How Much Does a Surrogate Cost?

By Willow Breckenridge | Jun 17, 2022

Surrogacy is an excellent idea for couples who cannot or do not want to conceive and carry a child themselves. Through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or egg donation, a surrogate can carry a pregnancy to term for any individual or a couple. Nearly 1,000 births per year are a result of gestational surrogacy. Surrogacy might be an excellent opportunity for people, but how much does a surrogate cost? They have their own expenses — and it might be more than you think.

The Total Expense of Surrogacy

To understand the expenses of surrogacy, you must know the two different types. Traditional or partial surrogacy occurs when the surrogate uses their own genetic material to contribute to conception. Gestational surrogacy happens when the surrogate simply carries the embryo that was already formed thanks to a couple’s, or an individual and donor’s, genetic material. 

Either way, it isn’t easy to put a price on this process because it is so tricky. In fact, some countries have even outlawed commercial surrogacy, leaving only altruistic surrogacy as a feasible option for eligible individuals and couples. In the United States, the price of surrogacy varies state by state. The average price for surrogacy in the country is anywhere from $120,000 to $150,000.

Rest assured, if you’re thinking of surrogacy, you won’t have to pay the entire sum all at once. Each part is paid at different times or trickled throughout the surrogate’s pregnancy, making it much more manageable. Still, if you are considering finding a surrogate, make sure to start saving your money for it before beginning the process.

How Much Does a Surrogate Cost: A Breakdown

Luckily, you won’t have to spend all your budget at once. Another bit of good news is that surrogacy may be more affordable in some states than in others. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect your dollars to go to when you hire a surrogate. These prices are chosen as a sweeping average — so by looking in your state, you should have a better idea of how much each portion will cost.

1. Surrogate Fees

Surrogate fees are sort of the “salary” your surrogate gets paid by going through pregnancy. Pregnancy can take a toll on a person’s body and alter them physically in several ways. Along with that, when people carry a child, they have to go through medical procedures associated with pregnancy, labor, contractions and so much more. 

The compensation for carrying a child is anywhere from $30,000 to $75,000, depending on the state of the surrogate and how much the agent who finds the surrogate prices them at. This cost is typically paid in full once you sign an agreement with the surrogate, making it the heftiest cost of the surrogacy process.

2. Agency Fees

Unless you know a surrogate yourself, you’ll likely have to go through an agency to find a surrogate that fits your needs, as fertility clinics typically don’t match you with a surrogate. The agency you go through takes a fee for matching you with the perfect surrogate. You should expect to pay around $10,000 to $30,000 to an agency when they start matching you with potential surrogates.

Surrogacy requires a legal process. A lawyer can help you understand the technical jargon of a contract, and they can guide you through the journey by keeping your rights and best interests in mind. Legal counsel can protect your rights to the child after they’re born and outline every scenario, no matter how unlikely.

Because of these legal formalities, you’ll have to afford legal counsel. You might have to pay $10,000 to $15,000 for legal services, though the price could vary widely depending on how you know the lawyer. The surrogate will also have a lawyer to look over the surrogacy contract, and most often, the intended parent or parents will cover the fee.

4. Medical Fees

Pregnancy comes with plenty of visits to a doctor. You want your surrogate to get regular check-ups so you can keep a benchmark of your future child’s health. Still, medical procedures like IVF, screenings and bloodwork can add up over time. Luckily, depending on the agency you work with, you might be able to stagger these payments out throughout the gestational period. Still, you should block off anywhere from $8,000 to $30,000 of your funds for these nine months.

5. Miscellaneous Fees

Surely, there will be some fees you haven’t accounted for. Some surrogacy contracts may require that you buy maternity clothes and other furnishings for the surrogate. You may also have to cover insurance costs if the surrogate’s private insurance doesn’t cover cases such as surrogacy. Keep some extra money in your pocket just in case, as it could prove handy when staring in the face of miscellaneous expenses.

Consider Saving for Surrogacy

Though the numbers look more reasonable when broken down, surrogacy is a process that individuals should think about first. How much does a surrogate cost? Plenty of money, but it also costs a lot of planning and financial and emotional toil throughout the journey, like any other pregnancy. It isn’t something you should rush into headfirst — especially if you may want multiple children or may have to try a few times to get a pregnancy to stick. Just create a budgeting plan, and if you want a child in the future, start saving for them now. It’ll be worth it once you hold your precious bundle in your arms.

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