Gestational surrogacy is a form of third party reproduction where a woman, known as a surrogate, carries a pregnancy for an individual or a couple. And to get right to the point – there’s no denying the fact that surrogacy comes with a hefty price tag. The cost of a surrogacy journey can range from $75,000 to $140,000. Each surrogacy case is unique and the price will depend on various medical considerations as well as personal ones. There is also the supply and demand factor which, in some states, means higher prices (i.e. when there are more intended parents looking for surrogates than there are surrogates available).
When I decided to start my family via surrogacy, I was met with a process that was both highly complicated, and expensive. In addition to this, the industry in general lacked transparency, especially where costs were concerned. These are just a few of the reasons I founded GoStork, to help more intended parents like me take the first steps in their journey, armed with better information – including the costs involved every step of the way.
In this article we’ll review the costs you should account for throughout your surrogacy roadmap ahead.
Surrogacy requires the expertise of many professionals, not only medical and fertility professionals, but also psychologists, social workers and attorneys. It also includes several assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures (egg donation, in vitro fertilization (IVF), Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)). And then of course there’s the surrogate herself.
Our article Surrogacy 101: A guide to all the terms you need to know is a great resource if you’re new to surrogacy and would like more background about the various parties, procedures and other factors involved.
Given the complex nature of the surrogacy journey, you will want a reputable surrogacy agency and its expert team assisting you along the way.
All of the above has costs associated.
Let’s dive into the individual elements that make up the total surrogacy cost.
A surrogacy agency provides a broad range of services. Agencies aim to make the whole experience as smooth and stress-free as possible as well as ensure that the process is completed safely and in line with all legal requirements.
Agency compensation refers to the fee you will pay the agency for managing your journey. This fee generally includes the matching process, overall journey support and coordination of the surrogacy professionals involved, travel arrangements for the carrier, and pre- during and post- pregnancy monitoring, among other elements.
Estimated price range: $16,000 – $35,000
The carrier is the woman who will carry the pregnancy – i.e. the surrogate. The surrogate is compensated a lump sum for carrying the pregnancy, as well as for every embryo transfer made. Apart from this, agencies factor in funds to cover travel expenses for medical screening and for the eventual embryo transfer, a maternity clothing allowance that’s higher in the case of a multiple pregnancy, any related expenses paid monthly, including housekeeping for the last month of pregnancy (in some cases only when the carrier is on bed rest).
Estimated price range: $35,500 – $55,500
This entails the psychological screening and a criminal history inquiry of the carrier and her spouse – ensuring that the surrogate working with the agency is safe and ready to commit to the process.
Estimated price range: $1,000 – $3,750
A surrogacy attorney is brought in early on in the process to ensure that everything is done in accordance with the law and to define the rights and obligations of all parties. Together with the agency, an attorney will help explain local surrogacy laws, finalize the surrogacy contract, and establish intended parents’ parental rights. Intended parents will pay for their own and the carrier’s attorney, the drafting of the contract, and for the establishment of parentage.
Estimated price range: $3,750 – $15,500
Some agencies have in-house qualified social workers or counselors, others outsource the service. Where these services are available in-house, intended parents will probably not be asked to pay separately for the service. In others, this service becomes an additional charge. Even if all is going perfectly well, psychological support before, during and after the journey is important.
Estimated price range: included – $3,500
Verifications will be made on the carrier’s private insurance policy. This is sometimes included in the agency compensation fee, but there are some agencies who charge this separately. This step is very important and is usually addressed in the contract stage of the process. In cases where the carrier’s insurance does not cover surrogacy or is not surrogacy-friendly, a new policy will need to be used. Insurance companies have no obligation to cover a surrogate pregnancy, so policies vary. A life insurance policy for the carrier, generally for a coverage of $250,000, will also have to be purchased, and will possibly include complications insurance for the carrier.
Estimated price range: $14,000 – $29,000
Contingency and Other Costs
A number of agencies add a ‘contingencies’ line to their cost overview – this can include costs for local monitoring of the carrier pre- and post-embryo transfer, as well as fees paid to the carrier in case a c-section or other invasive procedures are needed.
Other miscellaneous costs include escrow account services, an international intended parents fee (to account for additional organizational requirements), and costs for a rematch in case no surrogacy agreement is reached with the first match.
Estimated price range: $1,500 – $18,000
Other Cost-Related Factors to Consider: Refunds and Savings
Before signing off with an agency, check the fine print for their rematch policy – some agencies offer an additional rematch at no charge, while others have a price tag attached to it. There is also what’s known as the ‘sibling journey policy’ – meaning a discount for intended parents who return to the agency for a second round following a successful first surrogacy journey.
Some agencies also have a refund policy, which outlines what intended parents can request a refund for. Refund policies range from full refunds to a partial refunds or no refunds at all. There are agencies who offer a rematch policy or additional transfers, instead. The extent to which a refund can be provided also depends on the egg donors agency’s policy.
Intended parents should also ask about the agency’s policy on unutilized funds. A number of agencies refund any money remaining after the completion of the surrogacy process. This is generally done within three to six months of the process being completed.
The table below offers a thorough explanation of the costs intended parents should expect, together with their price range:
|Agency Compensation||$16,000 – 35,000|
|Carrier Compensation||Total Carrier Compensation||$35,500 – 57,000|
|Carrier’s compensation (base fee)||$27,500 – 45,000|
|Travel expenses for medical screening||$2,500|
|Travel expenses for embryo transfer||$2,500|
|Per transfer payment||$500 – 1,000|
|Monthly expenses for carrier||$1,800 – 4,000|
|Maternity clothing||$500 – 1,000|
|Housekeeping for last month of pregnancy||$135 – 1,000|
|Screening Costs||Total Screening costs||$1,000 – 3,750|
|Psychological screening of carrier and spouse||$1,000 – 3,500|
|Criminal history inquiry for carrier and spouse||$0 – 250|
|Legal fees||Total Legal Fees||$3,750 – 15,500|
|Intended parent attorney for drafting carrier’s agreement||$2,500 – 6,000|
|Carrier’s attorney||$1,250 – 1,500|
|Establish parentage attorney||$0 – 8,000|
|Psychological Support||Licensed clinical social worker’s fees for carrier||$0-3,500|
|Insurance Costs||Total Insurance Costs||$14,350 – 28,800|
|Insurance verification of carrier’s private insurance policy||$0 – 300|
|Carrier’s health insurance (if not surrogacy-friendly)||$14,000 – 27,500|
|Carrier’s life insurance policy of $250,000||$350 – 1,000|
|Other Costs||Total/Potential Other Costs||$1,500 – 18,600|
|Escrow account service||$0 – 1,500|
|International intended parents fee||$0 – 5,000|
|Total Average Cost||$75,000 – 140,000|
IMPORTANT NOTE: The above prices exclude egg donation, IVF and other potential medical procedures. Some agencies do offer surrogacy packages that include egg donation. As a rough estimate, egg donation can cost anywhere from $12,500 to $25,000 and IVF from $12,000 to $17,000, excluding fertility drugs, specialized testing, and the birth.
At such a price, the surrogacy journey can feel out of reach for many. However, there are ways through which you can make the process more affordable:
As you can see, surrogacy is a big investment but the culmination of the process – your adorable little one – makes it all worthwhile. As an intended parent, it’s important that you go over all costs with the agency you choose, ensuring that there will be no financial surprises. That’s the only way to accurately map out your budget accordingly.
GoStork is the only online platform that allows you to find, compare, and connect with your ideal surrogacy agency at no additional cost to you. We offer a one-of-a-kind comparison tool that helps intended parents compare surrogacy agencies side-by-side and point-by-point for various criteria, including fully transparent cost breakdowns by agency. I hope this helps you get started! Find your ideal surrogacy agency, here.