Explaining and understanding surrogacy fees and costs
It can be overwhelming if neither side knows what to expect for surrogacy fees. It is important to note that the cost of surrogacy includes the surrogates' fees, the clinics' fees, medical and legal fees, psychological screening, medical screening and sometimes an agency fee.
Not everyone asks for the same fees, but I've been in the surrogacy community since 2005 and there is definitely an average and standard as far as fees go. Not all surrogates ask for all fees and some fees are more or less. It can be hard to talk to a stranger about these fees, but knowing about them upfront can help eliminate misunderstandings, awkwardness and even shock later on. Each side should know what to expect and what is important to them. If you keep both sides in mind and know what to expect, negotiations should go smoothly.
The most common fee surrogates ask for is a base compensation fee. This fee is for the pain and suffering that goes along with the pregnancy and/or living expenses. A typical first time surrogate's base compensation is usually between $18,000- $20,000 and goes up about $5000 each surrogacy. These payments are usually split up into 10 equal monthly payments. An experienced surrogate can be well worth the money since she knows what all is involved and has been through it and knows if she can handle it. However, all surrogates start out as inexperienced and there are plenty of great surrogates out there with all levels of experience. If you are a first time surrogate, I highly recommend that you research surrogacy as much as possible.
On top of the Base Compensation, there are other fees that go along with a surrogacy. If a surrogacy pregnancy was as easy as getting pregnant and setting your life on cruise control, then more women would be doing it and there would probably be one low fee. However, a lot is asked of a surrogate and we go through things that we typically wouldn't with our own pregnancies.
One of the first fees a surrogate usually receives is the monthly expense allowance. A surrogate incurs costs from the beginning. A monthly expense allowance helps offset the costs that occur upfront and along the way. A monthly expense allowance typically covers local travel, phone calls, e-mails, faxes, birth control pills, etc. This fee can range from $150-$300/month and begins at signing of contracts and usually runs through two months after birth.
Next is the embryo transfer fee. To prepare for an embryo transfer, a surrogate usually takes birth control pills for one month and then takes a series of shots. In addition, a surrogate is usually placed on some sort of "restrictions" and is on bed rest for a few days after the transfer. The embryo transfer fee is usually $750-$1000. It can be paid all at once after the transfer, or broken up into two payments, one due at start of medications, the other following the transfer.
Most surrogates receive a maternity clothing allowance. This is on average $500 for a singleton pregnancy, $750 for multiples. This fee is usually due around 16-20 weeks.
It is important to have insurance- life and health. A surrogate is putting her life and her health at risk and that comes at a cost. Most surrogates are advised to obtain a life insurance policy if she doesn't have one already. The price can range from $50-$600/month. If a surrogate does not have health insurance that will cover a surrogate pregnancy, the Intended Parents will need to purchase a policy for her. Here in Utah the costs are around $160/month plus $7500 deductible. Some insurances elsewhere can cost closer to $600/month with a $60,000 deductible. It is important to note that the Intended Parents are responsible for all medical costs.
Surrogate pregnancies sometimes come across invasive procedures. These can include; amniocentesis, selective reduction, abortion and d&c. The possibility of these procedures should be discussed in the beginning and all parties should agree on their views regarding these procedures. Most invasive procedure fees are $500-$1000 each and should be paid at the time of the procedure. Along these lines, there is sometimes a miscarriage fee around $500-$1000. Sometimes the miscarriage fee includes a d&c fee, other times they are separate. Each of these procedures incurs additional pain and suffering and sometimes bed rest or healing time.
Bed rest fees that aren't due to invasive procedures come at a cost of their own. Bed rest can certainly disrupt a surrogates life and affect her husband and children. Bed rest fees can help with childcare or just the inconvenience and boredom of being on bed rest. Bed rest fees can range from $50 a day to $250 a week for Doctor ordered bed rest. If surrogates have to be on hospitalized bed rest, the fee can range from $100 a day to $500 a week.
Most surrogates charge a fee for carrying multiples. This fee is usually about $2500-$4500 each additional fetus.
Some surrogates will have to have a c-section. C-section fees range from $2500-$5000. I know from experience that c-sections are no fun and require a longer healing time than a vaginal birth. Some surrogates will combine this fee with her multiple fee. Some surrogates will not ask for a c-section fee if she would have to have one with her own children or if she has already had more than one c-section.
Most surrogates I know have a loss of reproductive organs fee. This fee ranges from $2000 partial loss to $10,000 full loss. A friend of mine recently pointed out that you could also lose the function of other organs, so keep that in mind.
Some surrogates will ask for lost wages for themselves or their spouses if they are working. Lost wages are usually for time taken off for the embryo transfer or the birth. Lost wages are usually about $150/day or actual hourly/daily wage for time off.
Some Surrogates ask for an all-inclusive fee. This can be helpful for the Intended Parents because it is one fee that covers everything and they can plan and budget without any surprises. Most all-inclusive fees are about $10,000 higher than the average base compensation. For example a first time surrogate would typically get $18,000- $20,000 for her base compensation and then get other fees on top of that. With an all-inclusive fee that same surrogate would receive $28,000- $30,000 and that would be it. Sometimes there is an extra fee for multiples or loss of reproductive organs, other times all-inclusive means that it covers it all. Usually with an all-inclusive fee 10% is due at contract signing to be deducted from the full amount. Intended Parents are usually still responsible for all medical costs and legal costs.
Most surrogates have to travel for the embryo transfer and/or medical screening. The Intended Parents are responsible for travel costs and usually the surrogate is allowed to bring a companion. The surrogate and her companion usually receive per diem which is on average $50-$100 per person per day.
The Intended Parents as well as the Surrogate should know what each fee is for and the average cost of these fees. I hope that I have helped explain them.
Here are some helpful links on the costs of surrogacy:
This explains the most standard, common fees associated with the surrogate:
Aside from the links, this article was written by me through my own experiences and through my own research over the past seven years. Feel free to share the information within and either link to this blog post or credit my name.
Jill @ Mormon Surrogate