You have your heart set on surrogacy, but you’re not sure your wallet agrees. Surrogacy can be expensive, and the initial sticker shock can discourage some intended parents from pursuing this path to parenthood.
We passionately believe everyone who desires to become a parent should have the opportunity, regardless of their financial means. Trust us: there are ways to make surrogacy affordable. We’ve seen it time and again—where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Yes, you can trim some expenses here and there. You can fundraise and finance and apply for grants—all of these are excellent options to get financially prepared for surrogacy.
To make a truly significant difference in lowering the cost of surrogacy, you’ll want to consider ways to reduce the three largest expenses in a surrogacy journey: gestational surrogate base compensation, surrogacy agency fees, and medical expenses.
Find a Compassionate Surrogate
A compassionate, or altruistic, surrogate is a woman who agrees to receive little to no compensation for the surrogacy process. Often, your best bet for finding a compassionate surrogate is to ask someone you’re close with. Compassionate surrogates are usually family members or friends, but you can occasionally connect with compassionate surrogates via other means.
Altruistic surrogates are still reimbursed for medical expenses, attorney fees, and other related expenses, but they don’t receive a base compensation or monthly allowance.
With a compensated, or commercial, surrogacy, the gestational carrier may receive between $30,000-$70,000 in base compensation. Surrogates should never be in this for the money, but base compensation is seen as a fair exchange for the physical and emotional toll the surrogacy process can take on a woman. Compassionate surrogates are harder to find, for obvious reasons, which is why most of these arrangements occur between people who already know one another.
Alternatively, you could save money by choosing a first-time surrogate.
First-time surrogates typically receive a lower base compensation than surrogates who have a proven track record of successful surrogacy pregnancies. By working with a first-time surrogate, you could save anywhere from $5,000-$35,000 on surrogate compensation.
Pursue Independent Surrogacy Without an Agency
Another way to save on a large portion of the surrogacy cost is by choosing the DIY route, without a surrogacy agency. There are pros and cons to this, and to a large part, your decision boils down to your personal level of comfort and preference.
A surrogacy agency will walk with you through the whole process, from coordinating your professional team of doctors, lawyers, and counselors, to matching you with your perfect surrogate. Many first-time parents via surrogacy choose this simply because the surrogacy process feels so overwhelming and complicated.
Of course, these agency perks come at a cost. Surrogacy agency fees can range from $100,000-$130,000, and sometimes even more. Don’t expect independent surrogacy to fully cut that cost for you, since agencies typically build in things like legal, screening, or escrow fees to their all-inclusive price. Still, an independent surrogacy can save you tens of thousands of dollars.
Independent surrogacy without an agency is possible, and in fact, we have a step-by-step course to demystify the entire process for you—for less than $1,000. Surrogacy Roadmap makes independent surrogacy without an agency attainable, saving you tens of thousands of dollars in agency fees.
Explore Healthcare Benefits for Surrogacy
We all know medical costs can add up quickly, and that is certainly true with surrogacy. IVF, medications and screenings, embryo transfer fees, maternity care for the surrogate…getting clear on exactly what your and your surrogate’s health benefits cover and what they do not will be key to keeping medical costs as low as possible.
First, find out what your coverage is for IVF or other fertility treatments. Some plans will cover the cost of in vitro fertilization during the embryo creation process, or they may pay for medications and testing.
If your gestational surrogate has her own health insurance, find out if her policy has a surrogacy exclusion. If not, her maternity care may be covered, saving you the cost of purchasing a separate policy for her. If your surrogate lives in Nevada, you’re in luck! The state recently became the first to require insurance carriers to cover maternity care for every woman, whether she is carrying for herself or for a surrogacy arrangement.
Lastly, your FSA (flexible spending account) or HSA (health savings account) may cover some related fees. IVF fees related to your own diagnosis of infertility are typically eligible, such as egg retrieval, sperm donation, embryo creation, and prescription medications for IVF. Compensation and medical fees for the surrogate are not eligible, but sometimes legal fees, like the drafting of a surrogacy agreement, can be.
Consult a tax and/or insurance professional to help you navigate the ins and outs of insurance and benefits. If you can find a way to save money through health insurance, it will be well worth all the paperwork and fine print you’ll be wading through!
Download our free surrogacy budget planner here
Are you ready to make your dreams of parenthood into a reality? Get your step-by-step guide to independent surrogacy today → Surrogacy Roadmap