It is one of the first questions for nearly every hopeful intended parent: How much is surrogacy?
There are many factors influencing the total cost of surrogacy. To gain an accurate understanding of overall surrogacy costs, intended parents need to understand the various services required throughout the surrogacy process.
Gestational surrogacy cost can be broken down into two main categories: agency fees and variable expenses. Below, find information about the various services included in each of these categories, how they can impact the total surrogacy cost, and the average total cost of surrogacy with some of the biggest surrogacy professionals across the country.
Agency fees are paid to the surrogacy professional and cover all of the services provided by the agency, including background checks, screenings, support and education, advertising, marketing and more. Agency fees should remain fixed, regardless of how long it takes to complete the surrogacy process.
The agency fees intended parents pay will vary based on their state and the surrogacy professional they choose to work with. Intended parents who choose to complete an independent surrogacy will save on agency fees. However, they will also miss out on the following services, which help ensure the surrogacy is completed safely and successfully.
Some intended parents choose to work with an identified surrogate — someone they already personally know. However, many intended parents choose to find a prospective surrogate using an agency’s advertising services.
Advertising expenses often make up a large portion of agency fees. These expenses may be used for online advertising as well as traditional ads, networking with other surrogacy professionals, and more. Often, if a surrogacy professional spends more time and money on advertising, they will have more prospective surrogates to work with. The more advertising and surrogates an agency has, the better chance intended parents have of quickly finding a surrogacy opportunity.
When selecting a surrogacy professional, look for full-service agencies that provide professional advertising services. Successful agencies often have a dedicated marketing team and have spent time researching advertising strategies to deliver the best results to clients.
Here are some questions to ask a surrogacy professional that may help you keep your advertising costs down:
- How much does it cost to advertise with your agency?
- Are these costs included in the total surrogacy cost you quoted us, or will we pay separate advertising fees?
- Do you charge a flat advertising fee, regardless of how long it takes us to match with a prospective surrogate?
- Will we need to renew our advertising services after a certain amount of time?
- What advertising methods do you use? Are all of your advertising services included in the advertising fee?
- What is your average wait time for intended parents?
After successfully reaching prospective surrogates through advertising services, an agency’s matching services then help prospective surrogates and intended parents find each other.
Matching expenses generally cover intended parent and gestational carrier screening, background checks, medical evaluations, psychological evaluations and home assessments to ensure everyone working with the agency is safe and ready to commit to the surrogacy process. In addition, matching fees cover the creation of a surrogacy plan and intended parent profile.
The matching services provided by a surrogacy professional help potential surrogates and intended parents find a match whose needs, plans and goals fit well together. These services are very important in finding a compatible match, which is very important in ensuring the success of the surrogacy process.
As you compare agencies’ matching services, consider the following questions:
- How do you match intended parents to prospective surrogates? What criteria do you use to make a match?
- Do you have media specialists on staff to help us create our intended parent profile? Is there an additional fee for this service?
- How do you screen prospective surrogates?
- How is contact between surrogates and intended parents handled throughout the matching process?
Counseling, Education and Support
Surrogacy is a complex and emotional journey, both for intended parents and surrogates. Surrogacy professionals are experts in navigating the process and can provide all of the education and resources intended parents and surrogates need to understand surrogacy. In addition, agencies employ licensed professionals to provide ongoing support and counseling to the intended parents and gestational carrier before, during and after surrogacy.
These services account for a small portion of the overall surrogacy cost but can provide vital support for intended parents and surrogates throughout the process.
Learn more about your professional’s counseling and support services and fees by asking the following questions:
- What portion of the agency fee goes toward education, case management, counseling and support?
- What counseling and support services do you provide? What educational and informational resources will we have access to throughout the process?
- Do you charge separate fees for case management or counseling services? Is there a flat fee for these services, or do you charge an hourly rate?
- Do you have qualified social workers or counselors on staff, or do you outsource these services at an additional fee?
Additional Agency Services
Full-service surrogacy agencies are responsible for generally overseeing the surrogacy process and coordinating the necessary services along each step of the way. Your professional may provide additional services, aside from those listed above, that are included in the agency fee.
For example, your agency will likely provide insurance assessment services to determine whether the surrogate’s insurance will cover the pregnancy and delivery. Intended parents will have to pay all premiums, copays and deductibles for the surrogate’s insurance during her pregnancy, which can also contribute to the overall surrogacy cost.
In addition, the intended parents may be required to complete an in-home assessment during the screening process when signing on with an agency. You will be responsible for covering the cost of this assessment, which may be performed by your professional or outsourced to a professional specializing in surrogacy home assessments.
Be sure to ask potential surrogacy professionals about any additional services that are included in the agency fees, as well as unforeseen additional costs that you may be responsible for.
The second category of surrogacy costs is variable expenses. These expenses can change significantly depending on a number of factors, including each intended parent’s individual circumstances. Legal services, medical expenses and surrogate compensation are three of the most expensive variable costs in surrogacy.
Surrogacy involves legal contracts that outline each party’s responsibilities, surrogate compensation, and more. The intended parents and surrogate will each need an attorney to negotiate and draft this contract, as well as complete other necessary services. Legal expenses will vary based on state laws and the amount of legal work required in particular circumstances.
Additional legal services may be required based on each family’s situation. For example, in traditional surrogacy, legal steps will need to be taken to terminate the surrogate’s parental rights. If genetic material from a donor is used, the non-biological intended parent may need to complete the legal adoption process to have full parental rights.
It is difficult to determine an average cost for legal surrogacy services because of variations in laws and processes. Ask your surrogacy professionals to ensure you will receive the quality legal services you need at a reasonable cost:
- Do you coordinate legal services, or will I need to contact an attorney on my own?
- Is there an additional fee for you to consult with an attorney on my behalf?
- Will legal fees be paid to you or directly to the attorney completing the legal work?
- On average, how much can intended parents expect to spend on legal services?
- What services are included in the legal cost you quoted me?
Because the surrogacy process involves many medical procedures, these expenses often make up a significant portion of the overall surrogacy cost. Depending on the course of your surrogate’s pregnancy and your insurance situation, these costs can add up quickly.
Intended parents will need to pay for IVF treatments and fertility medications, which can vary based on the number of transfer attempts required to achieve a successful pregnancy. In addition, intended parents are responsible for all prenatal care costs and any other medical procedures required throughout the process. If an egg or sperm donor is used to create the embryo, the intended parents will also need to pay a fee for this service.
Total medical expenses can also vary depending on a surrogate’s insurance situation and any special medical treatment required during the course of the pregnancy. While medical expenses are often difficult to estimate, here are some questions to ask your surrogacy professional to get a more accurate idea of overall medical costs:
- What are some common medical procedures and expenses that an intended family might encounter throughout the process?
- How do you help limit medical expenses incurred by the intended parents?
- How do you ensure a surrogate’s insurance covers her pregnancy and delivery and that an intended parent’s insurance will cover the baby’s medical care?
- What if the surrogate does not have health insurance?
Surrogate Compensation and Reimbursement
In paid surrogacy, surrogate compensation is often one of the most major expenses for intended parents. In addition to covering all of her legal, medical, counseling and travel expenses, intended parents will provide base compensation and a monthly allowance to their surrogate to cover all pregnancy-related costs and compensate her for her time, energy and sacrifices.
The amount of compensation a surrogate receives depends on a number of factors, including her experience with surrogacy, her insurance coverage and the course of her pregnancy. In addition to her base compensation, she will receive a monthly allowance to cover expenses, plus supplemental payments for maternity clothes, lost wages, carrying multiples (if applicable), and invasive procedures she may need during the pregnancy, and more.
Because of the number of factors impacting a surrogate’s compensation, it can be difficult to estimate exactly how much a surrogate will be paid. Here are some questions to ask your professional as you budget for surrogate compensation:
- What is your base compensation for first-time surrogates? For experienced surrogates?
- What additional compensation does the surrogate receive throughout her pregnancy? How much money does she receive for the following:
- Monthly allowance for pregnancy and surrogacy expenses? What is covered in this allowance?
- Embryo transfer? Will be responsible for the embryo transfer fee for each attempt?
- Maternity clothes?
- Carrying multiples?
- Termination or fetal reduction?
- Invasive procedures? How does your agency define invasive procedures?
- Mock and canceled cycles?
- Lost wages?
- Bed rest compensation, such as housekeeping and childcare costs?
- Loss of reproductive ability?
- How common are the above expenses?
- What other surrogate compensation will we be responsible for?
- How much, on average, does a family spend on total surrogate compensation?
- What is your fee schedule?
Calculating Overall Surrogacy Costs
Clearly, there are many factors to consider when determining the overall cost of surrogacy. Surrogacy expenses can add up quickly, so it is important for intended parents to do careful research and consider multiple surrogacy professionals before choosing the one that is financially right for them.
As you continue your research, here are some additional questions to ask prospective surrogacy professionals:
- What services and fees are included in the total cost you quoted us? Which services are separate?
Ask whether the above services are included in the overall price, and find out whether any fees will expire and need to be renewed.
- What expenses are variable? Aside from medical and legal services and surrogate compensation, be aware of other expenses that may change over the duration or the pregnancy. Services included under “agency fees” should be flat, one-time fees.
- Worst-case scenario, how much should we budget to spend on the surrogacy? Can we set a maximum budget? Variable expenses are difficult to predict, but agencies may be able to quote you a maximum estimated cost. Ask whether the professional can guarantee a successful surrogacy within a set budget.
- What if the match doesn’t work out? Sometimes, even after multiple attempts at an embryo transfer, intended parents may need to be re-matched with a different surrogate. Ask how the price will vary if multiple attempts or matches are required.
As you speak with your surrogacy professional to determine your overall surrogacy costs, look out for low estimates, recurring fees, hidden costs and cut services. These can be red flags, and intended parents should carefully compare agencies and select one that is upfront about surrogacy costs and the services they provide.
As you can see, it can be difficult to predict various surrogacy costs and provide an average overall cost of surrogacy. Surrogacy fees and professionals’ quotes are not always simple and straightforward, and it is important to ensure you fully understand a professional’s fee structure and services before committing to them. However, with careful research, you can find the surrogacy professional that is financially right for you.
Below, find links to the cost of gestational surrogacy with some of the nation’s top surrogacy professionals:
American Surrogacy provides complete surrogacy services to prospective surrogates across the country and prospective intended parents around the world. Most of their surrogacy expenses are variable, but the agency provides an estimated total cost of surrogacy ranging from $75,000–$125,000.
Circle Surrogacy provides a full line of surrogacy and egg donation programs. According to their website, the cost for gestational surrogacy ranges from $100,000 to $150,000 depending on the program chosen. Intended parents are advised to allow for 10–15 percent above their standard program estimates for unforeseen developments.
3 Sisters Surrogacy
3 Sisters Surrogacy agency estimates total surrogacy costs to be $60,000–$100,000.
Reproductive Possibilities includes a list of estimated expenses, with total expenses estimating $60,000–$80,000 — however, this amount does not include costs for the medical procedure and pregnancy.
West Coast Surrogacy
West Coast Surrogacy provides an average cost estimate of $60,000–$120,000 depending on individual arrangements. A list of fees and costs is available on the agency’s website.
Simple Surrogacy lists some common surrogacy fees and costs on the agency website.
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