How Much Does Independent Surrogacy Cost?

When it comes to independent surrogacy cost, several factors come into play. If you Google “cost of surrogacy without an agency“, you will discover that the most significant variables impacting the overall cost include:

  • Surrogate expenses.
  • Location.
  • Surrogacy type (traditional or gestational).
  • The surrogate’s motivation (commercial or altruistic).

Your decisions regarding these points will shape the final cost of your surrogacy journey.

The absence of agency fees sets independent surrogacy apart as a cost-efficient alternative. Agency fees, typically ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 in the United States and Canada, can be a significant part of your surrogacy budget. By doing an independent journey, you can redirect these funds toward other aspects of your surrogacy.

What Is Independent Surrogacy?

Independent surrogacy (also known as private surrogacy or Indy surrogacy) is surrogacy that intended parents and prospective surrogates pursue without the assistance of a surrogacy agency.

Independent Surrogacy

People usually decide to pursue independent surrogacy when they already know the surrogate or intended parent, but not always. Other reasons to follow a private journey are:

  • Save money. As mentioned, going this route means one can avoid agency fees.
  • More control over the process. You will plan and coordinate every step of the journey.
  • Since no third party is involved, surrogates and prospective parents tend to have a closer relationship.

Naturally, there are some disadvantages to this type of surrogacy. For example, you will oversee the entire process without any outside help. This can be overwhelming, especially if something goes amiss. In contrast, people who work with agencies have a support team of professionals who can answer questions and provide guidance.

Remember, there is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to choosing your surrogacy path; one option is not “better” than the other. Ultimately, you should do what works for you. 

How Much Does Independent Surrogacy Cost?

As mentioned, many variables can affect the costs of an independent journey, such as location, the process chosen (traditional or gestational), and the surrogate’s motivations (commercial or altruistic).

The typical surrogacy agency fee in the US and Canada ranges from $10,000 to $40,000. Without this fee, a surrogacy budget for US surrogacy typically falls within the range of $30,000 to $80,000. At the same time, in Canada, it will be lower, from $30,000 to $60,000.

Let’s look at the various expenses that must fit into a surrogacy budget.

Advantage And Disadvantage

Standard Surrogacy Costs

The following are some expenses that are easy to estimate in advance.

Medical Expenses: Medical expenses can range from $20,000 to $40,000 or more. It includes fertility treatments, prenatal care, and delivery costs. The number of treatment cycles needed can impact this cost.

Two fertility treatments are available – Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) – the latter is usually more expensive.

Medical expenses can include anything related to medical care (from the beginning of the journey to postpartum care, including medical and psychological screenings) not covered by the surrogate’s insurance. For example, if the gestational carrier’s insurance does not cover surrogacy, the intended parents must secure proper insurance for the surrogate.

The number of cycles needed for a successful pregnancy will also impact medical expenses. However, some fertility clinics have guarantee programs that offer unlimited attempts.

Legal fees: Legal fees for drafting and reviewing surrogacy contracts typically range from $5,000 to $20,000. 

The intended parents will pay their legal fees and those of the gestational carrier because both parties need independent representation. Also, a surrogacy agreement will need to be drafted and signed.

This step also includes all the paperwork related to the declaration of parentage and the acquisition of the birth certificate.

Egg donation fees: When working with a gestational carrier, an egg donor might be required if the intended parents cannot provide the eggs. The cost can range from $10,000 to $15,000 or more.

It’s important to note that you may save on surrogacy agency fees when pursuing independent surrogacy. However, you’ll still incur costs related to medical treatments and legal services. These expenses are unavoidable regardless of whether you work with an agency or not.

Surrogate-Related Expenses

While the fees cited above are relatively easy to estimate, compensation for the surrogate can vary. Still, it often ranges from $30,000 to $50,000 or more. Below, you will have the typical surrogate mother costs to consider

  1. Monthly expenses: Anything the gestational carrier may need on a month-to-month basis. Some surrogacy arrangements only require reimbursing pregnancy-related expenses, while others will also include a base compensation. Here, the country’s surrogacy regulations will have a significant impact; for example, Canada only allows altruistic surrogacy, so base compensation agreements are not allowed.
  2. Lost wages: If the independent surrogate has a job and will need to take time off for anything during the journey or for maternity leave afterward, the intended parents will be responsible for these lost wages.
  3. Clothing Allowance: Provides compensation for purchasing maternity clothes the surrogate may need.
  4. Childcare: Not all contracts allow for childcare, but this is a potential expense.
  5. Multiples fees: A contracted fee usually requires intended parents to pay more if the carrier becomes pregnant with multiples.
  6. C-section fees: If the carrier needs a c-section, she will often be compensated for the inconvenience.
  7. Other fees as negotiated: These fees vary depending on what may be needed by the surrogate, intended parents, and regional practices.

cost breakdown surrogacy

Which Country is the Cheapest for Surrogacy?

Ukraine is considered one of the more affordable countries for surrogacy. Surrogacy costs in Ukraine tend to be lower than in the United States or Canada. However, it’s essential to consider other aspects like legal regulations, medical standards, and ethical considerations. 

Surrogacy Costs in Canada

Independent surrogacy in Canada tends to have a lower cost than in other countries, primarily because the country permits only altruistic surrogacy. In this compassionate arrangement, intended parents are typically responsible for reimbursing pregnancy-related expenses.

These expenses may include several aspects, including compensating surrogates for lost wages due to medical appointments or providing financial support for childcare.

In addition, intended parents in Canada may pay less for medical expenses than intended parents in the US due to the structure of Canada’s public healthcare system, so surrogacy in Canada is more affordable than in the US.

If you live in (or want to pursue surrogacy) in Canada, you should speak to an experienced surrogacy attorney. Your attorney will help you create a surrogacy agreement clearly stating your rights, obligations, and expenses that parents can reimburse.

Surrogacy Costs in the United States

Unlike Canada, where only altruistic surrogacy is permitted, most states in the US allow commercial surrogacy, which can potentially increase the overall cost. When estimating surrogacy costs in the US, several factors come into play:

Location: Living costs vary by state, impacting surrogate compensation. Higher expenses can increase overall costs.

Fertility Treatment: Surrogacy often involves fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Costs for these treatments can vary by clinic and procedure, impacting your budget. 

Insurance: If the surrogate doesn’t have surrogacy-friendly insurance, you may need to purchase coverage for her.


US vs Canada Surrogacy

How Can I Do Cheap Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is expensive due to its complexity and the number of professionals and fees involved. However, some options can make the process more affordable.

Due to many variables, it is challenging to estimate surrogacy costs accurately. That said, an Indy traditional journey with an altruistic surrogate in Canada may save you some money. Why?

  • Going independent means that you can avoid agency fees.
  • From a legal and emotional perspective, traditional surrogacy can be complicated because the surrogate is genetically connected with the baby. However, artificial insemination (AI) is usually cheaper than IVF.
  • Altruistic surrogates won’t request base compensation, but they will expect to be reimbursed for pregnancy-related expenses.
  • In Canada, as in the US, there are clear and favorable surrogacy regulations, but the costs of fertility treatments may be less expensive in Canada than in the US. Also, there would be no need to purchase private health insurance for the surrogate because the public Canadian health system would cover her.

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The Bottom Line

While independent surrogacy may save money by avoiding agency fees, it’s important to consider the complexities and potential challenges. Each surrogacy journey is unique, and costs can range from $30,000 to $80,000 or more. Choosing the path that best suits your family’s needs and budget is crucial.

In summary, independent surrogacy cost varies based on several factors, offering potential savings compared to agency-assisted surrogacy. However, weighing the benefits of agency support against the cost savings when making your surrogacy decision is essential. 

Always remember, no two journeys will be the same, so no two journeys will cost the same.


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Written by David
I work daily to make surrogacy available to as many intended parents, surrogate mothers and egg donors around the world as possible.

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