Surrogacy Statistics: How Much Do You Know?

Are you looking for information about surrogacy? If you are in your research stage, read on as we break down some interesting surrogacy stats

Surrogacy has come a long way since the first successful gestational surrogacy in 1985. Since then, the US and Canada have become two of the safest countries to complete a surrogacy journey, but there may be some things that you are not aware of. For instance, did you know that some places in the US do not allow surrogacy? Or did you know that the oldest surrogate on record was 67 years old?

Let’s visit twelve interesting surrogacy statistics and rare facts to test your knowledge.

surrogacy statistics

1. Surrogacy Is Not Legal in All 50 States of the US

Even though the US and Canada are, overall, two of the most surrogacy-friendly countries in the world, surrogacy laws are handled differently depending on the state or province.

In the US, there is no federal surrogacy law, so each state is required to have its own surrogacy laws. This means that each state has designed its own process for commercial and altruistic surrogacy. The situations range from no regulation to surrogacy-friendly regulations. The most surrogate-friendly state is California due to its regulations for legal, safe journeys. In contrast, Michigan nullifies surrogacy contracts and is considered the least surrogacy-friendly state in the US. Other states fall somewhere in between California and Michigan.

On the other hand, in Canada, commercial surrogacy is not allowed, but altruistic journeys are permitted—except for in Quebec, where surrogacy is not permitted at all.

2. Surrogacy Regulations Are Not Static

What better example of changing regulations than the state of New York, a state where surrogacy contracts were nullified between 1986 and 2020? Lately, however, the state has become more surrogacy-friendly.

In 1986, the case of Baby M. made headlines. The traditional surrogate did not want to give up “her” baby, even though she had agreed to do so. After this case, the State of New York’s legal system set out to criminalize the process, and its courts deemed all surrogacy contracts illegal. Three decades later, in April of 2020, New York began allowing surrogacy contracts again.

3. Blastocysts Have a Higher Success Rate than Day-three Embryo Transfers

On day five, after fertilization, the embryo is referred to as a blastocyst. Directly speaking, they are more developed than embryos and have begun cell division. Doctors are not only sure that they have been fertilized, but the development process has also started. The success rate of a day-five blastocyst transfer is estimated to be 7% higher than a day-three embryo transfer.[1]

day three vs day five embryo transfer

4. Most Women Have a 60% Chance of Successfully Conceiving with IVF

Women under 35 without fertility issues have about a 60%[2] chance of conceiving with IVF. This percentage increases to about 75% for surrogacy processes in the US. Once the surrogate is pregnant, the success rate for a healthy birth is as high as 95%.[3]

5. Between 1999 and 2013, the Use of Gestational Carriers Increased from Less than 750 per Year to Over 3,400 in 2013

During this period, there were 13,380 surrogacy deliveries and the birth of 18,400 infants. The CDC was looking at assisted reproductive cycles and noted that they went from around 1% to 2.5%.[4] This increase may seem small, but it is significant considering that these transfers account for so few ART cycles statistically.

6. More than 15% of Gestational Carrier Cycles in the United States Are for Foreign Parents

The US has made surrogacy legal in most states—the federal government leaves the regulation up to each state. The good news is that because it is not federally regulated, parents can find a state with the rules that meet their needs to complete their surrogate journey. The bad news is that it can be confusing to figure out what is permitted and where.[5]

7. Surrogacy Is Not a Gay Practice Only

Contrary to popular belief, surrogacy is not a thing for gay people only. The Center for Surrogate Parenting shared that only 31% of the intended parents that have used its services are gay.[6]

8. One Surrogate had 13 Surrogacy Babies

One of the most prolific surrogate mothers anywhere was Carole Horlock of Britain, who is the world’s oldest commercial surrogate. At 52, she has had 13 surrogate babies for grateful intended parents.

9. The Oldest Surrogate on Record was 67 Years Old

While the average age for a surrogate is 28,[7] and most surrogates are less than 35 years of age, Anastasia Ontou gave birth to her own grandchild in 2016 at age 67.[8]

10. There Are More than 400 Surrogacy Agreements Annually in Canada

While there are no official Canadian statistics about surrogacy, it is estimated that surrogacy has increased more than 400% in the last decade[9]  to over 400 altruistic journeys per year.[10]

11. The Cost of a Surrogacy Journey Can Be $150,000

Every surrogacy journey is different, and the average cost of surrogacy ranges from $60,000 to $80,000 in Canada to $100,000 to $150,000 in the US or even above, depending on the individual circumstances.[11]

12. The Average Length of a Surrogacy Process is 18 Months

Every journey is unique, but in general, a surrogacy process in the US takes about 15 to 18 months to complete.[12]

Final Thoughts

There are many more statistics you may find on surrogacy. However, many of the statistics available today are currently not separated from other processes using assisted reproductive technology. For instance, IVF procedure statistics are maintained, but whether the journey is surrogate or entirely done by the biological couple is not noted. Still, as surrogacy continues to grow, more complete statistics may become available in the coming years.

With surrogacy becoming more prevalent, more studies and research are sure to be conducted—this is evident from the rapid expansion of technology over the last 40 years. Fifty or sixty years ago, gestational surrogacy was not even a possibility. Now it is not only a possibility but also accessible by many people. What used to be only for the most elite is now becoming a reality for middle-class couples. Insurance, medical facilities, and costs are becoming more accommodating to couples seeking another avenue to parenthood. Adoption and foster parenting are still possibilities, but the expansion of surrogacy has opened a new opportunity that was previously unattainable.

[1] “Blastocyst Transfer.” VivaNeo Deutschland GmbH. 2020

[2] Gaille, Brandon. “25 Rare Surrogate Mother Statistics.” Brandon Gaille Small Business Advice, BrandonGaille.Com, May 2017

[3] “Surrogacy Success Rate” American Fertility

[4] “Art and Gestational Carriers.” Centers for Disease Control. US Department of Health and Human Services, Aug 2016

[5] “Art and Gestational Carriers.” Centers for Disease Control. US Department of Health and Human Services, Aug 2016

[6] Center for Surrogate Parenting LLC

[7] “Who becomes a surrogate?” Surrogates, Nov 2013

[8] “History of Surrogacy from Biblical Times Until Now”, Jun 2020

[9] “Surrogacy in Canada Has Increased 400% in 10 Years: More Facts.” CBC Documentary Channel. CBC-Radio Canada. 2020

[10] “Surrogacy in Canada”

[11] “How much does surrogacy costs”

[12] “How long the surrogacy process take” Family tree surrogacy

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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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