Hopeful parents have a couple of options for hiring a surrogate -- a doctor can implant your fertilized egg or a donor egg into the surrogate mother. A donor egg can be fertilized by the father's sperm so that at least one parent has a biological connection. Although surrogacy is an option for those who can't have a child of their own, it can also be the most expensive option. Costs vary widely depending on many factors including whether you use an agency or find your own surrogate. Costs can range from $60,000 to $150,000 for domestic surrogacy as of 2015.
The medical costs comprise a large portion of the expense of surrogacy. In vitro fertilization can cost about $15,000 per cycle, with costs varying by location as of 2015. If you must use donor eggs, you add another $10,000 to $20,000 in total fees. You also pay for the surrogate's prenatal and medical care, including the cost of delivery and follow-up care. Growing Generations, which has a surrogacy program, estimates the cost of medical care to be between $36,500 and $51,500 without egg donation. Medical care for surrogates who become pregnant with multiples or who have pregnancy complications can be significantly more.
Agency and Legal Fees
Surrogacy is a complex arrangement, and you must work with a lawyer to ensure your legal rights are protected. You don't want the surrogate to change her mind and try to claim custody of the baby. You can pay up to $20,000 in legal fees, depending on the lawyer and the details of your arrangement.
Working with an agency can help you find a surrogate and manage the whole process, but you also pay a fee to the agency. Coastal Surrogacy in California charges an agency fee of $14,500 as of 2015, and Growing Generations in New York charges fees between $25,000 and $30,000. You may pay additional fees for surrogate screening and counseling.
Surrogate compensation can include a flat fee for the service, living expenses, lost wages and ongoing support, such as psychological care. Growing Generations estimates these costs at $40,425 to $60,000, and Reproductive Possibilities puts the fee at $20,000 to $25,000 as of 2015. You may have to pay more if you live in an urban area. Some agencies reduce the compensation if the surrogate miscarries or has a stillbirth, but others promise to pay the full compensation unless the surrogate is proven to be at fault for the loss. Surrogates who become pregnant with multiples also get paid more, often $5,000 more per baby.
You may also have to pay more if you perform an independent search for a surrogate with specific characteristics. You may be able to save money by working with a family member or friend, but making that choice presents other issues, such as possibly straining your relationship.
Some medical insurance may cover part of the cost of surrogacy, such as the cost of the IVF cycle or the use of donor eggs. However, it doesn't cover the full cost of the fees involved. Some high-profile companies offer assistance for surrogacy or other reproductive procedures. For example, Facebook and Apple both give their employees up to $20,000 for procedures such as surrogacy and egg freezing as of 2015. Check with your employer to learn what assistance might be available.
The agency might offer financing, and you might be able to borrow against your retirement accounts or the equity in your home. You might also be able to find grants to offset the costs. For example, the Gay Parenting Assistance Program provides assistance to same-sex couples.