Surrogacy Cost – The True Price of Using a Surrogate Mother
The cost of surrogacy is highly variable with reasonable estimates for one attempt costing anywhere from $13,000 to as much as $220,000.
If that absurdly large range seems like no help at all, bear with us. In this article as we’ll be providing some much-needed clarity on those potentially troubling numbers.
We will explore the cost of surrogacy in three common circumstances:
- Surrogacy using a surrogate agency
- Surrogacy with a family member
- Surrogacy with a friend
As you read this article, it is important to remember that no two surrogacy cases are exactly the same. This article will attempt to explain the cost of surrogacy in an educational and neutral way, but the true cost you face will depend on your individual arrangements.
It is also important to remember that the cost estimates and fees we provide in this article are just that, estimates. While this article was highly researched and the information in this article is intended to be truthful, it is not intended to provide you with exact fees or exact total costs. Importantly, many of the fees discussed in this article are billed by 3rd parties which CNY Fertility has no control over.
Surrogate Cost Overview
As mentioned, surrogacy generally costs anywhere from $13,000 to 220,000 for a single attempt.
The cost of surrogacy is influenced by many factors and depends largely on whether you use a surrogate provided by an agency or a friend/family member, the specific agency you work with (should you work with an agency), legal fees to ensure proper parental rights upon birth, the fertility clinic treatment is done at, the treatments/services needed at the fertility treatment level, medical expenses encountered during the surrogate’s pregnancy, and more.
The cost of surrogacy is so variable, even the location you/the surrogate live in can have an impact of over $10,000.
This section will briefly outline the main categories of fees one is likely to encounter when doing surrogacy with an agency, family member, or friend. After this overview, we will provide an in-depth breakdown of each fee component.
Surrogate Cost With Agency
Surrogacy cost with an agency is usually the most expensive of all arrangements. Two reasons are the agency fee (which usually doesn’t exist in family and friend arrangements) and payments made to the surrogate (which are usually much higher than if one uses a friend or family).
See below for a breakdown of estimated fees included in the cost of surrogacy with an agency:
The cost that surrogacy agencies charge for providing many helpful services throughout the process like matching intended parents with a surrogate that meets their qualifications or desires, acting as a middle man, arranging payments, and more. Agency fees are highly dependent on the agency you choose and the exact services they provide.
Surrogate Compensation and Reimbursements
In an agency agreement, base compensation paid to the surrogate is usually between $35,000-70,000. The compensation is paid to the surrogate in exchange for her commitment of time and energy that is required in her role as a surrogate, and for the risks (mainly health risks) that she undertakes.
In addition to the base compensation, intended parents also cover/reimburse the surrogate for all pre-agreed necessary and supplementary expenses related to the surrogacy and pregnancy process.
Intended parents are responsible for all costs and fees associated with the legal representation of themselves and the surrogate.
Generally, lawyers are needed to draft and review agreements between intended parents and the surrogate, for the parentage birth order to recognize the intended parents as the legal parents of their children, court fees, and potentially more.
Fertility Treatment Fees
Intended parents cover all fertility treatment fees, which vary greatly.
Some potential line items include IVF (or donor egg IVF), IVF medications, embryo transfer medications, donor sperm, genetic testing, and more.
Fertility clinic fees are highly variable depending on where you/the egg donor/surrogate receive treatment, what services are performed, and the specific clinic treatment is done at.
Surrogate Cost with a Family Member
In family member surrogacy arrangements, intended parents don’t have to pay agency fees, and surrogate compensation outside of medical and other pregnancy reimbursements are usually minimal if existent at all.
Surrogate Compensation and Reimbursements
Family members typically don’t make money when acting as a surrogate, but the intended parents will typically still reimburse pregnancy-related expenses which may include health insurance, life insurance, maternity clothing, travel expenses, and more.
Even though they are family, it’s may still be important to have lawyers set up the proper legal documents for parental rights and for the filing of court documents.
Fertility Treatment Expenses
Intended parents are still expected to pay for all fertility treatment expenses, just as if they were using an agency.
Surrogate Cost with a Friend
When a friend acts as a surrogate, there is no need to pay matching fees to an agency, but the intended parents may wish to use an agency for other services like screening. When a friend agrees to be your surrogate, the surrogate compensation (outside of necessary reimbursements) is also typically less, if anything.
Partial Agency Fees (optional)
Some agencies perform screening and coordination when friends act as surrogates. Screening may include criminal background screening, psychological evaluations, insurance reviews for surrogate coverage, home studies, and more. Some people also have agencies assist in medical and travel coordination.
|NA or $5-10,000|
Surrogate Compensation and Reimbursements
When a friend agrees to be your surrogate, the surrogate compensation and reimbursements typically range from $0 – $35,000, depending on the exact arrangement that you have. Similar, to family situations, having $0 in expenses here is unlikely. At a minimum, you should expect to reimburse pregnancy-related expenses which may include health insurance premiums/deductibles/co-pays, life insurance, maternity clothing, travel expenses. Some friend arrangements also include compensation in addition to reimbursements.
Even though they are your friend, it is likely important to have lawyers draft birth orders, file court fees, and more.
Fertility Clinic Fees/Medical Expenses
Same for all arrangements (same as outlined above).
Detailed Cost Breakdowns
With a high-level outline of each of the three common arrangements covered above, it is time for a deep dive into the fees associated with each item included in the charts above.
These breakdowns are intended to provide you with information and an idea of what makes up each cost. They are not exact quotes. The breakdown of each cost and the cost of each fee depends on many factors including the type of arrangement, agency or legal group you choose, fertility clinic you work with, and more.
Agency Fees Explained
Agency fees are the payments that the agency keeps to pay for its business expenses and run a profitable business. Agency fees typically range from $15,000 to 50,000 depending on the agency you choose and the depth of services they provide. Remember, because one agency is more expensive doesn’t mean they provide more services or will do a better job.
Services that surrogacy agencies may provide include:
- Surrogate marketing and recruiting: finding a surrogate who matches your criteria
- Surrogate screening: criminal background screening of surrogate and surrogate partner, interviews, psychological evaluation, home studies, health insurance review, medical records requests, and more
- Psychological evaluation of intended parents
- Matching services: Determining important surrogate characteristics for intended parents and finding the appropriate surrogate
- Referrals to additional professionals – fertility specialists, mental health professionals, OBGYNS, and hospitals
- Escrow set up, management and payment administration
- Travel coordination for the surrogate to the fertility clinic for medical screening and/or embryo transfer
- Case management
- Legal services: Legal services provided by agencies may include contract preparation (advising, drafting, negotiation, and implementation), court action to establish legal parentage, and obtaining separate legal counsel for the gestational carrier. Legal services are not commonly included in the agency fees and are not always provided by the agency itself. It is part of the agency fee, it likely does not include the representation of the surrogate.
- Life insurance and disability insurance coordination
- Birth and hospital coordination
- In general, act as a trustworthy middle man
- Other related services
It’s important to note that different agencies bill their agency fees in different ways; some agencies require their full agency fees upfront, and others are paid throughout the surrogacy journey.
So, let’s say an agency’s fee is $20K, some agencies could request their agency fee to be paid in full before they commence any services, whereas other agencies might split their fees throughout the surrogacy journey, during certain milestones of the surrogacy journey. For example:
- An administrative fee due before they commence services
- A fee due once they have a match for the parent(s)
- A fee once parents and surrogate sign a contract
- An embryo transfer fee
- A fee during the pregnancy
- A fee during the parentage order process
It is also important to note that agency fees are never based on parent(s) having a child, or a healthy child. There are never any guarantees in that respect, as it can be construed as illegal to base fees on the outcome of whether or not there is a live birth or a healthy baby.
Surrogate Compensation and Reimbursements Explained
Surrogate payments and reimbursements range from $30,000 to 70,000 and they vary based on a number of factors, including the location of the surrogate, experience with surrogacy (generally the more pregnancies a woman has carried the more dollars they command), how the journey progresses, and more. The compensation and reimbursements are often the largest expenses contributing to the overall cost of surrogacy.
It is important to note that the compensation that the surrogate receives is not paid to the surrogate specifically for her pregnancy or for delivering a healthy child. Instead, the compensation is paid to the surrogate in exchange for her commitment of time and energy that is required in her role as a surrogate, for the risks (mainly health risks) that she undertakes, and to reimburse necessary and supplementary expenses incurred during pregnancy.
The main component of surrogacy compensation is often referred to as the base surrogacy compensation. The base surrogacy compensation is a pre-determined amount (often between $20-60,000) distributed to the Gestational Carrier in approximately ten (10) installments throughout the course of pregnancy. The first payment is typically made from the escrow account upon confirmation of pregnancy by fetal heartbeat detection with ultrasound. The last payment is made approximately seven (7) calendar days post-delivery of the child.
Besides the base surrogacy compensation, one can also expect to see payments that are triggered by specific events or circumstances (for example – embryo transfers, twin pregnancies, c-sections, ectopic pregnancies) as well as allowances and reimbursements for things like insurance, gas money to doctor appointments, maternity clothing, and more.
Below we will go into great detail and break down various line items often encountered in surrogacy compensation and reimbursements payments.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMBER THAT THE BELOW FEE BREAKDOWN IS A VERY GENERAL ESTIMATE OF POTENTIAL CHARGES, IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, AND THAT CNY FERTILITY DOES NOT OFFER OR BILL FOR ANY OF THESE SERVICES OURSELVES. FURTHERMORE, NOT ALL SURROGACY ARRANGMENTS WILL HAVE ALL OF THE BELOW LISTED LINE ITEMS AND SOME WILL HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT PAYMENTS FOR THE SAME LINE ITEMS. SOME ARRANGEMENTS MAY IN FACT HAVE MORE LINE ITEMS THAT ARE NOT ACCOUNTED FOR IN THIS BREAKDOWN.
We will use $35,000 as the base surrogacy compensation in this example.
|Upon confirmation of fetal heartbeat||$3,500|
|Upon the eighth (8) gestational week of pregnancy||$3,500|
|Upon the twelfth (12) gestational week of pregnancy||$3,500|
|Upon the sixteenth (16) gestational week of pregnancy||$3,500|
|Upon the twentieth (20) gestational week of pregnancy||$3,500|
|Upon the twenty-fourth (24) gestational week of pregnancy||$3,500|
|Upon the twenty-eighth (28) gestational week of pregnancy||$3,500|
|Upon the thirty-second (32) gestational week of pregnancy||$3,500|
|Upon the thirty-sixth (36) gestational week of pregnancy||$3,500|
|Upon seven (7) days post-delivery of child||$3,500|
Often, these payments are dependent upon a set of pre-established conditions similar to the below:
- If Gestational Carrier delivers Child on or after 32 gestational weeks pregnancy, all payments listed above will be payable to Gestational Carrier regardless if Child is stillborn
- If Gestational Carrier delivers prematurely, prior to 32 weeks of gestation, then she is only entitled to compensation she has already received, plus a prorated amount, if any, from date of the last payment to the date of delivery.
As mentioned, intended parents are also usually responsible for additional fees and potential reimbursements for virtually all fertility treatment and pregnancy-related costs/expenses incurred during the process. Pre-determined fees and potential reimbursements depend on the full terms of their Gestational Carrier Agreement. Below is simply an example of what one might expect to see.
If mock cycle is required by Designated Physician, Gestational Carrier is paid a mock cycle fee upon completing the mock cycle.
Start Medication for Embryo Transfer:
Gestational Carrier is paid a start medication fee for the embryo transfer. If the embryo transfer is cancelled, by no negligent fault of the Gestational Carrier, then the Gestational Carrier will still be paid this fee, so long as she started medication for the embryo transfer.(Start of birth control does not trigger this fee).
Distribution paid to Gestational Carrier per each completed embryo transfer, and is due upon completion of said embryo transfer.
If it is determined that the Gestational Carrier is carrying more than one viable fetus, and confirmation is via ultrasound fetal heartbeat, then the Intended Parent(s) shall distribute to the Gestational Carrier, in addition to the Pregnancy Distribution indicated above, a total aggregate sum of $5,005.00 in seven (7) monthly installments, in the amount of $715.00 per month, with the first payment due on the sixteenth (16th) gestational week computed from date of the Embryo Transfer, and the balance paid within fourteen (14) calendar days after delivery of the Child/ren.
Maternity Clothing Allowance
Payment for non-accountable maternity clothing allowance to be paid to Gestational Carrier at the tenth (10th) week of gestational pregnancy, calculated from the date of the Embryo Transfer resulting in that pregnancy.
Distribution for Cesarean Section as recommended by Designated Physician, or as requested by Intended Parent(s).
Loss of Reproductive Capacity
If the Gestational Carrier, up to ninety (90) days postpartum, has loss of any organ stated herein, due to delivery or due to any actions that she took in performing her duties under the Gestational Carrier Agreement, and such loss is not due to her own negligence or breach, she shall be compensated the above-stated fees.
Uterus : $5,000
Including: Dilation and Curettage (D&C) or Dilation and Evacuation (D&E);
Ectopic Pregnancy Surgery
Distribution for ectopic pregnancy surgery. (There is no additional invasive procedure fee for an ectopic pregnancy surgery).
Distribution for reduction or abortion of fetus, per terms of Agreement, and distributed per procedure.
Intended Parent(s) shall pay the Gestational the sum of $250.00 per week for producing breast milk, or a prorated amount for a partial week. In addition, Intended Parent(s) shall also reimburse the Gestational Carrier for all costs associated with storing and shipping of breast milk, as well as purchase or rental of a double-breasted pump.
Individual Psychological Counseling
Distributed per Agreement, for up to ten (10) counseling sessions, post first Embryo transfer, and during term of Agreement and up to one (3) months after the delivery of the Child or termination of the Agreement, and not to exceed a capped amount of $1,500.00
Nutrition &/or Health Fitness Counseling
Distributed per Agreement, to be used for Nutrition and health coaching and health club membership. May be used over the course of a 12-month period, commencing from the time of medical clearance for embryo transfer and three months post-pregnancy unless otherwise agreed to in Agreement. Must be approved by Agency for reasonableness. Intended Parents may agree to exceed said the capped amount of $1,500.
Housekeeping is paid to Gestational Carrier only if Gestational Carrier is confined to bed rest or modified bed rest by the treating physician (written note from Designated Physician confining Gestational Carrier to bed rest or modified bed rest is required). The Intended Parent(s) shall reimburse the Gestational Carrier up to $50.00 per week, and not to exceed a capped amount of $600.00.
Long-Distance Travel Expenses
• Mileage: Gestational Carrier will be reimbursed if she uses a vehicle that she supplies for mileage (in addition to monthly allowance) where round-trip exceeds 50 miles from the Gestational Carrier’s residence, at $0.56 per mile.
• Companion: All expense rates herein apply to Gestational Carrier’s companion/spouse as well, as pre-approved by the Intended Parent(s). Companion may be representative from Agency at Gestational Carrier’s request.
• Services for childcare shall be reimbursed at a maximum cap of $15.00 per hour, and not to exceed a total maximum cap for childcare of $150.00 per 24-hour period.
Lost Wages for Gestational Carries
Gestational Carrier shall be reimbursed gross lost wages, where applicable per Agreement and approved by Intended Parent(s), not to exceed $_______ per day, and not to exceed a maximum cap of $5,000.00 over the period of the Agreement.
Lost Wages for Gestational Carrier’s Spouse/Companion
Gestational Carrier’s spouse or companion shall be reimbursed gross lost wages, where applicable per Agreement and approved by Intended Parent(s), not to exceed $150.00 per day, and not to exceed a maximum cap of $2,000.00 over the period of the Agreement.
• Intended Parent(s) are/are not responsible for Gestational Carrier’s health insurance monthly premium payments.
Other Medical Costs
Intended Parent(s) are responsible to pay all medical costs relating to fertility treatments, IVF procedures, embryo transfer, and fertility prescriptions which are not covered by the Gestational Carrier’s insurance.
Life Insurance Policy
Intended Parent(s) are responsible to purchase term life insurance for the Gestational Carrier, a minimum benefit of $250,000.00 for a beneficiary designated by the Gestational Carrier, and an additional $100,000 for benefit of the Intended Parent(s).
Surrogate Payment to Family Members
Although the above is typical of a surrogate compensation structure in an agency agreement, many of the above fees and reimbursements could be attributed to or used to establish, a friend or family surrogacy pay structure.
Typically, family member surrogates will receive reimbursement for medical expenses and other surrogacy/pregnancy-related out-of-pocket expenses, including lost wages.
Depending on the state that you are located in, you may also need to cover health insurance, disability insurance, and life insurance for your surrogate.
Depending on your state you may also be required to use an Escrow agency to pay all of the agreed-upon and required expenses for the surrogate. The escrow fees can range from $1200-$2000, and some escrow agencies will bill annually while others have just a one-time fee.
In total, you could expect to pay anywhere from $0 – $25,000 for a family member surrogate and would largely depend on the type of health insurance costs available to the surrogate.
For example, if surrogate already has health insurance and does not require the IPs to pay for premiums, does not require disability insurance, and does not require the IPs to cover the cost of her life insurance (which if outside NY should be a minimum of $250K for the benefit of the surrogate’s beneficiary and $100K for the benefit of the IPs) then there will be no premium insurance costs for the IPs.
If the surrogate family member resides in NYS and is a compassionate carrier, then the cost would be similar in that the surrogate may waive some insurance premiums.
However, if the surrogate requires that the IPs pay for her health insurance premiums and life insurance and disability insurance, then the cost can be in the $25K range.
Legal Fees Explained
Legal fees range from $6,000 to 10,000 and vary based on state laws, the type of surrogacy agreement, and whatever else may be required.
Intended parents are responsible for all costs and fees associated with their representation and the independent representation of their surrogate. Some attorneys may have fixed packages for their legal work surrounding surrogacy while others work on an hourly rate. Legal representation in a surrogacy agreement is typically needed for:
- Legal contracts – outlining each party’s responsibilities, surrogate compensation, and more (contract advising, drafting, negotiation, and implementation)
- The escrow or trust account setup
- Court filing fees
- Parental establishment and court pleadings – can include many different fees depending on services required and provided. One example may be the termination of surrogates’ parental rights – drafting, reviewing, obtaining signatures, and filing legal pleading papers with the Court. If donor eggs, sperm, or embryos are used – non-biological parents may need to undergo the legal adoption process
Fertility Treatment Fees
It is important to note that fertility clinic fees are not typically specified in the initial surrogacy agreement. Regardless, intended parents are responsible for all costs the intended parents and surrogate incurs while going through fertility treatment.
Fertility clinic fees depend greatly on where your surrogate and you (if applicable) receive treatment and could range from $7,000 to as much as $50,000 for one attempt at pregnancy.
You will find some items duplicated from the surrogate compensation section; this is not a mistake. For some fertility procedures, intended parents must pay the fertility clinic directly for services, and the agency agreements may also require compensation to the surrogate for their time, energy, and risks of undergoing said treatments.
Please note that fertility treatment fees vary greatly depending on the fertility clinic. A list of required and potential fertility clinic services and their estimated costs are included below:
Mock Cycle (usually optional)
A mock cycle is a trial run to see how the surrogate will respond to some or all of the hormonal medications administered during an embryo transfer cycle in order to best time the embryo transfer. Fees include monitoring and medications. Whether or not a mock cycle is required is usually determined by the designated physician or by the intended parent’s request.
CNY Cost: $1500
National Average: $3000
Monitoring fees include the cost of all bloodwork and ultrasound appointments throughout an IVF cycle. When doing surrogacy, you will usually have to pay a minimum of two monitoring fees, one for the egg retrieval on the intended parent (unless using donor eggs) and one for the embryo transfer to the surrogate.
CNY Cost: $995 x number of monitoring cycles
National Average: $2,000 x number of monitoring cycles
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) (Required – unless doing Donor Egg IVF)
IVF is the main medical treatment required for surrogacy to take place. It usually includes things like the egg retrieval (if applicable and not using donor eggs), Anesthesia fees (not always included), Sperm preparation services, Fertilization of the embryos (ICSI not usually included), a fresh transfer, cryopreservation and storage of embryos for one year.
CNY Cost: $4,500
National Average: $11,000
Fertility Medications (Required)
Medications are used to stimulate the ovaries and produce multiple mature eggs as well as to help prepare the gestational carrier’s uterine environment. The medications required vary greatly upon the recommended treatment protocol.
*Potentially more for additional transfers
*Stimulation meds are typically included in donor egg IVF prices if donor eggs IVF package is purchased from a fertility clinic.
CNY Cost of Stimulation Medications: around $2,400
National Average Cost of Stimulation Medications: around $3,300
CNY Cost of Embryo Transfer Medications: around $700
National Average Cost of Embryo Transfer Medications: around $1,200
Frozen Embryo Transfers (FETs) (Optional)
FETs may be required if embryos are being genetically tested, the intended parents purchase or are in possession of frozen embryos, or if the surrogate’s body (especially the uterine lining and uterus) requires time to recover after taking stimulation medications prior to the egg retrieval.
While technically optional, choosing a FET instead of a fresh embryo transfer is usually more convenience as the intended parent/egg donor’s cycle do not need to be aligned with the surrogates prior to treatment. FETs also allow for genetic testing.
*Potentially multiplied by the number of transfers required. Usually requires a second monitoring cycle.
CNY Cost: $995(if done within a year of the egg retrieval) or $2,495 (if done after a year from the egg retrieval or after successful live birth)
National Average: $4000
Donor Egg IVF (if need donor eggs)
The cost of donor egg IVF depends greatly on where the donor eggs come from and the fertility clinic. Donor eggs can be purchased from egg banks, directly from some fertility clinics (like at CNY Fertility), or they can be supplied by a friend or family member other than your surrogate.
CNY Cost: $9,995-12,995
National Average: $24,500-26,500
Donor Sperm (if applicable)
Donor sperm can be utilized to fertilize whichever eggs the intended parents choose to use for their surrogacy arrangement. There are three main types of sperm donors, known donors, anonymous donors, or open donors.
Genetic Testing (if applicable)
Genetic testing helps to determine if the embryo(s) have any chromosomal abnormalities that could result in a birth defect or developmental issues. Genetic testing can also be used for gender selection.
Genetic testing fees can include embryo biopsy fees (charged by the fertility clinic), embryo freezing fees (fertility clinic), and genetics lab fees (charged by the genetics lab)
CNY Fertility = around $2,200 (depends largely on the number of embryos tested)
National Average = around $4,500
Visit our Fertility Treatment Cost page for more information on pricing, to see how our prices compare to national average treatment costs, and to use our customizable sample payment calculator.
Additional fees not included above may also be required depending on the number of transfer attempts, testing, storage fees, and more.
The Bottom Line about the Cost of Surrogacy
For some families, surrogacy is an essential service that comes at a significant cost. Surrogacy provides families who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity a chance to have a child of their own. As you can see, there are many that can affect every aspect of the cost of surrogacy. Therefore, having a trustworthy surrogacy agency or attorney is essential.
We at CNY Fertility wish you the best of luck on your surrogacy journey and we are here to help with all of your reproductive needs. We encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of our providers to discuss the fertility side of your surrogacy journey.
This article was written in collaboration with Yifat Shaltiel, Director of Surrogate Steps (surrogacy agency) and Reproductive Law attorney at the Shaltiel Law Group.