common type of surrogacy, traditional, altruistic, and independent surrogacy are also be options for intended parents. Each type of surrogacy will involve some kind of cost, whether that be from compensating the surrogate, paying for medical expenses, or covering legal fees. Regardless, the specific costs involved in each of these types of surrogacy will differ from the costs involved in gestational surrogacy.
Traditional Surrogacy Costs
- Medical expenses: In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s egg is fertilized with the intended father’s sperm (or donor sperm) through artificial insemination. This process involves medical expenses such as the cost of fertility drugs, ultrasounds, and other medical procedures.
- Legal fees: Traditional surrogacy can raise legal and ethical issues, such as the surrogate’s parental rights and the rights of the intended parents. As a result, legal fees can be a significant cost involved in traditional surrogacy. Legal expenses can include the cost of drafting and reviewing contracts, court fees, and attorney fees.
- Compensation for the surrogate: In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is also the biological mother of the child, which can lead to higher compensation than in gestational surrogacy. Compensation can include a base fee for carrying the pregnancy, as well as additional compensation for expenses such as maternity clothes, travel costs, and lost wages.
Pros of Traditional Surrogacy:
- Potentially lower cost compared to other surrogacy options
- Potential for a biological connection between the surrogate mother and the child, which may be desired in certain families’ circumstances
Cons of Traditional Surrogacy:
- Emotional complexity for both the surrogate mother and intended parents because of the genetic connection between the surrogate mother and the child
- Legal complications around parental rights and custody since the surrogate mother is also the biological mother of the child
- Higher compensation may be required for the surrogate mother due to the genetic relationship the surrogate will have with the child
Compassionate Surrogacy Costs
In compassionate surrogacy, the surrogate mother offers to carry a child for the intended parents without receiving any financial compensation or only receiving reimbursement for expenses incurred during the pregnancy. However, there may still be costs involved in compassionate surrogacy, such as medical expenses and legal fees:
- Medical expenses: While the surrogate mother may not receive compensation for her services, the intended parents will still need to cover medical expenses related to the pregnancy. This can include the cost of fertility treatments, prenatal care, and delivery expenses.
- Legal fees: Compassionate surrogacy can still involve legal fees related to drafting and reviewing contracts, court fees, and attorney fees. It’s important to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the intended parents have legal rights to the child.
- Other expenses: The intended parents may also need to cover other expenses such as travel costs, maternity clothes, and lost wages for the surrogate.
Pros of Altruistic Surrogacy:
- Generally less expensive than other surrogacy options because the surrogate mother does not receive compensation
- Strong emotional connection between the surrogate mother and intended parents since the surrogate is typically a close friend or family member
- May be a more straightforward legal process since the surrogate mother is not receiving payment
Cons of Altruistic Surrogacy:
- Limited availability since altruistic surrogacy relies on a willing and available surrogate who does not want to be paid
- Potential emotional complications if the surrogate mother changes her mind or experiences difficulties during the pregnancy
- Medical expenses still need to be covered by the intended parents
Independent Surrogacy Costs
- Medical expenses: The intended parents will need to cover medical expenses related to the pregnancy, such as fertility treatments, prenatal care, and delivery expenses.
- Legal fees: Independent surrogacy can involve significant legal fees related to drafting and reviewing contracts, court fees, and attorney fees. It’s important to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the intended parents have legal rights to the child.
- Screening costs: In independent surrogacy, intended parents should dedicate time to screen potential surrogate mothers for medical and psychological suitability, which can involve additional costs.
- Contingency fund: It’s important for intended parents to have a contingency fund to cover unexpected expenses that may arise during the surrogacy process, such as medical complications or legal disputes.
- Other expenses: The intended parents may also need to cover other expenses such as travel costs, maternity clothes, and lost wages for the surrogate.
Pros of Independent Surrogacy:
- Potentially less expensive than working with a surrogacy agency
- Direct involvement in the surrogacy process
- Flexibility to customize the surrogacy arrangement and process
Cons of Independent Surrogacy:
- Higher risk of legal complications or other unexpected issues since there is no agency to help with the process
- Greater responsibility for the intended parents to handle all aspects of the surrogacy process, including medical, legal, and financial aspects
- Additional costs for legal and medical fees, screening, and other expenses that may arise that may otherwise be handled by an agency
- No guarantee of finding a suitable surrogate through personal networking or advertising
It’s important for intended parents to carefully consider the pros and cons of each type of surrogacy, as well as to work with experienced professionals to ensure a safe, ethical, and successful surrogacy journey for all involved.
Cost Of Gestational Surrogacy Through an Agency
The surrogacy process through an agency typically involves several components, each of which comes with its own set of costs. In general, the cost of gestational surrogacy through an agency can vary widely depending on a range of factors, including location, the specific services required, and the individual circumstances of the intended parents and surrogate mother.
To better understand the costs in gestational surrogacy through an agency, let’s break down the main steps of the surrogacy process:
- Initial Consultation: The intended parents will meet with the surrogacy agency to talk about their options and determine if surrogacy is the right choice for them.
- Screening: The intended parents and prospective surrogate are both screened to make sure they are physically and emotionally fit for the surrogacy process. This can include medical and psychological evaluations, background checks, and other assessments.
- Matching: The intended parents and gestational surrogate are matched based on important factors like compatibility, including shared values and personal preferences.
- Legal Contracting: The surrogacy agency coordinates the intended parents and gestational surrogate with legal professionals to draw up a contract outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party, including the surrogate’s compensation.
- Medical Procedures: The surrogate undergoes medical procedures to prepare her body for pregnancy, such as hormone treatments and in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create an embryo using the intended parents’ or donors’ sperm and eggs.
- Pregnancy: Like in a non-surrogacy pregnancy, the gestational surrogate carries the intended parents’ child to term, getting regular prenatal care and receiving support from the intended parents and the surrogacy agency throughout the pregnancy.
- Delivery: The gestational surrogate gives birth to the child, and the intended parents celebrate their newest addition and the growth of their family!
Working with a surrogacy agency can make the entire surrogacy journey smoother and less confusing or overwhelming. With that said, there are some important costs that you should keep in mind if you’re planning to work with a surrogacy agency.
Agency fees are the fees that are charged by a surrogacy agency for their services in facilitating the surrogacy process. These fees can vary widely depending on the agency and the services provided, but generally include a range of services such as:
- Finding and screening potential gestational surrogates
- Matching intended parents with a gestational surrogate
- Providing legal and financial support
- Facilitating medical and psychological screenings
- Coordinating the entire surrogacy process from start to finish
- Providing support and guidance throughout the surrogacy journey
The specific fees charged by an agency may be structured differently, but they typically include an initial application fee, a matching fee, a management fee, and other fees for services such as legal and medical coordination. These fees can range from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars or more, depending on the agency and the specific services provided.
While agency fees can be a significant expense for intended parents, working with a reputable surrogacy agency can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the surrogacy process. Agencies are a vital resource for making sure that all legal and financial requirements are met. They’re also an important resource for facilitating communication between the intended parents and surrogate, while also providing a network of resources and support for everyone involved in the surrogacy journey.
Screening & Support for Surrogate
Pre-screening programs that provide post-delivery support for the surrogate and her family are an important component of the surrogacy process. These programs typically include various forms of counseling, medical and psychological evaluations, and other support services to ensure that the surrogate and her family are prepared for the physical and emotional demands of the surrogacy process.
The cost coverage for these pre-screening programs can vary depending on the specific surrogacy agency or fertility clinic involved, as well as the individual needs and preferences of the surrogate mother and her family. In many cases, these costs may be covered as part of the overall surrogacy arrangement, either by the intended parents or through insurance or other funding sources.
When working with a surrogacy agency, the gestational surrogate will receive compensation for carrying the intended parents’ child. This compensation typically covers her time, effort, as well as any associated expenses, such as medical bills, travel costs, and lost wages. Surrogate compensation can vary widely. It also can include coverage for various costs, such as medical and travel expenses. However, typically, gestational surrogates are given a base pay that is separate from additional allowances. A gestational surrogate’s base pay is usually between $50,000 and $80,000.
Surrogate Fees & Allowances
In addition to base pay, intended parents may also expect to pay additional costs related to things like maternity clothes, certain monthly expenses, and incidentals. These costs can vary depending on the specific surrogacy agreement and the needs and preferences of the gestational surrogate.
In most cases, these include:
- Medical Expenses: The intended parents typically cover all medical expenses related to the surrogacy process, including prenatal care, labor and delivery, and any necessary medical interventions.
- Allowances: Usually, the intended parents will give the gestational surrogate an allowance, which may be paid monthly. This typically helps cover some of the typical costs that come along with pregnancy, such as the need for maternity clothes (or even nightly trips to whatever fast food restaurant are hitting the pregnancy cravings).
- Travel and Lodging: If the gestational surrogate needs to travel for medical appointments or to give birth, the intended parents may cover the cost of transportation, lodging, and other related expenses.
- Lost Wages: Gestational surrogates may be eligible to get additional compensation for any lost wages or income that may happen from being involved in the surrogacy process.
Paying for a surrogate can seem like a near-impossible task. However, there are resources available to help you cover the cost of compensation for a gestational surrogate. Learn more about our financing options here.
When working with a surrogacy agency, one of the best benefits includes legal support. An agency’s legal feels cover legal assistance, such as drafting contracts, ensuring compliance with local and state laws, and establishing parental rights. Legal fees can also vary widely depending on the complexity of the case and the location of the parties involved.
In most cases, intended parents are responsible for providing health insurance coverage for the gestational surrogate during the surrogacy process. This is because the gestational surrogate’s existing health insurance policy may not cover the costs associated with a surrogacy pregnancy, or may exclude coverage for certain medical procedures or interventions.
The type and cost of health insurance coverage needed will depend on the specific surrogacy agreement and the needs and preferences of the gestational surrogate and the intended parents. Navigating the realm of health insurance is a frightening thought, but it’s important to make sure that everyone is covered in the process, especially if something unexpected were to happen. Luckily, working with a surrogacy agency helps keep your peace of mind in knowing that health insurance coverage is, well, covered.
Find A Qualified Agency to Achieve Your Family Dream
All things considered, surrogacy is a great solution for many families seeking to build their families, but making it financially feasible can be difficult. That’s why it’s understand the various costs associated with surrogacy and to plan and budget accordingly. The costs of surrogacy can vary widely depending on the type of surrogacy, the specific surrogacy agreement, and the needs and preferences of the surrogate mother and intended parents.
By working closely with an experienced surrogacy agency, intended parents can navigate the surrogacy process with confidence and ensure that all costs and compensation are clearly outlined and agreed upon. At Family Inceptions, we can help guide you and give the best service for your surrogacy journey. With the right support and resources in place, the surrogacy process becomes a smoother and more successful journey towards building your dream family.
Explore our services at Family Inception to provide support throughout the whole journey!