How Much Does Surrogacy Cost? Cost and Expenses of Using a Surrogate Mother
If you are opting for gestational surrogacy, probably the first question that went through your mind is “how much does surrogacy cost?” Taking all the cost structures into account, Intended Parents should budget for $100,000 to $150,000 for their surrogacy journey.
But having said that, if you have googled surrogacy cost, you know that the price range of different agencies varies greatly and is nonetheless puzzling. This is because it is impossible to give a pinpoint cost as the overall expenses depend on several factors and most agencies tend to show only the minimum expenses incurred.
In the following piece, we will delineate:
- Why surrogacy is costly
- Surrogacy cost structure and components
- Surrogacy Agency Fees
- Planning your surrogacy
- Financing your surrogacy
- Reducing the cost of your surrogacy journey
Why is gestational surrogacy so expensive?
First of all, we need to remember that this is a process of creating life. As the process can be complex and involves a plethora of steps and procedures, Intended Parents choosing surrogacy requires the help of many professionals and experienced people in the field of surrogacy, IVF process, egg donation, surrogacy laws, and surrogacy agency. All of these intricate matters contribute to the surrogacy cost making it an expensive but rewarding venture.
The following are included in the surrogacy cost
- Surrogacy agency fees
- IVF clinic expenses
- Egg donor compensation if needed
- Gestational carrier compensation
- Legal fees for both you and your gestational carrier)
- Medication expenses for donor and gestational Surrogate
- Travel costs (yours and the Surrogate’s)
- Extra expenses incurred during pregnancy (i.e. maternity clothes and prenatal vitamins, etc.)
- Surrogate specific health insurance
Surrogacy cost components
The best way to estimate the costs and plan your surrogacy journey is to understand how the process works, the different services, and the variables that affect the cost of surrogacy.
For better discussion, let us split the gestational surrogacy cost into two categories: agency fees and variable expenses and how they would influence your surrogacy journey.
Surrogacy agency fees
Agency fees are the charges for all the services that an agency provides during the surrogacy process. Generally, it would range from $20,000 – $30,000 in the U.S.
These surrogacy services include:
- Background checks,
- Support etc.
Intended Parents choosing a surrogacy agency need to be sure that the agency cost stays constant no matter how long the surrogacy process takes to complete.
Intended Parents don’t pay the same agency fees everywhere. The amount varies depending on the state where they reside and the agency they decide to work with.
You can proceed without a surrogacy agency, but…
Intended Parents have two options. Some decide to use a known Surrogate Mother who can be a family member, friend, or someone they know in person. Whereas many others choose to find a gestational carrier utilizing an agency.
Of course, one can save up on agency fees by going with an independent Surrogate. Albeit they will be sacrificing other services that can help ensure the success of fertility treatment.
A large chunk of the cost paid to surrogacy agencies usually goes into advertising. The agencies may use it for online advertising, conventional ads, or networking with other agencies.
Typically, the more time and money an agency spends on advertising, the more potential Surrogates they will have available. The more Surrogate mothers an agency has, the higher the chances that the Intended Parents will quickly find an ideal match that meets their requirements or preferences.
When choosing a surrogacy agency, it’s best to go for full-service agencies that offer professional ad services. Good agencies usually have a committed marketing team. They should have spent a lot of time and money researching advertising strategies that deliver success.
Following a successful ad campaign for potential Surrogates, an agency’s matching services help connect Intended Parents and Surrogates. Typically, a reputed agency charges $12,000 – $20,000 for matching services.
Matching fees usually tend to cover the following:
- Intended Parents and Surrogate screening
- Medical evaluations
- Mental evaluations and background checks
- Creating Intended Parent profile which is shared with the potential Surrogates
- Fertility tests, including hormone screening and ultrasound exams
- General medical checkup, blood work, and STD screening
- Psychological evaluation
- Legal background check
- Personal insurance review
- Possibly more tests at the request of the Intended Parents
- Travel expenses for trips of more than 50 miles
Agencies’ matching services help find a Surrogate mother whose plans, needs, and goals fit perfectly with Intended Parents’.
These services are very crucial to finding a suitable match. It is also critical to ensure the surrogacy process ends up a success.
Counseling, education, and support
Surrogacy is an emotional roller coaster ride, not only for Surrogates but also for Intended Parents. Surrogacy experts are good at navigating this process. They can help give Intended Parents and Surrogates the education and resources they need.
Additionally, agencies usually have certified professionals that can provide both parties with continuous counseling and support throughout the journey.
Although a small portion of the total surrogacy cost goes into these services, they help prepare Intended Parents and Surrogates with much-needed support during the process.
Additional agency services
Full-service surrogacy agencies oversee the entire surrogacy process and coordinate all the services needed along the line.
Apart from the services listed above, your agency may offer additional services which are also included in the agency fees. For instance, they may offer insurance assessment services to help find out if your insurance will cover pregnancy and childbirth.
Intended Parents are responsible for the Surrogate’s insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles during her pregnancy. All of these extra fees can also add to the total cost of the surrogacy program.
Additionally, when registering with an agency, the Intended Parents may have to complete an in-house assessment, which they will also need to pay for.
Before signing up with an agency, make sure you ask them about unexpected extra costs you may need to pay. Also, check about any additional services that the agency fees are already including. It is essential to have a clear view and understanding of what your quote includes and what does not.
As the name implies, these expenses are variable. These can change based on many factors such as the Intended Parent’s circumstances.
The three most expensive variable surrogacy costs are legal services, medical expenses, and Surrogate compensation.
Before starting the medical aspects of the surrogacy program, the Intended Parents and Surrogate will need to sign a legal contract. Along with the attorney fees, the costs come around $8,000 – $10,000.
The contract details the responsibilities of each party and the Surrogate compensation along with other essential components. To help draft out the contract and carry out other necessary services, you will require a lawyer. The cost of legal services can vary based on location as well as the level of legal work required.
Additional legal services may be needed depending on each intended family’s circumstances. For instance, in gestational surrogacy, some legal steps are to be taken to prevent the Surrogate mother from having parental rights over the baby.
In cases where a donor’s genetic material is put into use, the biological parent may have to undergo the legal adoption process to obtain full parental rights.
Due to variations in surrogacy laws and processes, it’s hard to determine the average cost for legal services during the journey. Hence, it is vital to discuss these variations with the agency you are going to be working with. This will ensure you receive the necessary legal support required during your surrogacy journey.
Clinic fees and medical expenses for IVF & embryo transfer
Medical expenses usually make up a large portion of the total surrogacy cost because surrogacy involves several medical procedures. A “fresh” IVF cycle is done using the eggs retrieved from either the intended mother or an egg donor. The cost of IVF itself varies from $20,000 – $30,000. However, medications, PGS/PGD genetic screening, embryo transfers procedure, multiple cycles, and other minor expenses will add up to the cost.
Additionally, Intended Parents will pay for prenatal care and other medical procedures required during the process. The hopeful parents will also be responsible for service in cases where the egg or sperm of a donor is used to form the embryo.
Medical costs can also vary based on a Surrogate mother’s insurance policy and can also change due to any special treatment needed during the pregnancy.
Although it is not easy to estimate medical expenses, you can ask your agency how much the total medical expenses should be. They can provide you with a good idea of what to expect.
Surrogate compensation and reimbursement
Surrogate compensation is one of the significant expenses Intended Parents incurred during surrogacy. With Physician’s Surrogacy, Surrogates get paid to range from $40,000 – $70,000 depending on experience and several other parameters.
Intended Parents are responsible for covering all the Surrogate’s medical, legal, travel, and counseling expenses. In addition to these expenses, Intended Parents also bear the monthly allowances for the Surrogate and base compensation to cover the pregnancy-related costs and her time and sacrifices.
The amount of compensation paid to a Surrogate depends on many factors. These factors can include her insurance coverage, her experience with surrogacy, and the course the pregnancy takes. The compensation package also depends on the average living wages of the state she is residing in.
Aside from her base compensation, the Surrogate mother also receives a monthly allowance to cover all pregnancy-related expenses. Plus, she will receive payments for lost wages, maternity wears, carrying multiples (when applicable).
Additionally, the payment includes any invasive medical procedures she might have to undergo during the pregnancy.
Prenatal care and oversight
The Surrogate will start receiving prenatal care as soon as the bHCG test confirms pregnancy. She will receive $5,000 – $10,000 that is paid monthly from an Escrow throughout the pregnancy.
These payments include scheduled visits to the obstetrician, ultrasound scans, vitamins, and hormone supplements required, and checking in with the surrogacy coordinator assigned by the agency.
At Physician’s Surrogacy, these payments are paid off by an escrow fund created specifically for surrogacy, at the beginning of the journey (which is in compliance with the regulations in the United States) as per the surrogacy agreement. This ensures that the Surrogate receives her payments timely. However unexpected expenses such as travel expenses and child care may rise as well.
Compensation is not the motive of our Surrogates
You may find that surrogacy in other countries is often substantially cheaper compared to in the U.S. However it also means that your surrogate won’t get the same level of care, guidance, safeguard, and compensation she deserves.
By doing surrogacy in the U.S. you can rest assured that your surrogate is being properly cared for and receives a generous amount of compensation that is tied to the average living wages of the state she lives in.
Remember that most Surrogates from poorer countries see surrogacy as an opportunity to get out of their economic hardship or may even be pushed to turn to surrogacy from their family.
On the other hand, women who become Surrogates with Physician’s Surrogacy have an altruistic motive as they already have plenty of other ways to make money. So, if a woman in the U.S. chooses to do surrogacy, it is always paired with the desire to make another family’s dream come true.
Calculating overall costs of surrogacy
As can be seen, there are a lot of factors you need to consider when figuring out the total cost of surrogacy.
On average, the cost of surrogacy can be between $100,000 to $150,000 including Surrogate compensation and agency fees. The cost of gestational surrogacy in California may be a bit costlier compared to other states as the Surrogates are in higher demand.
Intended Parents willing to use a Gestational Surrogate to build their family can buy separate Surrogate insurance. The premiums of such surrogacy insurance plans come around $10,000 and deductibles ranging from $15,000 – $30,000, based on the number of embryos in the womb of the Gestational Carrier.
Planning your surrogacy journey
Planning your surrogacy can feel overwhelming since there are many procedures and time commitments involved. Following the given steps will help you prepare for your surrogacy journey.
- Decide if this is the right option. Discuss with your spouse, your fertility doctor, and a surrogacy professional.
- Learn the terms and words related to surrogacy. It will help you navigate the process.
- Research the laws in your country/state. Know every aspect of the surrogacy agreement. Pay extra attention if pursuing surrogacy abroad. Consider consulting and hiring a lawyer.
- Conduct a thorough research of your surrogacy agency and fertility clinic.
- Find a match for a donor (if required) and a surrogate who align with your preferences and objectives.
- Understand and budget the costs and how they can be minimized.
- Begin the medical process. The medical process for surrogacy typically goes as: 1. intended mother/Egg Donor goes into ovarian stimulation to produce mature eggs > 2. egg retrieval > 3. egg fertilization and embryo creation > 4. embryo transferred to surrogate’s womb > 5. Surrogate carries pregnancy to term and delivers the baby. The first 3 steps are not needed if you have left out embryos from previous IVF cycles.
- After delivery, complete the post birth legal matters
- Congratulations! Take your beautiful, healthy baby home.
Cost structure of your surrogacy agency
Surrogacy expenses can add up quickly, so Intended Parents need to carry out thorough research and find out about different agencies before selecting the one that’s financially right for them.
While speaking with your surrogacy agency to know the total cost of surrogacy, pay attention to red signs. These include,
- low estimates
- hidden fees
- recurring expenses and
- cut services
These can show whether the agency is honest about their surrogacy costs and services.
Financing your surrogacy
Even though surrogacy is an expensive process, there are many useful ways you can finance the surrogacy journey. Apart from the loans, credit cards, and home equity loans, there are many organizations offering financing options for surrogacy and fertility treatments. Here are a few to help you.
Through personal savings
Using personal savings can be a great option since you’re not adding debt. We recommend setting up a special account for your journey similar to how you would for college, a new home, or a vacation.
Open a dedicated savings account. Include surrogacy savings in your budget plans. Set up an account for your surrogacy program and save money the same way you would for a new house, a college degree, or a big vacation.
Loans for covering the surrogacy Cost
Intended Parents often depend on loans to help ease the costs of gestational surrogacy. Below are some loans Intended Parents may want to consider:
Home equity loans: People who want to Become Parents may secure loans using their house as collateral. However, you need to have a good credit history to qualify for these loans.
Surrogacy loans: Some financial organizations offer loans and payment plans for Intended Parents who are dealing with infertility. A lot of these options can be used to finance a surrogacy program. Some of the organizations that offer fertility financing loans are: CapexMD, Prosper Healthcare Lending, New Life Fertility Finance.
401(k) plans: Intended Families may decide to borrow money from their savings retirement accounts. Typically, 401(K) loans allow an individual to borrow up to half of the money in his or her account. However, the money needs to be repaid within a particular timeframe. Also, the payments are made automatically through deductions from the borrower’s paycheck.
Credit cards: You can make certain surrogacy payments with credit cards. However, remember that interest on credit cards can add up pretty quickly if you don’t pay the balance on time.
Agency financing programs
A lot of surrogacy agencies give Intended Parents the chance to pay on a fee schedule instead of covering the whole surrogacy costs in advance. Some even have their own financing programs or are in partnership with financial organizations that offer fertility grants and loans. Hence, it’s important to ask your surrogacy agency for financing suggestions.
Physician’s Surrogacy is proud to be partnered with CapexMD to help Intended Parents get financing for their surrogacy journey. CapexMD specializes in working with fertility centers and third-party reproduction agencies (such as surrogacy and donor egg agencies) and their intended parents.
Their expertise and experience allow preparing custom-tailored loans that help achieve your needs while facilitating a hassle-free, comfortable, and competitive loan process.
Fundraising for collecting the surrogacy Cost
There are a lot of ways Intended Parents can raise funds for their surrogacy journey. You can choose to host an online fundraiser or become creative with special events.
Below are some fundraising ideas to help you start with:
- Host an online fundraiser with crowdfunding platforms such as YouCaring.com. This will help raise money for your surrogacy – all without any fees, deadlines, or goal requirements.
- Simply ask for donations towards your surrogacy instead of birthday or Christmas gifts.
- Consider selling baked goods, sell handmade products online through marketplaces such as Etsy. Moreover, you can also partner with a sales consultant and ask if they could get a commission from a party you host.
- Host/organize an event such as a golf tournament, silent auction, or a car wash and use all the profits to finance your surrogacy journey.
Reducing the cost of your surrogacy journey
There is a growing number of employers who cover all or some costs incurred during the surrogacy journey. If your employer doesn’t cover surrogacy, they may have benefits for your surrogate’s IVF. Reach out to your HR representative to find out if your employer can help and how.
Physician’s Surrogacy is a proud partner of Carrot that helps employers set up such specialized grants.
Friends & family members
Although we do understand that not everyone is okay with requesting financial assistance from friends or family members, this may be a good option to cover the costs of surrogacy.
One more viable option to finance surrogacy is through grants. There are many organizations that give out non-repayable funds to help relieve the financial burden of infertility treatments and surrogacy.
Note: most of these grants are awarded yearly to intended families who fulfill an organization’s criteria and complete the application process. However, each organization has its own requirements for applicants. For instance, some grants require residency in a particular state or certain religious affiliations. In most cases, surrogacy or IVF grants require that the applicant has been diagnosed with infertility.
Here is a list of organizations that provide surrogacy grants:
- Pay it Forward Fertility Grants offers grants that may be used for fertility treatments. However, the fertility clinic must belong to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) as Physician’s Surrogacy. This grant is also available for Intended Parents who want to finance their surrogacy journey.
- Baby Quest Foundation gives financial assistance to people who are unable to afford the high costs of fertility procedures such as egg freezing, IVF, artificial insemination, egg and sperm donation, embryo donation, and gestational surrogacy.
- Tinina Q. Cade Foundation Family Building Grant offers close to $10,000 to infertile families who are in need.
- Family Formation Charitable Trust (AARTA) offers financial assistance to organizations and people looking to build their families via adoption and assisted reproductive technology, such as surrogacy.
- Journey to Parenthood Grant is a charitable organization that dedicates itself to helping individuals and couples build families through fertility treatments. It offers aid for IVF, IUI, egg donation, and gestational surrogacy.
- Life Grants Foundation provides grants up to $10,000. It is for the qualified Individuals and Couples who want to cover the costs of adoption, infertility treatment, and third party reproduction such as, taking service of a Surrogate Mother.
Surrogacy grants usually depend on donations. So, if you or a close one is dealing with infertility, consider donating to an infertility or surrogacy fund to help other Intended Parents build their families.
The availability of various surrogate health insurance packages can also help ease the financial burden of this procedure as well. Thus, making it more accessible to a more significant number of couples in need.
Compare surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics
Select the right surrogacy agency. When selecting a surrogacy agency or fertility clinic, make sure to carefully inquire about their costs, programs as well as fee structures, so that you only choose the best and competitive one. Also, look for hidden fees and other expenses that are not included in the agency costs. Create a list of surrogacy/fertility professionals, agencies, fertility clinics you want to consider, and then compare their costs and services.
Contact other hopeful parents and support forums for suggestions and tips on how to afford surrogacy. People who have undergone the process may know about other loans, funds, and grants. They may also have other suggestions regarding how to raise money for your surrogacy.
It’s clear that finding out about the costs of surrogacy and the related particulars can be overwhelming. To ease it for you, our surrogacy programs offer transparency and certainty regarding the costs of surrogacy and financial planning. Say goodbye to line-item benefits packages, additional fees, and hidden costs with our Flat Rate and Surrogacy Guarantee programs.
Talk to our surrogacy experts and financial coordinators to make wiser decisions.Schedule A Consultation