Want to be a surrogate mother but wonder if it’s worth it? Just like any other pregnancy, it takes a lot to be a surrogate mother, emotionally and physically. Throughout the journey, you will have to commit a lot of time and energy to go to doctor’s appointments and undergo several procedures. Hence, it only makes sense to wonder how much you get paid to be a surrogate.
We’ve surfed numerous sources, and here’s what we found out; surrogates are generously compensated financially. In fact, they don’t just receive a one-time, big-time payment, but they get financial aid for any pregnancy-related expenses, lost wages, and more.
How Much Is the Surrogate Mother’s Compensation?
The average surrogate pay ranges from $30,000 to $40,000 for first-time gestational surrogates and up to $68,000 for experienced surrogates. This is only the base pay, though, and the total amount depends on several factors, including:
- Added benefits
- Surrogate’s experience
- Reimbursement of any surrogacy-related expenses throughout the surrogacy journey
- The intended parents
For first-time surrogates, it might be enticing to join surrogacy agencies online with incredibly high rates. However, many of these can be misleading. Many agencies pay less than what they’ve advertised for first-timers. Although it makes sense, the fact that they’ve kept it hidden makes the agency unreliable and sketchy!
Furthermore, if a surrogacy agency posted a number that’s a bit higher than usual, then that’s probably their rate for an experienced surrogate, not a newbie!
What Does a Surrogate Pay Include
When you become a surrogate mother, you don’t just receive a large sum of money from the intended parents up front. Instead, the intended parents provide for every expense incurred in the surrogacy process, including monthly payments for allowance, health insurance, and more.
To give you a better idea, here is a breakdown of the different benefits your surrogacy pay may include:
- Base Compensation
Right at the beginning, surrogates get paid a base compensation that may vary from one surrogate to another based on the state they live in and their experience. As mentioned before, a first-time surrogate can expect around $30,000 to $40,000 base compensation. In contrast, experienced surrogates have higher payments. The more surrogate pregnancies you’ve had, the higher your base pay.
The intended parents will pay the base compensation monthly, starting as soon as the ultrasound detects a heartbeat. They will pay you for nine months and will pay off the remaining balance within 14 days post-delivery.
- Surrogacy Related Expenses
Apart from the base pay, the total surrogate mother compensation includes any expenses incurred during the surrogacy process. The intended parents need to cover the medical costs and procedures, including:
- Medical screening costs (one-time)
- Medical clearance finalization fee (one-time)
- Surrogate injection (one-time; paid at every start of a new cycle)
- Embryo transfer (one-time)
- Confirmation of heartbeat (one-time)
Additionally, intended parents will also need to provide the surrogate with a monthly allowance to ensure that the surrogate mother experiences a healthy surrogate pregnancy. The monthly allowance will start after signing the surrogacy contract and ends a month after the agreed date. The intended parents will provide additional payments for maternity clothing, travel, and childcare expenses. After all, you will spend several small payments throughout pregnancy, which is a tremendous amount of money.
In case of multiple pregnancies, like twins or more, the intended parents must also add payment per baby.
- Reimbursement of Lost Wages
The mother may miss work during surrogate pregnancy due to nausea, fatigue, and postpartum issues. To make up for this, the mother will also receive surrogate compensation for lost wages as long as they can provide a medical certificate as proof. For this reason, the surrogates must give proof of income before signing the contract.
The intended couple will also compensate your spouse for any work they miss because of the surrogacy. For instance, if the mother receives a bed rest order, if the spouse needs to attend surrogacy appointments or spouse testing. The spouse must be transparent in these cases and present proof of lost wages.
Lost wages compensation is provided for up to:
- Four weeks post-vaginal delivery
- Six weeks post-C-section delivery
- The whole bed rest duration (should be declared on the contract)
- Other Medical Expenses Incurred
Like any other pregnancy, surrogacy has risks and will not always go as smoothly as you wish. Hence, intended parents should also be ready in case there’s a need to conduct any invasive procedure during pregnancy.
These procedures include but are not limited to the following:
- Mock cycles
- Canceled Cycle
- Fetal Reduction
- Ectopic Pregnancy
- Termination of Pregnancy
Who Is Qualified to Be a Surrogate Mother?
Before determining your ability to become a surrogate, you should ensure that your local laws permit surrogacy. Along with finding a good agency, you must also research the laws and guidelines surrounding it and study them thoroughly to keep yourself safe and the process legal.
Not everyone can be a surrogate. Although the end reward for the surrogacy process is attractive, it also comes with heavy commitment and high risk. After all, surrogates have to temporarily house someone else’s baby for nine months or more. During that period, anything could happen — surrogate mothers may experience pregnancy-related problems and extreme lifestyle changes. Some may also have difficulty giving up the baby after forming a bond with them.
Due to this, potential surrogates need to pass specific qualifications to become a surrogate officially. This may vary from one surrogacy agency to another. However, the essential factor is that they are 100% aware of what they’re getting themselves into and are ready for it.
Now the qualifications may differ from one agency to another. However, there are three basic qualifications to becoming a surrogate common to all:
As a surrogate mother, you must be physically capable of undergoing a gestational pregnancy with the least possible risk for you and the intended parents’ baby. Otherwise, the expenses will skyrocket, and your health and safety as a carrier will also be compromised.
Here are the basic surrogate physical qualifications according to surrogacy specialists:
- The potential surrogate must be at least 21 years old and not beyond 40 years old
- The potential surrogate must have a healthy BMI
- Must have experienced at least one successful pregnancy
- They must have their own child at home
- Must NOT be on anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications for at least a year
- Must not have new piercings or tattoos within a year of starting the surrogacy process.
Being mentally qualified is as important as being physically fit. This is because surrogates have to devote at least a year of partnership with the intended parents since you will be helping them get pregnant. You’ll have to undergo medical processes for them, attend doctor’s appointments, etc. Hence, As a surrogate, it’s important to maintain a good relationship with the intended parents, as they will provide for everything you will need, similar to a full-time job.
Apart from that, you will also have to deal with hormonal changes, nausea, and sometimes emotional attachment. This rarely happens among qualified surrogates, though. However, a strong mindset and emotional stability can easily prevent this issue. After all, there are aspiring parents waiting for their miracle to happen, and it would be cruel (not to mention illegal) to take that away from them at the last minute!
To ensure that you’re mentally ready to become a surrogate, you must visit a surrogacy professional. They will walk you through everything you need to know and expect during the pregnancy and will help you prepare for the hurdles ahead.
Professional Surrogacy Screening
If you feel confident that you have everything an intended parent could look for, then it’s time to get your final examination with a surrogacy specialist. At this stage, you will undergo medical and psychological examinations that will confirm your validity as a surrogate.
First things first, you will need to fill out some paperwork. Then, you and your spouse will have an in-depth conversation with the specialist. This will be your screening, which will help the specialist determine whether or not you are a suitable surrogate.
After receiving the signal, you will then undergo a final medical screening before the surrogacy process. This process will confirm that you can safely undergo gestational surrogacy. You can sign the surrogacy contract right after!
Does It Cost Money to Be a Surrogate Mother?
As a surrogate, you will not pay a single dime for anything surrogacy-related. All you have to do is ensure that you keep yourself and the intended parents’ baby healthy, and everything else will be provided.
However, you should understand that all of this is tied with many potential health problems, time, and physical and emotional stability.
Nonetheless, the end reward is satisfying. Not only because of the financial compensation but because you’ve just successfully helped a couple fulfill their dreams.
To sum it up, surrogates get a surrogate payment that ranges from $30,000 to $68,000 in base compensation, depending on the agency and the surrogate’s experience. This does not include any other medical-related expenses, lost wages reimbursement, and emergency invasive procedures.
To become a surrogate, you don’t just need to be physically and mentally prepared for the challenge, but you also need to visit a specialist and get evaluated. Remember, as a surrogate mother, you’re here to help aspiring parents reach a dream.