How Much Does a Surrogate Cost? (2023)

Many individuals and families around the world use surrogacy to start a family. From 1999 to 2013, nearly 31,000 Americans had a baby through surrogacy. There are many reasons people choose surrogacy, including infertility, health complications, being in a same-sex relationship, or being single.

“The average cost of surrogacy for U.S.-based intended parents is $100,000, but it can cost as little as $15,000 or as much as $250,000,” says MaryJane Carnahan, a former intended parent and the founder of The Biggest Ask, a surrogacy advocacy community. According to surrogacy lawyer Amira Hasenbush, J.D., MPH, the total cost “varies significantly by many different factors,” like location, insurance coverage, and whether you use an agency.

Key Takeaways

  • In the United States, surrogacy can cost upwards of $100,000.
  • Health insurance for the intended parents does not extend to a surrogate. Also, many health plans exclude coverage for gestational carriers.
  • Fertility grants can help offset some of the costs associated with infertility and adoption.

Average Cost of Having a Baby via Surrogacy

There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. A gestational carrier is not biologically related to the child; they carry the fetus through pregnancy and give birth to the baby for the intended parent(s). The gestational carrier is compensated by the intended parent(s) and does not have any parental rights to the child. A traditional surrogate contributes their own egg and, therefore, is considered one of the child’s biological parents. Traditional surrogacy is less common because of the legal and psychological complexities, but it can be less expensive.

The average cost of having a baby via surrogate will vary widely based on a variety of factors like location, age, and insurance coverage. For Hasenbush’s clients based in Los Angeles, surrogacy can cost $100,000 to $200,000.

The two types of surrogacy each require their own procedures that affect the overall cost. Egg retrieval and embryo transfer are required for gestational carriers but not traditional surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy, on the other hand, may require additional legal fees to make adoption and custody arrangements.

Breakdown of Typical Surrogacy Costs

Medical expenses, compensation, and legal fees are all significant factors that affect the total cost of surrogacy. Many surrogacy processes begin with some form of egg or sperm freezing, then in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some families require multiple rounds before they are successful in conceiving. These combined costs contribute to the overall price.

(Video) HOW MUCH DOES SURROGACY COST? | Answering your Questions (Q&A)

Fertility Tests and Treatments

Some surrogacies begin with a series of fertility tests for intended parents and health screenings for gestational carriers. “Screening and health tests for the surrogate are completed by the intended parents’ fertility clinic and are about $4,000–$7,000. This is never covered by the intended parents’ medical insurance,” Carnahan explains.

Embryo Creation

In surrogacy, eggs can be fertilized via IVF, mentioned above, or intrauterine insemination (IUI). Generally, IUI is significantly less expensive than IVF, which is a complicated, resource-intensive procedure that involves several steps, like egg collection and fertilization in a laboratory, that IUI does not. For that reason, one round of IUI costs $500 to $4,000, while IVF can cost $20,000.

Intended parents pursuing traditional surrogacy can use either IUI or IVF. Gestational surrogacy, however, requires in vitro fertilization.

Egg Donation

If the intended parents need to also pay for egg donation, Hasenbush notes that part can cost more than $7,000. The Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago advertises an egg donor fee of $7,000 to $9,000, plus $400 for short-term health insurance for the donor. On top of that, intended parents may need to pay storage fees until the eggs are used. Some companies will offer one year of free egg storage and charge up to $500 for every subsequent year. Having family or friends donate eggs or sperm can help reduce these costs.

Surrogate Compensation and Insurance

This fee can also vary widely. According to Hasenbush, “Surrogate base compensation can vary from free, if they are a friend or family member, to upwards of $50,000 for an experienced surrogate.” Different regions across America have different compensation trends. In Hasenbush’s experience, “West Coast surrogates tend to have higher base compensations than those in the South or Midwest.” The hopeful parents may be asked to pay the surrogate’s insurance premiums, which could run $500 to $1,000 a month.

Some states, like Michigan, expressly prohibit gestational surrogate compensation. Others, like Louisiana, do not explicitly prohibit compensation but enforce laws that make it impracticable. Make sure to consult state laws before entering any surrogacy agreement.

Agency Fees

Surrogacy agencies offer a variety of services. Agencies match surrogates to intended parents, offer screening services to ensure both parties are mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared for the process, and coordinate logistics between medical professionals and attorneys. While it is optional to work with a surrogacy agency, those who choose to use one should expect to spend $15,000 to $30,000, according to Hasenbush.

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Legal Fees

Attorneys draft the surrogacy contract, which outlines each party’s financial and behavioral obligations. For example, the contract may oblige intended parents to reimburse the surrogate for maternity wear or require that the surrogate abstains from cigarettes and alcohol for the duration of the pregnancy. Attorneys also arrange legal custody.

Legal fees vary based on the type of agreements needed, and each law practice can charge as much or as little as they like. Hasenbush says families should budget around $6,000 to $10,000 for legal fees, “depending on whether they need an egg donor agreement” and any state requirements.

Labor and Delivery

The average cost of childbirth in a U.S. hospital is about $14,000. If the surrogate has health insurance, much of that will be covered by the insurance company, but the intended parent(s) will typically pay deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance. If the surrogate does not have insurance, the intended parents can purchase a maternity-only or short-term policy.

Becoming pregnant is not a qualifying life event, meaning that it will not make an uninsured surrogate eligible to enroll in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace outside of the annual open enrollment period.

Other Expenses

There are many other small factors to consider that can add up. Having multiple children like twins or triplets will increase costs significantly, as will a cesarean birth, hospitalization for the surrogate or infant, travel or transport, and any postpartum complications. Hasenbush adds that if the surrogate works, they may require compensation for lost wages and may ask the intended parents to pay for life insurance.

What Does Health Insurance Cover?

Health insurance companies are starting to expand coverage to fertility treatments, but many require a physician’s confirmation that the insured is experiencing infertility.

Fifteen states require insurers to cover infertility treatment, and two states require insurers to offer coverage, though there’s no guarantee that the exact services you need will be covered, and your plan being subject to those laws depends on factors like the size of your employer and where your policy was written. Instead, health insurance plans may cover just one of the steps in the surrogacy process, such as fertility tests, egg or sperm freezing, implantation, or artificial insemination. These procedures, like any other medically necessary procedure, are subject to deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance, and may be less expensive with an in-network provider.

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These days, an increasing number of employers are adding fertility coverage to their health plans. Fertility benefits are more common among large employers with 20,000 or more employees, and almost all plans impose caps like lifetime maximum dollar benefits or a limit on the number of covered IVF cycles.

A gestational carrier covered by Medicaid should be aware that their compensation may make them ineligible for subsidized insurance. However, if they do lose Medicaid coverage, they would qualify for an Affordable Care Act special enrollment period.

To learn more about whether your insurance covers infertility treatments, contact your insurance provider’s Member Services. Note that even major insurance carriers have different websites based on the state and the plan, so look specifically for the websites that apply to your coverage.

If the surrogate already has health insurance, their insurance may cover their own prenatal care and birth costs. However, some insurance providers exclude gestational surrogate charges, in which case the intended parents could provide the surrogate coverage. According to ART Risk Solutions, intended parents could purchase a short-term policy for $2,400 to cover the surrogate until marketplace open enrollment, or a maternity-only policy that costs $25,000 to $35,000 for one baby and $40,000 to $50,000 for twins.

How to Pay for a Surrogate

Many couples save for years before they feel financially fit to pay for surrogacy. Many surrogacy agents also have financial counselors who help parents weigh their options among savings, loans, and grants.

Fast Fact

Surrogacy expenses are not eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending arrangement (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA).

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Despite hefty penalties, some people choose to dip into their retirement savings, like 401(k) plans or thrift savings plans (TSPs), to cover surrogacy costs. Others may choose to borrow against their home, either with a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a home equity loan. These options may be tempting because they seem to be less expensive than paying with a credit card, but they can jeopardize the financial security of both parent(s) and child.

If borrowing is the only way to finance surrogacy, it is best to look for low-interest unsecured personal loans with a realistic repayment period. Fertility financing is available from a variety of lenders.

Grants can also help people to expand their families by assisting with some surrogacy expenses. Fertility Within Reach has a comprehensive list of available grants. For LGBTQIA+ couples and individuals, Family Equality maintains a list of family-building grants that assist with the costs of adoption or assisted reproductive technology (ART). And The Broken Brown Egg awards an annual $10,000 grant to defray the costs of adoption or fertility treatments for one Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) couple or individual.

Do Surrogates Get Paid if They Miscarry?

In most cases, surrogates are paid as they reach certain milestones during the pregnancy. So if they miscarry at any point, they get paid up to that point.

Do Surrogates Get to Keep the Baby?

No. The ability to keep a child born to a surrogate is not a right that a surrogate has. Once legal parenthood is established and the paperwork signed, the surrogate has no legal rights to the child and cannot claim it.

How Can I Lower the Cost of Surrogacy?

An international surrogacy can lower your cost by $50,000 or more. Or you can go with independent surrogacy, meaning you do not hire an agent to manage the process. That can reduce your costs by $10,000 to $25,000, but you will have to work with the surrogate directly.


The Bottom Line

The average cost of surrogacy in the U.S. is about $100,000, a total that includes the cost of fertility treatments, embryo creation, surrogate compensation, as well as legal and delivery fees. Fortunately, an increasing number of employers are including fertility benefits in their health plans, reducing the amount patients pay out-of-pocket for treatments like fertility tests and egg collection.

Many fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies work with partner institutions to offer patients agreeable loans that allow them to finance their surrogacy without being penalized for dipping into retirement savings or taking on the risk of tapping into home equity.


What is the average cost of having a surrogate? ›

The average cost of surrogacy can range from $190,000 to $230,000 depending on the individual arrangements. In states like California, where surrogates are in high demand, the cost may be slightly higher. Legal requirements and the costs of other services can also vary from state to state.

How much is the cheapest surrogacy? ›

Surrogacy costs range from $120,000 to $150,000 for an agency program in the United States. 'Independent Surrogacy' can cost as little as $75,000, but can be difficult to manage. 'Assisted Surrogacy' journeys can cost about $99,000 with most agency services included.

How much should I charge a friend for surrogacy? ›

Using a friend or family member will only reduce the surrogate cost if the woman chooses to not be compensated for the surrogacy. Otherwise, the cost of surrogacy with a friend is similar to the cost of surrogacy with a gestational carrier found for you by an agency and can be between $100,000 and $200,000.

Can normal people afford surrogacy? ›

Due to the number of individuals, procedures, and service providers involved in a surrogacy, the process is expensive, often in the six-figure range. While most families do not have that kind of money readily available, there are many options that exist to help make this path to parenthood more financially attainable.

Is surrogacy covered by insurance? ›

Here is a look at the latest provisions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021 that was enforced on 25thJanuary 2022 in India: Couples who opt for surrogacy to become parents need to compulsory purchase general health insurance coverage that lasts for 3 years for the surrogate mother.

Do surrogates get paid if they miscarry? ›

Do surrogates get paid if they miscarry? Surrogates are paid as they achieve specific milestones during the surrogacy journey. If you experience an unforeseen event like a miscarriage during your surrogacy journey, you will be compensated up to that point.

Which state is best for surrogacy? ›

Let's cover the best states to pursue surrogacy in 2022, for both gestational carriers and intended parents.
Surrogacy-Friendly States in 2022
  • California.
  • District of Columbia.
  • New Hampshire.
  • Rhode Island.
  • Washington.
  • New Jersey.
  • Vermont.
  • Nevada.

Can a friend be a surrogate for free? ›

The answer is yes! Many intended parents choose to work with generous, selfless friends during this journey. Rather than find and work with a stranger, they choose to start their surrogacy process with someone with whom they share an established relationship.

Is IVF cheaper than surrogacy? ›

Costs: On average, the cost of gestational surrogacy tends to be higher than for traditional surrogacy. This is primarily due to differences in the medical process; IUI is less expensive than IVF and tends to involve fewer medical procedures and fertility treatments.

Can my sister carry a baby for me? ›

The short answer is yes. Yes, indeed, altruistic surrogates can be siblings, and they're the most common type too. In fact, using a family member is preferable in many cases since there is a close relationship between the surrogate and the intended parents.

What is the highest paid surrogate? ›

As a first-time surrogate, you can make up to $72,000 with ConceiveAbilities depending on where you live and your current salary. This includes our $10,000 limited time bonus and more. ConceiveAbilities is the highest paying surrogacy agency and offers the highest compensation package for surrogates.

Why is surrogacy not covered by insurance? ›

While there's always an exception, the simple answer is this: most insurance providers are hesitant to cover the cost of fertility treatments because they are expensive procedures in general. Many insurance providers will also consider surrogacy as an elective procedure, triggering exclusions in the policy.

Who pays a surrogate mother? ›

Surrogacy-Related Expenses

As a surrogate, all of your expenses will be covered by the intended parents — everything from your screening costs to your medical procedures to your legal expenses. In addition, you'll likely receive a monthly payment that covers your pregnancy-related costs.

Why do couples opt for surrogacy? ›

A woman may opt for surrogacy if she has no uterus or missing uterus or abnormal uterus or if the uterus is surgically removed due to any medical conditions such as gynaecological cancer.

What companies cover surrogacy? ›

Viacom: Pays for in vitro fertilization, egg freezing, and surrogacy expenses. Intel: Pays up to $40,000 for employees' fertility treatments, along with another $20,000 for prescription coverage. Intel opened the benefit to employees “regardless of infertility diagnosis” Bank of America: Provides unlimited IVF coverage.

Can you just get a surrogate? ›

Absolutely. Just because you can physically conceive doesn't mean that's the only path to building a family. In fact, many families feel that surrogacy is the best and only way to bring a child into this world. Hopeful families come to surrogacy for a host of different reasons.

How many times can you be a surrogate mother? ›

In order to carry a surrogate child, medical professionals recommend that you have no more than 5 previous pregnancies. Likewise, after the pregnancy that would be the surrogate's sixth birth, many women will no longer be cleared to be a surrogate again.

How often does surrogacy fail? ›

Fertility centers in the US have a surrogacy success rate of about 75% and that number can increase as high as 95% for a birth once the gestational carrier is pregnant. Success is seen in the growth rate of surrogacy.

What benefits do surrogates get? ›

Surrogates receive a generous compensation

On average, surrogates can expect to receive between $40,000 and $50,000 for their willingness to carry a child. Expenses such as travel and medical expenses are covered as well. Another benefit is receiving health insurance throughout the surrogate journey.

Which states are not surrogacy friendly? ›

There are 3 US states that do not recognize gestational surrogacy, and surrogacy contracts are "illegal" in those states (women who live in Nebraska, Michigan and Louisiana are not able to apply to become surrogates at this time). If you're an intended parent, you can become a parent no matter where you live.

What is the most common form of surrogacy? ›

Science now allows a surrogate mother to carry another woman's egg with relative ease: she is known as a gestational surrogate or gestational carrier. This is the most common form of surrogacy and what provides the most solid legal protection for both intended parents and the surrogate.

How do you get approved for surrogacy? ›

To qualify as a surrogate candidate, you must:
  1. Be 22 - 40 years old.
  2. Be a U.S. citizen.
  3. Be a non-smoker in excellent health.
  4. Be within a healthy height and weight ratio.
  5. Have a healthy reproductive history; having given birth to at least one child that you are raising.

How much does it cost for my sister to carry my baby? ›

Agency fees typically range from $15,000 to 50,000 depending on the agency you choose and the depth of services they provide. Remember, because one agency is more expensive doesn't mean they provide more services or will do a better job.

Is it cheaper to find your own surrogate? ›

The good news is that, if you choose to work with a surrogate mother who is a family member, the cost will be significantly lower. At American Surrogacy, you can usually expect your overall cost to be around half of normal if you complete an identified surrogacy.

How old can surrogate mothers be? ›

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that surrogate be between the ages of 21 and 45, with surrogates over 45 being acceptable as long as all parties are “informed about the potential risks of pregnancy with advancing maternal age.”

Which state has the cheapest surrogacy? ›

The good news is that other nearby states offer good alternatives, at lower cost. Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico are all good choices for gestational surrogacy. So is Utah for certain intended parents.

Why does surrogacy cost so much? ›

Medical expenses, compensation, and legal fees are all significant factors that affect the total cost of surrogacy. Many surrogacy processes begin with some form of egg or sperm freezing, then in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some families require multiple rounds before they are successful in conceiving.

Can I just give my baby to a family member? ›

Can you give your baby up for adoption to someone you know?” The answer is yes. Whether they plan on “giving a baby up” for adoption to a friend, family member, or someone they've met through their own networking efforts, these arrangements are known as independent, or identified, adoptions.

What can disqualify you from being a surrogate? ›

Below are medical conditions that can prevent women from becoming gestational surrogates.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) ...
  • Preeclampsia. ...
  • Unhealthy BMI. ...
  • Gestational Diabetes. ...
  • Endometriosis. ...
  • Multiple C-Sections. ...
  • Other Underlying Health Conditions. ...
  • No Previous Children.

What happens if sibling have a baby together? ›

The risk for passing down a genetic disease is much higher for siblings than first cousins. To be more specific, two siblings who have kids together have a higher chance of passing on a recessive disease to their kids.

Do surrogates get paid monthly? ›

It can be used however you choose, and many surrogates decide to invest in a new home, fund their children's college educations, pay off loans, and more. Your base compensation will be paid in monthly installments after the pregnancy is confirmed.

Do surrogates get maternity leave? ›

Do surrogates get maternity leave? Yes – whether you are a gestational or traditional surrogate, you are entitled to maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

What is the disadvantage of surrogate mother? ›

The potential disadvantages of surrogacy to be considered are: Surrogacy can be physically and emotionally challenging. Surrogacy takes time. Surrogacy involves the normal risks of pregnancy.

Does Obama care cover surrogacy? ›

How much does medical insurance for a surrogate cost? Insurance available through ObamaCare (The Affordable Care Act) is required by law to include maternity care, which generally includes surrogacy. These policies cost $600 to $700 a month, depending on the terms.

Is surrogacy cruel to the baby? ›

While it may fulfill the desires of adults, surrogacy is always harmful to children. Even in the “best case” scenario like this one, where the genetic mother and father are also the “intended parents,” surrogacy forces the child to sacrifice a critical bond with her birth mother.

Is a surrogate cheaper than IVF? ›

This procedure is typically less demanding and less expensive when compared to an IVF. However, traditional surrogacy brings more legal concerns for the intended parent as the surrogate acts as both the birth mother and the egg donor.

How much do surrogates get paid monthly? ›

A typical surrogate in the United States makes from $50,000 to $60,000 paid in monthly installments. She also gets paid another $5,000 to $10,000 USD in various benefits. Surrogates with unique qualifications (such as living in California or having previous experience) often receive an additional $10,000 or more.

How do I find a private surrogate? ›

Where to Find Surrogate Mothers: 5 Options for Matching
  1. Surrogacy Agencies and Matching Professionals. ...
  2. Surrogacy Clinics. ...
  3. Surrogacy Attorneys. ...
  4. Networking with Family and Friends. ...
  5. Online Support Groups and Classifieds.

Who feeds a surrogate child? ›

The surrogate expresses colostrum leading up to the birth so that there is a stock of milk ready for when the baby is born. Some surrogates have managed to express enough colostrum to satisfy a hungry newborn for the first 24+ hours.

Does a surrogate own the baby? ›

In traditional surrogacy (which is rare today because of the legal and emotional complexities involved) the answer would be “yes.” A traditional surrogate is the biological mother of the baby she carries for the intended parents.

What state pays the most for surrogacy? ›

Due to favorable surrogacy laws, California is the number one state for national and international intended parents to start their surrogacy journey. Because of high demand for women in California to carry a child for someone, surrogates are being generously compensated for their time, effort and dedication.

How many times can you be a surrogate? ›

In order to carry a surrogate child, medical professionals recommend that you have no more than 5 previous pregnancies. Likewise, after the pregnancy that would be the surrogate's sixth birth, many women will no longer be cleared to be a surrogate again.

What disqualifies you from being a surrogate? ›

Possible conditions that could affect your surrogacy are preterm labor, miscarriage, placenta previa and other issues that need medical intervention. You should talk to your doctor about whether your previous pregnancy conditions could disqualify you from surrogacy.


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