Surrogacy is a major decision, so having a clear estimate of the surrogacy costs can help intended parents make certain decisions. However, making such an estimate is not an easy task because there is a variety of factors (unique to everyone) to consider.
It’s not easy to answer this question because many variables can impact the cost of surrogacy, such as the surrogate mother cost, location, the type of surrogacy, the number of cycles you will need, etc.
When it comes to the type of surrogacy, independent surrogacy is cheaper than agency-assisted surrogacy because it eliminates agency fees. These fees can be a large part of the total cost. Having said that, there are pros and cons to both types of surrogacy, so before we talk about the cost of independent surrogacy, we should talk about these.
What Is Independent Surrogacy?
Independent surrogacy (also known as private surrogacy or Indy surrogacy) is surrogacy that is pursued by intended parents and prospective surrogates without the assistance of a surrogacy agency.
People usually decide to pursue an independent surrogacy when they already know the surrogate or intended parent, but not always. Other reasons to pursue 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 there is no third-party 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 quite 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 Surrogacy Cost?
As mentioned, there are many variables that 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 ranges from $30,000 – $80,000, while in Canada, it will be a bit lower ($30,000 – $60,000). Let’s look at the various expenses that need to fit into a surrogacy budget.
Standard Surrogacy Costs
The following are some of the expenses that are easy to estimate in advance.
Medical Expenses. Intended parents will need to cover the cost of fertility treatments
Of the two types of treatments 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) that is not covered by the surrogate’s insurance. For example, if the gestational carrier’s insurance does not cover surrogacy, the intended parents will have to secure proper insurance for the surrogate.
The number of cycles needed to arrive at a successful pregnancy will also impact medical expenses. However, some fertility clinics have guarantee programs that offer unlimited attempts.
Legal fees: The intended parents will pay their own 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.
These fees are unavoidable, regardless of who the surrogate is and whether you use an agency or not. In other words, even if you enlist the aid of a family member or friend, you will need to have a legal contract 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.
While the fees cited above are relatively easy to estimate, the surrogate mother costs listed below may vary significantly depending on the personal circumstances of the surrogate.
- Monthly expenses: Anything the gestational carrier may need on a month-to-month basis. Some surrogacy arrangements only require the reimbursement of 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.
- Lost wages: If the 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.
- Clothing Allowance: Provides compensation for the purchase of maternity clothes the surrogate may need.
- Childcare: Not all contracts allow for childcare, but this is a potential expense.
- Multiples fees: There is usually a contracted fee that requires intended parents to pay more if the carrier becomes pregnant with multiples.
- C-section fees: If the carrier needs a c-section, she will often be compensated for the inconvenience.
- Other fees as negotiated: These fees vary depending on what may be needed by the surrogate, intended parents, and regional practices.
Surrogacy Costs in Canada
Only altruistic surrogacy is allowed in Canada; therefore, only pregnancy-related expenses may be reimbursed.
Surrogates may be paid for anything from lost wages (due to appointments) to childcare for their own children.
In addition, intended parents in Canada may sometimes pay less for medical expenses than intended parents in the US due to the structure of Canada’s public healthcare system, so usually 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 that clearly states your rights, obligations, and expenses that can be reimbursed.
Surrogacy Costs in United States
Contrary to Canada, most states in the US allow commercial surrogacy.
There are a few things to consider when estimating the costs of surrogacy in the US.
First, many regions have different costs of living that will affect the cost of surrogacy. This means that compensation for your surrogate will vary, not to mention the fertility treatments.
Second, some states may have some limitations regarding compensated surrogacy. In fact, they might not allow this kind of surrogacy at all.
How Can I Do Cheap Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an expensive option due to its complexity and the number of professionals and fees involved. However, there are some options that can make the process more affordable.
Due to many variables, it is difficult to provide an accurate estimate for surrogacy costs. 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 difficult 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 regulation, but the costs of fertility treatments may be less expensive in Canada than they are in the US. Also, there would be no need to purchase private health insurance for the surrogate because she would be covered by the public Canadian health system.
The Bottom Line
While fees vary by region, an independent journey can range from $30,000 to $80,000 (some may cost more).
While independent surrogacy journeys are likely to be less expensive than agency-assisted processes, there are benefits to having the expertise that an agency can provide.
Intended parents should make the surrogacy decision that is best for their families.
Always remember, no two journeys will be the same, so no two journeys will cost the same.