Affordable Surrogacy in USA: A Comprehensive Guide

Cost is the second thing that you should consider. If you are residing in the USA first thing to consider is the state’s laws that could affect your journey. Due to the different states’ laws, surrogacy in the USA is not an easy process but a worthwhile journey. 

Before starting your surrogacy journey in the USA, let’s learn all the details about the surrogacy costs and laws in different states. Plus let’s spill the beans on the most budget-friendly surrogacy states in the USA. 

Buckle up – your journey just got a whole lot more exciting.

Cheapest Surrogacy In USA

Surrogacy in the United States is governed by laws that can vary from state to state. Your surrogacy specialist and lawyer should know about this difference in laws and guide you on your journey so that you have a smooth and legal-issue-free process. However, don’t forget to do your research at every step. 

Surrogacy expenses can differ from state to state in the US and the phrase “cheapest surrogacy in the USA” is subjective. Nonetheless, compared to other states in the United States, some states—like Nevada and Arkansas—are renowned for having comparatively cheaper surrogacy expenses.

Cost of Surrogacy in the USA

In the US, surrogacy programs typically cost more than $160,000. The price range of other programs is $140,000 to $150,000. U.S. surrogacy journeys are more likely to be successful with just one or two transfers, even though some foreign clinics offer “guarantee” plans with unlimited IVF and embryo transfers. 

surrogacy in usa

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Legalities of Surrogacy In USA

The legal issues of surrogacy are under the jurisdiction of each state and the legal situation varies greatly from one state to another. The states that are permissive to surrogacy and where contracts are considered legal are, California, Illinois, Arkansas, Maryland, and Utah, among others

For legal purposes, what matters is where the contracts are drawn up and signed, where the pregnant woman resides, and where the birth takes place. All family models can be accessed, without the need for genetic load with the embryo to be implanted.

The US does not have federal laws regarding surrogacy. Therefore, you must be up-to-date with the local laws because there are substantial differences from state to state.

Main Legal Issues with Surrogacy

Despite the major differences in laws from state to state, there are a few laws that apply in almost every state. These are some examples related to surrogacy in the USA.

  • Commercial Surrogacy Laws

Commercial surrogacy in the US is an emerging business of its own, and most surrogates ask for a reimbursement. Some states have made it completely illegal to offer any kind of compensation to surrogates, while other states put a limit on how much compensation you can give a surrogate for pregnancy-related expenses and complications. Failure to comply with these state regulations could result in criminal charges and/or fines.

Commercial surrogacy is legal in some U.S. states, while other states allow only altruistic surrogacy and some disallow surrogacy altogether.

  • Traditional Surrogacy Laws

Traditional surrogacy is the process of the surrogate using her own egg for the implanted embryo, and it is still an option in some states. Most states, however, have outlawed traditional surrogacy, so if you are thinking of pursuing a traditional surrogacy journey, you need to check if you live in one of those states.

  • Gestational Surrogacy Laws

Gestational surrogacy in the US is the process in which the surrogate carries a baby that was fertilized using an egg from an egg donor and that has no genetic link to the surrogate. Prospective parents usually choose this option because the child will carry their DNA. Also, surrogates prefer gestational surrogacy because they don’t have any genetic link with the baby. As an intended parent or someone interested in becoming a surrogate, it may come as a surprise that gestational surrogacy agreements are not legal in all 50 states. In the U.S., individual states have the power to determine the legality of surrogacy agreements and surrogate compensation.

The Limitations of Enforcing a Surrogacy Contract

In some cases, the surrogacy contract may be declared null and void. Due to local regulations in some states, the surrogacy contract cannot be legally enforced, which makes things very difficult for both parties (the surrogate mother and the intended parents) if one of them decides to renege on the contract after the baby has been born. Without the obligation to enforce the agreement, there is a chance that the surrogate will not be compensated according to the initial agreement. The surrogate could also refuse to waive all parental rights to the intended parents.

Finding a qualified lawyer willing to support you in the states where surrogacy contracts are not legally binding can be difficult. Some states where surrogacy contracts cannot be enforced won’t even allow you to draw one up, so creating such a contract will put you at risk of being arrested.

Pre-Birth Order Availability

Establishing the legal parentage of a child born through surrogacy is one of the most complicated aspects of surrogacy in the US. State laws generally assume that the child’s legal mother is the woman who gave birth to the child. Therefore, the intended parents must take legal steps to ensure their parental rights long before they begin the surrogacy process to avoid any problems. Some states give you the option of assigning these rights through pre-birth orders. However, in some states, this can only be done after the birth of the child, and others will require you to go through a standard adoption process post-delivery.

The laws that apply will be the laws of the state where the baby is delivered, rather than those of the state where it was conceived, contracts were signed, or the IPs reside.

Thankfully, you won’t have to research all this information on your own. Your surrogacy lawyer will let you know everything you need to know about how the state laws apply.

Surrogacy-Friendly and Non-Surrogacy-Friendly States

With all these details that need to be considered, the obvious question pops up: which states are the best for pursuing a surrogacy process in the United States? Surrogacy regulations can be challenging, particularly because no federal laws regulate the surrogacy process.

The best way to split the states is by which ones are surrogacy-friendly and which ones aren’t.

Surrogacy Laws by State


Surrogacy-Friendly States

The states that are surrogacy-friendly are the more progressive states. These states have laws that recognize and permit the surrogacy processes or have a history of favorable rulings in surrogacy cases.

The surrogacy-friendly states are:


In California, surrogacy is a perfectly reasonable option for single people as well as for married and single couples, gay and straight couples, and unmarried couples alike.

You will be the child’s legal parent whether or not the child is conceived using your sperm or eggs if you enter into a gestational surrogacy agreement that satisfies California law and names you as the adopted parent.  According to California, inducing conception through assisted reproduction constitutes procreation, and those who do so to become parents ought to be acknowledged as legitimate parents. Thus, provided all surrogacy regulations are followed, intended parents using gestational surrogacy in California may utilize donated sperm, eggs, or both and remain the child’s legal parents.


The Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act expressly legalizes surrogacy and establishes a procedure that allows intended parents to be named the child’s parents out-of-court.


Under Nevada’s surrogacy laws, same-sex couples, married and single couples, or “intended parents” can all sign a contract with a surrogate. These contracts must offer solutions for all issues that are reasonably foreseeable in addition to strong legal defense in court.


There are no published case laws or statutes that forbid surrogacy in the state of Oregon, so anyone can pursue it. You can be at ease handling the legal ramifications of your surrogacy journey with ConceiveAbilities.


Connecticut has legalized surrogacy. Regardless of their biological connection to the child, parents who live in Connecticut are eligible to apply for a pre-birth parentage order. In general, Connecticut is a very surrogacy-friendly state.


The Maine Parentage Act made surrogacy legal in the state of Maine as of 2016. This surrogacy law in Maine sets forth specific requirements for gestational surrogacy agreements, ensuring a safe and effective process for intended parents and surrogates who choose to embark on this path of family-building.


Surrogacy is permitted in Delaware; the “Gestational Carrier Agreement Act” of 2013 governs surrogacy laws in Delaware and specifies the steps that must be taken during the surrogacy procedure.

New Hampshire

Gestational surrogacy is explicitly permitted and governed by law in New Hampshire. To make sure you adhere to all the requirements of the relevant laws, it is crucial to consult with a lawyer before establishing the pregnancy.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, surrogacy is not illegal, but there are no specific laws that allow, forbid, or regulate it. Rather, the same Family Court Chief Judge hears all surrogacy cases. Although there are no surrogacy laws in Rhode Island, surrogacy is nevertheless widely practiced there.

New Jersey

Gestational surrogacy is now legal in New Jersey, and surrogacy experts have set up secure, mutually agreed-upon protocols for this process of creating families in the state. Using surrogacy, people of all ages, backgrounds, and sexual orientations create families—each with their own unique journey—through surrogacy.


While both intended parents and surrogates may use surrogates in Washington, the surrogacy procedure is governed. In Washington, compensated surrogacy is permitted. Thus, in addition to getting paid for her services, a surrogate can also get reimbursed for her surrogacy costs: medical costs.

District of Columbia

New York (Surrogacy is now legal in New York State thanks to the passage of the Child-Parent Security Act in April 2020.)

Pre-birth orders are typically granted by these states regardless of the intended parents’ marital status, sexual orientation, or genetic relationship to the child. Additionally, these states allow surrogates to get payment for bringing the child to term. The only possible problem in these states might be the absence of explicit legislation about traditional surrogacy, and unanticipated issues might come up throughout the procedure.

Non-Surrogacy-Friendly States

States that prohibit surrogacy are more challenging to navigate. They make it extremely difficult for the intended parents to request full parental rights over the child and are very strict about not paying surrogate mothers. In these states, it’s nearly impossible to enforce pre-birth agreements, and even if you do, there’s a good chance it won’t be accepted. In these states, breaking these strict laws can land you in serious legal trouble.


For intended parents and surrogates, surrogacy in Louisiana is a tightly controlled and regulated family-building procedure. Only married heterosexual intending parents who complete an altruistic surrogacy with a local surrogate in Louisiana are eligible to use surrogacy, according to state rules.


Paid surrogacy, in which a woman receives compensation for bearing a child, is illegal in Michigan. Additionally, all surrogacy agreements are void under Michigan law. In Michigan, noncompensated or altruistic surrogacy is permitted notwithstanding these limitations.

Other States

While some states are considered completely surrogacy-friendly and others unfriendly, most states are somewhere in the middle, and their laws may offer varying or uncertain levels of protection for surrogates and intended parents. The legal process may be more complicated than in surrogacy-friendly states, and the results of surrogacy cases may be inconsistent.

Remember that in a few states, statutes prohibit or allow surrogacy. In most of them, surrogacy information is based on past court decisions, so it is really important to be assisted by a reputable family lawyer in the state where you will pursue surrogacy; state laws are changing and evolving, and this list can change.


surrogacy in the US

Starting Your Surrogacy Process in the USA

If you have decided to follow a surrogacy journey independently in the United States (indie surrogacy), keep in mind these initial steps:

  • Find a reputable local lawyer who specializes in surrogacy cases.
  • Find your match. You can find your surrogate mother, egg donor, or intended parents through online communities or surrogacy classified ads.
  • Find an IVF clinic. After the match, the intended parents should choose a reputable fertility clinic that normally will be located close to the surrogate’s home.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions – Surrogacy in USA)

Which US states ban surrogacy?

Except for three states—Michigan, Nebraska, and Louisiana—where paid surrogacy is not regarded as legal, most states are supportive of surrogacy.

Which US state is best for surrogacy?

California is the most suitable state for surrogacy. Certain things must be done before the baby is born for parentage to be established.

Does insurance cover surrogacy?

The expense of transferring an embryo to a surrogate mother will not be reimbursed by insurance companies. The in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure will not be reimbursed by the insurance company. However, if the surrogate is using her own egg and the intended father’s sperm, some companies will pay for the artificial insemination procedure.

What happens if you can’t afford surrogacy?

For both intended parents and surrogates, there are numerous financial options available. It may surprise you to learn that some states use their grant programs to pay for in-vitro fertilization (IVF), one of the more costly medical procedures.

Financial assistance for surrogacy can be provided to intended parents and surrogates in the following ways:

  • Grants
  • Credits
  • Family support

What happens if the surrogate wants to keep the baby in the USA?

The surrogate and her partner are the child’s legal parents at birth. The only thing intended parents can do if the surrogate chooses to keep the child to herself is to seek legal counsel. Nothing that the intended parents can do will make the surrogacy agreement enforceable.

Final Thoughts

The US can be a bit difficult for surrogacy for intended parents but it is worthwhile as the US has the most success rate for surrogacy childbirth. Also, no matter which state you live in, you can find a surrogate from the surrogacy-friendly states according to your budget and the type of surrogacy you want to pick.

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Written by Sara
Bachelor of Laws (LLB). My passion is to help build families. I approach fertility law with the compassion, empathy and respect it deserves.

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