You’ve undoubtedly heard that surrogacy is really expensive—like, really expensive. If you ask this question in Facebook groups, you’ll probably hear that you need to budget $100,000 to $150,000, and if you ask this question to surrogacy agencies, you’ll probably get back an “It depends…”
The truth of the matter is, no one can tell you exactly how much surrogacy will cost you (with the exception of surrogacy agencies that offer a fixed fee journey, like Circle Surrogacy’s fixed price options starting at $128,750). You will not even know how much it will cost you when you bring your baby home, because it takes a while for insurance claims to clear. Surrogacy can cost as low as $17,000 to as high as $150,000 (probably even higher in very unfortunate situations).
But today I want to talk about what’s behind all of those numbers. Many people think that surrogacy is not an option for them because it will cost them at least $100,000 no matter what. However, that is not necessarily true. I’ll explain which components of surrogacy are inevitably expensive and which are variable, as well as what you can do to significantly lower costs.
Before we dive into costs, I would like to clarify that when calculating the cost of surrogacy, I am calculating it as the incremental cost over and beyond the egg retrieval/IVF process to create embryos. Just FYI, my insurance covered my first round of IVF (yay!), but not my second round (boo!), which ended up costing us around $12,000.
Without further ado, let me present to you our surrogacy journey cost:
|Agency Fees||$ 22,000.00|
|Intended Parent (contract + pre-birth order)||$ 6,230.00|
|Gestational Carrier (contract)||$ 1,500.00|
|Total Legal & Escrow Fees||$ 9,230.00|
|IVF Cycle & Screening||$ 4,000.00|
|Monthly Allowance (Total)||$ 2,000.00|
|PIO and Estrogen Medication||$ 800.00|
|Transfer Fee||$ 750.00|
|Maternity Clothing||$ 750.00|
|Start Medication Fee||$ 500.00|
|Life Insurance Policy||$ 500.00|
|Total Carrier Fees||$ 39,300.00|
|Carrier Health Insurance Co-Pays||$ 3,000.00*|
|Total Surrogacy Cost||$ 73,530.00|
*In a very unique turn of events, it turns out Jennifer delivered in a hospital that was not covered by her insurance. We are fighting the delivery charges currently. However, her insurance would have covered her delivery if we went to the right hospital. Stay tuned for updates.
As you can see, surrogacy wasn’t cheap for us, but it wasn’t as high as I thought it was going to be when I first looked into surrogacy a couple years ago.
Here are some things that made surrogacy cheaper for us:
Jennifer (our surrogate) got pregnant after the first embryo transfer.
Jennifer had medical insurance that covered her surrogacy pregnancy
Whether your surrogate has existing medical insurance (either through her work or partner) is the real wild card in this scenario, but it’s something that you could, in theory, search for and demand. If your surrogate has insurance that will cover a surrogacy pregnancy, then the insurance will treat her pregnancy as if it were her own (see the “Carrier Health Insurance Co-Pays” line item).
Your other option is to purchase coverage either through the marketplace or through Lloyds of London (which is super expensive). Whether or not it’s worth your time to search for a surrogate with pre-existing insurance or purchasing it for her is a topic for another day. But keep in mind that even if a person has insurance today, it doesn’t mean that they’ll still have coverage in 6 months. There are numerous things that can happen to cancel coverage, like job termination or change, or a divorce from the person with the coverage.
Now to discuss ways that would have made surrogacy even cheaper for us.
You’ll notice right away that you can skim off $22,000, on average, by not hiring an agency to find a surrogate, which would bring down your surrogacy cost to ~$53,000.
To agency or not to agency is the all-important question in surrogacy. Many people find surrogates without the help of an agency, but that’s also a topic for another day.
Now, let’s say you’re super lucky and you have a close friend or sister who’s offering to carry for you—for no compensation! That’s another $30,000 saved, which brings the cost down to ~$23,000.
Remember that this cost is only attainable in superb conditions (e.g., your surrogate gets pregnant the first time, no pregnancy complications) and should not be a number you should budget for because you honestly never know what a surrogacy journey will throw at you.
Most people who have someone who’s offering to carry for them will find surrogacy to be quite affordable, but they still need to budget for anything that might go wrong during the pregnancy and keep medical insurance in mind.
Of course, these numbers I present don’t represent everything for everyone – just for us. There are a bunch of relatively smaller line items—negotiable between surrogate and intended parent—that can still be costly when you add them up. For example, it’s typical to include a clause that compensates the surrogate for loss of a reproductive organ in case it happens—that ranges from $5,000 to $10,000—or to compensate the surrogate an extra $2,000 in case of C-section delivery.
These additional “what-ifs” on top of an already uncertain process is why it’s so hard to estimate the cost of surrogacy.
Check out this video where I explain the common costs of surrogacy and ways you can decrease the cost to you.
What about you? How much did surrogacy cost you? Comment down below!