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Surrogacy Costs and Professional Services Needed in the USA

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Here we provide some descriptions of the services and their costs, for everything needed to complete surrogacy in the United States. The costs and information we provide here is based on our years of experience, information from over 400 Intended Parents and collaborators.

Surrogate Compensation: two factors will dictate the compensation for your surrogate. Surrogate compensation varies by state in the USA with California being the most expensive. This is due to demand in that state as California has the more favorable laws. The compensation paid to the surrogates also depends on their experience level. Those going into a third journey will demand more than a first timer. The market will pay for this experience. Our experience has shown us those Intended Parents with greater wealth such as movie stars, millionaires, billionaires, and luminaries, normally prefer these experienced ladies. In cases where the Intended Parents choose to be anonymous, an experienced surrogate is preferred.

In California, first time gestational carriers (surrogates) will receive a base of $35,000 and with incidental expenses, on average be a total cost of $45,000. Second time GCs will receive $55,000 and third timers, at $65,000 and above.

If she has a job and is ordered to have bedrest during her pregnancy, you will need to pay for her lost wages, child care, and housekeeping.

Surrogates need to be screened and managed. That is typically the role of the agency. Proper management of your surrogate can avert problems along the way. Remember both Intended Parents and Gestational Carriers are emotionally charged so expect things to happen.

Medical and Life Insurance for the GC

Each passing year there are less mainstream carriers that will insure a GC for her journey. Even if she has existing insurance, it often should not cover the surrogacy. In many cases, using existing insurance can constitute insurance fraud. One normally consults a licensed insurance broker to review the policy to see if it will legally cover her. Costs for this review are about $250.

There are existing agencies with policies available for GC medical insurance if she cannot get on an ACA plan during the open enrollment period. In many cases some Intended Parents choose to just cash pay as expenses arise. Obviously this can be risky.

Policies available to ensure a GC for a year range from $14,000 to $28,000.

Life insurance is a must and sometimes two policies are purchased. Always a term policy with a payout value of $250,000 or $500,000 is always purchased. In the event of her death, the GCs family receives this amount. When a second life insurance policy is purchased, the death benefit goes to the Intended Parents. Costs for a term life insurance policy is about $350 to $500.

Additional fees related to the GC

As mentioned before, in addition to the GCs compensation, she will have expenses that need to be reimbursed. This is often travel and compensation for lost work. In our experience these fees tend to run about $6,000- $10,000 additional to her base compensation.

Expect to pay for psychological screening. In our program, we insist in using a doctorate level mental health professional with experience. Both a clinical exam and a battery test should be administered. Fees run from $900 to $1,300 depending on location.

Background checking might be an additional charge apart from the agency fee. This should be about $250 or less for a simple check. It is a good idea to look beyond criminal activity and see if she has any liens, financial problems, or is involved in any lawsuits.

Surrogacy Agency and Agency Fees

There are a lot of small surrogacy agencies in the United States which are under three employees. In fact these are the majority Many of these agencies are a single person who was a surrogate before, or a set of Intended Parents. These types of agencies have the lowest overhead and charge less. These agencies might charge $10,000 to $15,000 to find you a surrogate and manage your journey.

The larger agencies with staff and offices are in the range of $20,000 to $40,000 depending on what services they include. These larger agencies should have a pool of available surrogates available should you need a replacement. They also should have a more professional management system of the entire journey process. This might involve dedicated staff to record the journey in a database, remind the GC of her appointments, educate her on what to expect in appointments, speak with her on a weekly basis (mental support), and help her receive her reimbursements from the trust fund.

Regardless of a large or small agency, you should have an agreement governing what services they will provide. You should also be sure they will provide surrogate support and management services for the journey. Ideally, they have a pool of surrogates available.

Lawyers and Legal Fees

In the United States surrogacy journeys will have two lawyers involved. One representing the Intended Parents and the other representing the GC. There are two key legal items for a surrogacy journey. One is the contract between the gestational carrier and the Intended Parents. This is termed the Gestational Surrogacy Agreement (GSA). These can be up to 50 pages long and govern everything from her pay, to what she will eat, and what the post-birth relationship will be.

One attorney will draft the GSA (largely boilerplate) and the second attorney will review and appraise their client about the terms of the GSA.

The second major legal matter will be the pre-birth order (PBO) in states where the law provides for these. The PBO is a filing with the courts stating the GC is not the actual parent and the birth certificate will have your name. These are typically filed at the start of the third trimester of pregnancy and given to the hospital where the birth will take place.

With trust-funding the GCs compensation, the two lawyers, the contracts and the pre-birth order expect to pay about $12,000-14,000 in California.

Other Costs, Fertility Treatment, Egg Donor

Fertility work including IVF, embryo creation, transfer, monitoring, will cost about $30,000 to $60,000.

Egg donor compensation ranges from about $5,000 to $10,000 or more. Agency fees range from $8,000 to $12,000. Donor screening and travel costs will be about $3,000 to $5,000 more. Expect a total cost for an egg donor to be $16,000 to $27,000.

Summary Table of Expenses

*Note, in our experience we have not seen a family creation scenario via surrogacy for under $130,000. We advised our clients to expect $150,000 to $200,000. We have seen many complete journeys exceed $200,000.

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