How Much Does Surrogacy Cost? A Breakdown for Intended Parents

Eran Amir
Eran Amir
CEO and Founder of GoStork

Gestational surrogacy is a form of third party reproduction where a woman, known as a surrogate, carries a pregnancy for an individual or a couple. And to get right to the point – there’s no denying the fact that surrogacy comes with a hefty price tag. The cost of a surrogacy journey can range from $75,000 to $140,000. Each surrogacy case is unique and the price will depend on various medical considerations as well as personal ones. There is also the supply and demand factor which, in some states, means higher prices (i.e. when there are more intended parents looking for surrogates than there are surrogates available).

When I decided to start my family via surrogacy, I was met with a process that was both highly complicated, and expensive. In addition to this, the industry in general lacked transparency, especially where costs were concerned. These are just a few of the reasons I founded GoStork, to help more intended parents like me take the first steps in their journey, armed with better information – including the costs involved every step of the way.

In this article we’ll review the costs you should account for throughout your surrogacy roadmap ahead. 

Why is surrogacy so expensive?

Surrogacy requires the expertise of many professionals, not only medical and fertility professionals, but also psychologists, social workers and attorneys. It also includes several assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures (egg donation, in vitro fertilization (IVF), Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)). And then of course there’s the surrogate herself. 

Our article Surrogacy 101: A guide to all the terms you need to know is a great resource if you’re new to surrogacy and would like more background about the various parties, procedures and other factors involved. 

Given the complex nature of the surrogacy journey, you will want a reputable surrogacy agency and its expert team assisting you along the way. 

All of the above has costs associated.

Surrogacy cost breakdown

Let’s dive into the individual elements that make up the total surrogacy cost.

Agency Compensation

A surrogacy agency provides a broad range of services. Agencies aim to make the whole experience as smooth and stress-free as possible as well as ensure that the process is completed safely and in line with all legal requirements. 

Agency compensation refers to the fee you will pay the agency for managing your journey. This fee generally includes the matching process, overall journey support and coordination of the surrogacy professionals involved, travel arrangements for the carrier, and pre- during and post- pregnancy monitoring, among other elements. 

Estimated price range: $16,000 – $35,000

Carrier Costs

The carrier is the woman who will carry the pregnancy – i.e. the surrogate. The surrogate is compensated a lump sum for carrying the pregnancy, as well as for every embryo transfer made. Apart from this, agencies factor in funds to cover travel expenses for medical screening and for the eventual embryo transfer, a maternity clothing allowance that’s higher in the case of a multiple pregnancy, any related expenses paid monthly, including housekeeping for the last month of pregnancy (in some cases only when the carrier is on bed rest).

Estimated price range:  $35,500 – $55,500

Screening Costs

This entails the psychological screening and a criminal history inquiry of the carrier and her spouse – ensuring that the surrogate working with the agency is safe and ready to commit to the process.

Estimated price range: $1,000 – $3,750

Legal Fees

A surrogacy attorney is brought in early on in the process to ensure that everything is done in accordance with the law and to define the rights and obligations of all parties. Together with the agency, an attorney will help explain local surrogacy laws, finalize the surrogacy contract, and establish intended parents’ parental rights. Intended parents will pay for their own and the carrier’s attorney, the drafting of the contract, and for the establishment of parentage.

Estimated price range: $3,750 – $15,500

Psychological Support

Some agencies have in-house qualified social workers or counselors, others outsource the service. Where these services are available in-house, intended parents will probably not be asked to pay separately for the service. In others, this service becomes an additional charge. Even if all is going perfectly well, psychological support before, during and after the journey is important.

Estimated price range: included – $3,500

Insurance

Verifications will be made on the carrier’s private insurance policy. This is sometimes included in the agency compensation fee, but there are some agencies who charge this separately. This step is very important and is usually addressed in the contract stage of the process. In cases where the carrier’s insurance does not cover surrogacy or is not surrogacy-friendly, a new policy will need to be used. Insurance companies have no obligation to cover a surrogate pregnancy, so policies vary. A life insurance policy for the carrier, generally for a coverage of $250,000, will also have to be purchased, and will possibly include complications insurance for the carrier.

Estimated price range: $14,000 – $29,000

Contingency and Other Costs

A number of agencies add a ‘contingencies’ line to their cost overview – this can include costs for local monitoring of the carrier pre- and post-embryo transfer, as well as fees paid to the carrier in case a c-section or other invasive procedures are needed. 

Other miscellaneous costs include escrow account services, an international intended parents fee (to account for additional organizational requirements), and costs for a rematch in case no surrogacy agreement is reached with the first match.

Estimated price range: $1,500 – $18,000

Other Cost-Related Factors to Consider: Refunds and Savings

Before signing off with an agency, check the fine print for their rematch policy – some agencies offer an additional rematch at no charge, while others have a price tag attached to it. There is also what’s known as the ‘sibling journey policy’ – meaning a discount for intended parents who return to the agency for a second round following a successful first surrogacy journey.

Some agencies also have a refund policy, which outlines what intended parents can request a refund for. Refund policies range from full refunds to a partial refunds or no refunds at all. There are agencies who offer a rematch policy or additional transfers, instead. The extent to which a refund can be provided also depends on the egg donors agency’s policy. 

Intended parents should also ask about the agency’s policy on unutilized funds. A number of agencies refund any money remaining after the completion of the surrogacy process. This is generally done within three to six months of the process being completed.

The table below offers a thorough explanation of the costs intended parents should expect, together with their price range: 

CategoryDescriptionCosts
Agency Compensation$16,000 – 35,000
Carrier CompensationTotal Carrier Compensation$35,500 – 57,000
Carrier’s compensation (base fee)$27,500 – 45,000
Travel expenses for medical screening$2,500
Travel expenses for embryo transfer$2,500
Per transfer payment$500 – 1,000
Monthly expenses for carrier$1,800 – 4,000
Maternity clothing$500 – 1,000
Housekeeping for last month of pregnancy$135 – 1,000
Screening CostsTotal Screening costs$1,000 – 3,750
Psychological screening of carrier and spouse$1,000 – 3,500
Criminal history inquiry for carrier and spouse$0 – 250
Legal feesTotal Legal Fees$3,750 – 15,500
Intended parent attorney for drafting carrier’s agreement$2,500 – 6,000
Carrier’s attorney$1,250 – 1,500
Establish parentage attorney$0 – 8,000
Psychological SupportLicensed clinical social worker’s fees for carrier$0-3,500
Insurance CostsTotal Insurance Costs$14,350 – 28,800
Insurance verification of carrier’s private insurance policy$0 – 300
Carrier’s health insurance (if not surrogacy-friendly)$14,000 – 27,500
Carrier’s life insurance policy of $250,000$350 – 1,000
Other CostsTotal/Potential Other Costs$1,500 – 18,600
Contingency fees<$12,100
Escrow account service$0 – 1,500
International intended parents fee$0 – 5,000
Total Average Cost$75,000 – 140,000
0 corresponds to the cost being included in the agency fee.  

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above prices exclude egg donation, IVF and other potential medical  procedures. Some agencies do offer surrogacy packages that include egg donation. As a rough estimate, egg donation can cost anywhere from $12,500 to $25,000 and IVF from $12,000 to $17,000, excluding fertility drugs, specialized testing, and the birth.

Surrogacy financing options

At such a price, the surrogacy journey can feel out of reach for many. However, there are ways through which you can make the process more affordable:

  1. Insurance – Coverage for infertility treatment depends on your specific insurance provider, state-specific legislation, age, the reasons for infertility, and your relationship status. Only 14 states require insurance companies to cover infertility costs (the NCSL website provides more information on this). There’s also supplemental surrogacy insurance – and while it can be costly, this type of policy usually covers the surrogate’s medical costs. The first step in your financial planning process is to determine what will be covered by insurance and what won’t and to then budget all other costs accordingly.
  2. Loans –  Many intended parents use loans to finance their surrogacy journey – there are in fact organizations that offer loans specifically for fertility treatments and surrogacy.
  3. Grants – Some organizations will award grants to help intended parents achieve parenthood in special cases. You will have to meet specific criteria and generally require an infertility diagnosis.
  4. Fundraising and Crowdfunding – They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, a village can also help you raise the funds you need to get  started. There are multiple online crowdfunding options available – opt for one that has no fees so that 100% of what you collect goes towards your goal.

In conclusion…

As you can see, surrogacy is a big investment but the culmination of the process – your adorable little one – makes it all worthwhile. As an intended parent, it’s important that you go over all costs with the agency you choose, ensuring that there will be no financial surprises. That’s the only way to accurately map out your budget accordingly. 

GoStork is the only online platform that allows you to find, compare, and connect with your ideal surrogacy agency at no additional cost to you. We offer a one-of-a-kind comparison tool that helps intended parents compare surrogacy agencies side-by-side and point-by-point for various criteria, including fully transparent cost breakdowns by agency. I hope this helps you get started! Find your ideal surrogacy agency, here.