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How Much Does it Cost to Have a Child Via Surrogate?

Building a family via surrogacy can be an expensive process. While costs vary dramatically, the total is typically about $150,000, and potentially above $200,000.

Until you’ve decided exactly what you need on your surrogacy journey, you may not know just how everything will add up. Below, we’ll review some of the factors that may play into the final price tag.

What Influences the Cost of Surrogacy?

There are 6 main factors that impact the cost of surrogacy: 

Sperm or Egg Donors

Many intended parents will want or need to use donor sperm, donor eggs, or both. While donor sperm is relatively low-cost (ranging from about $200 to $3,000), egg donation may add an additional cost of approximately $25,000 per IVF cycle. If you have health insurance or employer benefits, your plan may cover some or all the costs of egg or sperm donation.

Existing Frozen Eggs or Embryos

If you already have embryos created, that may lower the price of your surrogacy by a fair amount. Retrieving eggs can range between $5,000 and $15,000 while embryo creation can average around $20,000. In addition, the medical costs associated with transferring these embryos to the surrogate will be an additional fee, usually about $5,000 per transfer.

Agency Fees

While it is possible to manage surrogacy on your own, there’s a good reason so many intended parents choose to work with surrogacy agencies. These agencies provide a great deal of support—both logistical and emotional—throughout the surrogacy process. 

There is a wide range of services agencies cover, which of course impacts costs. Agency fees typically range from about $20,000 to $50,000. The most comprehensive options, known as ‘full service agencies’, will cover everything outside of the medical IVF work, including finding egg or sperm donors, legal assistance, insurance, and even counseling. A more economic option would be an agency that focuses primarily on surrogacy screening and matching.

Legal Fees with Surrogacy

Legal fees for surrogacy often run upwards of $10,000. These fees may be folded into the overall surrogacy agency fees if the agency provides in-house legal services. However, not every agency includes the legal costs in their fee estimates. Be sure to ask any agency you intend to use if their fees cover the legal expenses.

Surrogacy is a legally complicated process, and the laws are not the same for every state. Intended parents will need to ensure they’re using an experienced surrogacy attorney who understands the varied and nuanced laws of an industry that is rapidly evolving. In addition, intended parents often need to cover the legal costs for an independent lawyer to represent their surrogate or egg donor.

Surrogate Compensation

Your surrogate will have the extremely important job of bringing your child into the world. Surrogate compensation ranges from about $35,000 to $60,000 or more, and may include various costs such as:

  • Miscellaneous expenses incurred by the surrogate, such as maternity clothing, housekeeping, prenatal vitamins, etc.
  • Travel expenses for medical procedures/doctor visits
  • Lost wages (for taking time off work to attend appointments)
  • Childcare during surrogacy appointments and related travel
  • Insurance co-pays
  • Postpartum care / expenses
Insurance

Some surrogates have their own insurance that covers surrogacy but many do not. You will most likely need to cover the insurance costs of your surrogate. A traditional insurance plan can cost anywhere from $11,000 to $25,000, with additional costs for any out of network treatment the surrogate needs. A full service agency will typically include insurance in their package and if not, will provide you with resources to secure insurance on your own. 

Additional Costs Associated with Surrogacy

As you go through surrogacy, prepare for some unexpected costs that will inevitably arise once you think you’ve accounted for everything.

Some of the expenses that intended parents don’t necessarily expect include things like escrow fees for payments made throughout the surrogacy, or the costs of medical complications such as bed rest for the surrogate, a C-section, or twins/multiples.

How to Pay for Surrogacy

While your health insurance plan may cover a portion of your costs, insurance generally does not cover most surrogacy expenses. This means that a hefty portion of the costs will likely fall on you. Our team at Sunfish would be happy to set up a complimentary financial advocate session to discuss your options, such as financing or grants, and help you plan your journey to parenthood.