Surrogacy Agency Costs
The cost of surrogacy through an agency can vary significantly, though most start at around $20,000+, some well over $100,000. The high cost is why many Intended Parents choose to do their surrogacy journey privately, also called an independent journey. SurrogacyPlace.com was created to facilitate independent surrogacy journeys. To create a profile for surrogacy matching, visit our sign-up page.
Surrogacy agency costs typically cover services such as finding and screening potential surrogates, scheduling medical evaluations through an Intended Parents’ fertility clinic and providing mental support throughout the process. They should not be advising either surrogates or Intended Parents on legal matters, each party must have their own independent legal representation throughout the process.
In the United States, surrogacy agency fees typically range from $15,000 to $30,000 or more. This fee does not typically include various costs Intended Parents will have to cover as part of the surrogacy arrangement. This is on top of other forms of fees, including surrogate compensation, health insurance costs, IVF costs, legal fees for both themselves and for their surrogate, and medical/psychological screenings. Many agencies will facilitate psychological screenings, however, nearly all ask the Intended Parents to reimburse the agency for those costs.
Where commercial surrogacy is legal, surrogates are compensated for their time, effort, and the physical demands of pregnancy. Compensation can range from $40,000 to $60,000 or more, depending on various factors such as location, experience, and the number of pregnancies a surrogate has completed. Some surrogates ask for a higher fee if they have verified surrogacy-friendly insurance through their employer or through their spouse. Insurance costs can include obtaining or modifying insurance policies to cover the surrogate’s pregnancy-related expenses. This cost varies depending on the surrogate’s existing insurance coverage and the need for additional coverage. Intended Parents are generally also required to purchase a life insurance policy for their surrogacy to cover her during her journey.
Intended Parents are required to cover any medical expenses not covered by a health plan, including prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care. These costs can vary based on the surrogate’s insurance coverage, any complications during pregnancy, and the location of the medical facility.
Legal fees cover the drafting and review of contracts, ensuring that all parties involved understand their rights and responsibilities. Intended Parents will also need to cover the legal fees associated with establishing their legal parentage such as pre-birth orders and post-birth adoptions as available in their surrogacy jurisdiction. Legal fees can range from a several thousand dollars to well over $10,000.
Other expenses may include travel and accommodation for the surrogate, maternity clothes and mileage reimbursement for local appointments, as well as any unforeseen costs that may arise during the process.
Some Surrogacy Agencies Are More Expensive Than Others
Some agencies charge more than others for a variety of reasons. Some may do more thorough matching screening, others may have a larger staff for more personalized relationships with their clients. Some may be located in areas with higher living costs or where surrogacy is in high demand and therefore may feel at liberty to charge higher fees. Some may simply charge higher fees because they know Intended Parents are willing to pay them. It’s important to note that if you choose to use a surrogacy agency vs. going independent, you do not have to use an agency that is located in your area or state.
Payments to Surrogacy Agencies
Some agencies charge their full fee immediately upon signing an exclusive contract with them. Others require payment only once matching has been offered. It’s very important that prospective Intended Parents ask if any prospective agencies if they require up front payment or if they require payment only when a service has been done. Intended Parents must also find out that if a surrogate match isn’t approved, do they have to pay a re-match fee and/or go to the very bottom of the waiting list again.
Agency compensation is generally in stark contrast to payments made to surrogates. Surrogates nearly always receive most of their compensation when they are well underway with a confirmed and healthy pregnancy. This is one reason many surrogates prefer independent journeys, because they resent that an agency gets paid whether things work out or not, vs. surrogates that are only compensated when everything goes perfectly.
It’s crucial that both Intended Parents and surrogates thoroughly research and compare surrogacy agencies to understand their specific fees and services offered. Legal and medical professionals experienced in reproductive law and assisted reproductive technology can provide valuable guidance throughout the surrogacy journey, you never need to through an agency. If Intended Parents would like matching assistance and the emotional support of an agency, however, Intended Parents must do due diligence in asking for a detailed list of what services they are getting and the hard costs associated with all of those services. They must also find out what happens with an agency does not present them with a suitable match.
Surrogacy Costs Without an Agency
Many Intended Parents choose to pursue an independent surrogacy journey without a surrogacy agency for several reasons, including saving tens of thousands of dollars and having more control over the matching process. By avoiding agency fees, Intended Parents have more control over their expenses and can negotiate directly with the surrogate and other service providers.
Additionally, Intended Parents may prefer to have greater control and direct involvement in the process, from selecting a surrogate to managing the various aspects of the surrogacy arrangement. Going independent allows Intended Parents to independently search for and choose a surrogate who aligns with their preferences and criteria. Some parents feel that this personalized approach results in a stronger connection with the surrogate, others want to be able to thoroughly directly vet candidates with many conversations before officially matching.
Some Intended Parents may already have a family member or friend willing to act as a surrogate. In such cases, an agency is entirely unnecessary. Both parties regardless of their relationship must still have their own independent legal representation. In all surrogacy journeys whether independent or with an agency, it’s crucial to work closely with legal and medical professionals that specialize in reproductive law and assisted reproductive technology. These experts can provide the necessary guidance, ensure legal compliance, and help manage the complexities of the surrogacy process. Reproductive law is a specialized field that involves a deep understanding of the legal aspects of assisted reproductive technology, surrogacy contracts, parental rights, and local laws. Lawyers with expertise in reproductive law can provide comprehensive legal guidance tailored to the unique circumstances of surrogacy. Surrogacy laws vary widely by jurisdiction, and legal professionals can help Intended Parents navigate the specific legal requirements in their location.
Cost-Cutting in Surrogacy
Surrogacy agencies are typically the only optional fee in surrogacy. Skipping legal and medical steps in the surrogacy process can be risky and may lead to complications for all parties involved. Each step in the surrogacy journey is designed to ensure the well-being of the surrogate, Intended Parents, and the child, as well as to establish legal and ethical frameworks. You can have a successful journey without a surrogacy agency, and independent journeys are gaining in popularity because agencies have become prohibitively expensive. You should never, however, save money but cutting surrogacy standards and safeguards like legal representation and forgoing health insurance protections.
Surrogacy involves complex legal agreements to protect the rights and responsibilities of all parties. Skipping legal steps, such as drafting and reviewing contracts, can lead to ambiguity, disputes, and potential legal challenges in the future.
Surrogacy arrangements often involve psychological evaluations to assess the mental and emotional readiness of the surrogate and sometimes of the Intended Parents. Skipping these evaluations may result in emotional challenges, stress, or conflicts during the surrogacy journey. It also may be legally required in some jurisdiction.
Properly addressing insurance coverage and financial arrangements is vital to cover the costs of the surrogacy journey and any unforeseen medical expenses. Skipping these steps can lead to financial stress and complications during the pregnancy and post-birth period.
Each major step in the surrogacy process is designed to protect the interests and well-being of all parties involved. Skipping steps may compromise the integrity of the surrogacy arrangement, leading to legal, medical, and emotional challenges that can be avoided through careful adherence to the established process. It’s crucial for Intended Parents and surrogates to work closely with legal and medical professionals to ensure a well-managed and legally sound surrogacy journey. If you’re looking to cut costs, you should consider forgoing a surrogacy agency and doing your journey independently.
If you’d like to learn more about independent journeys, check out our independent journey guide.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Agencies and Surrogacy Costs
How much does surrogacy through an agency typically cost?
The cost of surrogacy through an agency varies, covering services such as surrogate matching, legal assistance, medical coordination, and emotional support. Costs range from agency fees of $15,000 to $30,000+, surrogate compensation from $30,000 to $50,000+, medical expenses, legal fees, insurance costs, and miscellaneous expenses.
Why do Intended parents choose to pursue independent surrogacy journey without an agency?
Many Intended Parents opt for an independent surrogacy journey to save costs, maintain personal control and involvement, and have more options in surrogate selection. Cost savings is often a significant factor since agency fees are extremely expensive.
Can Intended Parents skip steps in the surrogacy process to save money?
Outside of forgoing a surrogacy agency which is not required or necessary for a successful surrogacy journey, skipping steps in the surrogacy process is not advisable. Each step is designed to protect the well-being of all parties involved, establish legal frameworks, and ensure a smooth journey. Skipping steps can lead to legal, medical, and emotional complications, potentially jeopardizing the success of the surrogacy arrangement.
Why are lawyers a necessary part of the surrogacy process?
Lawyers specializing in reproductive law offer crucial legal expertise, ensuring compliance with local laws, drafting and reviewing contracts, and handling legal issues that may arise during the surrogacy journey. Legal professionals are essential for navigating the complex legal aspects of surrogacy.