In the US, gestational surrogacy involves less complex legal work since both parents will have genetic ties to the unborn child.
Suddenly, more and more people are finding fewer problems with having their babies born by other women. Almost 750 children are delivered by surrogacy in America yearly.
So, how much does a surrogate cost? Without mincing words, surrogacy can be very expensive. Your cost will increase depending on the peculiarity of your situation.
In this article, we’ll be examining the financial implications of surrogacy. We’ll look at the average cost and the fees you’ll incur to have your baby by a surrogate mother.
If you are planning to outsource your childbearing duties and want to know how much it will cost, we encourage you to read this article to the very end.
Why People Turn to Surrogacy
People opt for surrogacy for various reasons. Some common ones are singleness, infertility, being in a same-sex marriage situation, health complications, and personal preferences.
Whichever way you choose to go about it, starting a family is not cheap. From hospital bills and mother care to baby essentials, you must have a solid financial foundation before you venture into the new but exciting world of parenting.
In today’s landscape, having a baby through traditional means is the cheapest. However, recent trends and peculiar circumstances have paved the way for non-conventional childbearing routes, which unsurprisingly increases the cost of starting a family. Surrogacy is the most common alternative route people adopt, especially in America.
The Average Cost of Surrogacy In 2022
Several factors determine the average cost of surrogacy. First of all, the type of surrogacy you choose. There are two significant types of surrogacy; gestational and traditional surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother donates an egg. Hence, she contributes her genetic material and is the child’s biological mother.
Traditional surrogacy is not a commonly adopted alternative since it involves many paperwork and legal obligations. Psychological and emotional issues pose a threat too.
However, traditional surrogacy tends to cost less on average.
The carrier does not contribute to the baby’s genetic makeup in gestational surrogacy. Their role is to safely carry the fetus to full term and deliver the baby to the parents.
This is a contractual agreement; the surrogate mother receives financial compensation and walks away after completing the job.
Based on the lack of emotional investments in the process by the surrogate mother, gestational surrogacy tends to be a lot more expensive.
Second, the average cost of having a baby through a surrogate mother may also be influenced by factors like age, location of the carrier, and insurance coverage.
In some states in America, surrogacy can cost anywhere between $100,000 to $250,000.
Furthermore, the procedure and the type of surrogacy you choose entails will have an impact on the overall cost. Traditional surrogacy may sometimes require legal fees when trying to make complete adoption and custody arrangements.
Cost Breakdown – Fees You Are Likely to Pay for Surrogacy
The cost of medical procedures, surrogate compensation, legal fees, agency fees, and insurance coverage are some of the likely contributors to the overall cost of surrogacy.
In the United States, this cost would increase or decrease depending on the state you or the surrogate mother lives in. For instance, if you choose a state where surrogates are in demand, you should expect to pay higher. California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, and Nevada are some states with increased demand for surrogates. Some of these states may add similar fees to the cost, but the peculiarities of each case go along in determining the final price.
In most states, the average compensation for the surrogate mother could fall anywhere between $35,000 to $45,000. Californian surrogates may command a higher fee due to increased demand.
The surrogacy process starts with sperm or egg-freezing procedures. Next is the Vitro fertilization process, also called IVF. Sometimes, families may need to repeat this procedure several times before a successful conception. These trials may add to the overall cost of surrogacy.
- Surrogacy Arrangements
Most surrogacy arrangements include fertility testing fees, surrogate compensation, agency fees, legal costs, pregnancy expenses, and more. In addition, the intended parents may have to pay for unforeseen occurrences and incidents.
- General Surrogate Fees
The compensation for the gestational carrier (GC) varies depending on whether she is experienced or new in the surrogacy business. The cost increases in the case of multiple pregnancies.
However, you should expect to pay between $35,000 to $45,000 as the base fee for first-time GCs in the United States. Depending on the carrier, you could make this payment once or in monthly installments of about $2500 to $3000 every month. Payment will typically begin after the first fetal heartbeat.
If you wish to choose a surrogate for a second pregnancy, you should expect the cost to go up since she’s now considered an experienced GC. An additional fee could increase the cost by as much as $5000.
If you have an excellent working relationship with your carrier and wish to go for a third pregnancy, you may have to pay an additional $7000. These prices may fluctuate depending on the state and the peculiarities of your situation.
Furthermore, you should expect more expenses if the GC becomes pregnant with twins. If the surrogate is pregnant with triplets, additional costs could rise to as much as $10,000.
- Cost for Medical Procedures
The type of surrogacy you pick will determine how much you spend at this stage. Traditional IVF for traditional surrogacy tends to cost less than what you’d have in gestational IVF surrogacy.
Traditional IVF could cost about $12,500 to $14,000. The gestational surrogacy IVF procedures could cost $20,000 (small changes in cost could come up depending on hospital policies and operational costs). However, the embryo transfer fee is not included in the base fee, and this procedure alone can add up to $1000 to the base fee.
Some complications during pregnancy may also add to the cost of the overall process. Invasive procedures, including chorionic villus sampling or fetal reduction, dilation and curettage (D&C), and cerclage, are not standard. But may add to the cost of the surrogacy procedure.
Other medical costs could include; loss of fallopian tubes, pregnancy termination, hysterectomy (loss of uterus), C-section, ectopic pregnancy, and selective reduction.
These complications do not occur very often, and they are incidental and unexpected occurrences that may arise, so they may not necessarily add to the cost of surrogacy.
Lastly, intended parents should prepare for costs outside of the IVF clinic. These extra costs could fall anywhere between $2500 to $5000.
- Screening Costs
Part of the surrogacy procedure is screening the people involved. The company would have to interview the intended parents and the surrogate. Moreover, if the surrogate has a spouse, they also need to screen him.
General screening procedures include criminal background checks, psychological screening, and medical checks. The medical screening involves the surrogate and spouse, and this varies from one case to the other.
The average cost for any of these procedures is $1000.
The medical checks involve screening the surrogate and her spouse (if any). It includes a blood screening panel to confirm the surrogate suitability for the process. The blood screening will reveal if she or her spouse carries any sexually transmitted disease (STD). Furthermore, her uterus will undergo a check as well by a RE.
If you are using an agency, you may get refunded up to $3000 if some screenings become unnecessary. You should check in with your agency for its operational policies to know the refunds you qualify for.
- Agency Fees
If you are new to surrogacy, the best way to venture into it is through an agency. Agencies do some of the heavy lifting for you. They help you find a compatible surrogate and offer numerous screening services to ensure both parties are emotionally, physically, and mentally ready for the entire process. Also, agencies coordinate communications and engagement between medical professionals and law officials.
Bear in mind that you can attempt the entire surrogacy process without the help of an agency. However, they may be an excellent guide for people venturing into surrogacy. They also offer some sort of security that inexperienced intended parents may need.
If you opt to use an agency, note that you will have to pay between $15000 to $30000, according to reports by experts.
- Legal Fees
Though it can be stressful, legal work is a vital part of surrogacy. Attorneys develop legal surrogacy agreement documents that outline each party’s behavioral and financial obligations. For example, the legal documents may mandate the surrogate mother to avoid cigarettes and alcohol during the pregnancy. Moreover, the surrogate mother needs maternity wear for the duration of the pregnancy. Hence, the intended parents may need to reimburse her.
These lawyers will also prepare papers for legal custody of the baby and other legal surrogacy services. How much you pay for legal work depends on the arrangements. Legals free are not fixed; each law firm can charge you depending on the situation.
Based on current practice, intended parents should budget around $10,000 for legal fees. The cost could rise or fall depending on whether there’s a need for an egg donor agreement. State requirements may have an impact on the final price too.
To avoid future glitches, intended parents should employ the services of an experienced company to manage the financial agreements reached by you, the lawyers, and the surrogate. This company must be one you can trust to manage the financial aspect of the surrogacy process. To this end, we recommend that you hire the services of an escrow account manager, which may cost you an additional $1000.
- Labor and Delivery
Childbirth in the United States, for example, can be very expensive. The cost may change if you and the surrogate live in another country with a healthcare structure like the US. According to new statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the average cost of delivering a baby in the United States is $18,865. This cost covers the pregnancy duration, child delivery, and postpartum care.
However, if the surrogate mother has health insurance, the insurance company will take up a large chunk of this cost.
The intended parents will have to pay deductibles, co-insurance, and copays.
If the surrogate mother doesn’t have health insurance and the intended parents still want to cut costs, you can purchase a short-term or maternity-only policy.
- Other Expenses
As we’ve pointed out already, the total cost of surrogacy can be influenced by the number you intend to have. Travel, hospitalization, cesarean delivery, and other unexpected occurrences may make the overall cost skyrocket.
Also, if the surrogate mother has a day job, the intended parents may be responsible for paying adequate compensation for lost wages. Also, life insurance may be another cost you will have to cater for.
How Expensive Is Surrogacy Insurance?
One central question on the minds of intended parents is, how many areas does surrogacy insurance cover? Does this insurance cover surrogacy arrangements?
Well, some insurance companies are pretty extensive and may cover surrogacy arrangements. However, some companies prefer a moderate insurance package that may cover unexpected occurrences. The total cost of surrogacy insurance could fall between $10,000 to $16,000.
Generally, insurers cover the cost of natural childbirth. However, some companies remove it from their coverage list. You read through the insurance documents to find services the insurance company is willing to cover.
If it is not clearly stated, there is a good chance the insurance company will cover the cost of natural childbirth since the process includes all the basics of traditional pregnancy.
Generally, the total cost generated from surrogacy arrangements will be impacted most by two factors; the cost of infertility treatment and the cost of the surrogacy pregnancy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much will surrogacy cost if I intend to employ a family member?
There is no fixed cost for this type of surrogacy arrangement. However, it is customary to expect a reduced price since you are employing someone you know personally. Also, you can hire the services of an agency to get a suitable surrogate. You won’t have to pay compensation, though you may need some legal work.
2. What will happen if the surrogate decides to keep the baby?
In the United States, the surrogate has many rights embedded in the surrogacy contract. These rights are even more profound when she contributes to the baby’s genetic makeup. But if you follow the gestational surrogacy route, the carrier has no right to custody of the baby. She has no parental rights because she is not biologically linked to the child, even if she carried the baby to full-term pregnancy.
3. What are the crucial questions to ask about surrogacy before I get involved?
To lay a strong foundation for the entire process, you must ask the surrogate the right questions:
What led her to become a surrogate? Does she have a spouse? What is their best communication style before, during, and after the pregnancy? And more.
You can also ask about their personal preferences. You can ask about their work and childcare schedule if it interests you.
4. How long will the surrogacy process take?
Newbies in the industry are often bothered about how long the surrogacy process would take and how it works. If everything goes according to plan, the process should take 15 to 18 months. This period includes when you submit the application and when your bundle of joy is born into the world.
5. Which US state is the cheapest when it comes to surrogacy?
It is challenging to pinpoint one state since surrogacy costs vary from one case to the other. Many factors can influence the overall cost of surrogacy. But if you are looking for a cheap state for surrogacy, you certainly don’t want to go to California. The state has a high rate of surrogacy successes, and hence surrogates from the state are in high demand and may cost more.
We recommend asking for estimates from different agencies if you are considering other states. It would be in your best interest to gather as much information as possible to ensure you find an option that fits your plans.
6. Are surrogate costs subject to taxes?
While there are favorable laws in the US, surrogacy issues remain controversial and have been a subject of debate by the IRS for many years. In practice, tax principles suggest that all surrogate medical expenses, including insurance expenses, medical expenses, agency fees, pregnancy, and surrogacy expenses, would fall under tax-deductible medical expenses.
However, this is not fixed since surrogacy is different in every situation. There are instances where the surrogate costs are not deducted at all. This applies to intended parents, gay and straight people.
Life is precious, and bringing a child into the world cannot be quantified using limited metrics like money. However, based on the economy and the avoidance of financial emergencies, it is wise first to ask, “how much does a surrogate cost?” before venturing into that type of business.
As stated, you’d need about $80,000 to $200,000 to finance a surrogacy process from start to finish. If this amount fits your budget, you can start sending applications to agencies you trust. In no time, your surrogacy journey will be complete, and you can welcome your baby into the world.