How Much Surrogacy Costs and How to Pay for It

Many would-be parents feel that bringing a baby into the world is a priceless experience. Of course, the reality is that there are always costs involved in starting a family. When the path to becoming parents involves surrogacy, that price tag can go well into the six figures.

The exact cost of having a baby via surrogacy will vary depending on several factors, including insurance coverage, the location of the surrogate and the parents and the success of in vitro fertilization attempts. Experts say the total cost can range from $100,000 to $200,000

Breakdown of the Costs of Surrogacy

There are several components that go into that price:

Embryo creation. Many couples have already worked with a fertility clinic to produce embryos before deciding to go the surrogacy route.

Cost range: $20,000-$30,000

Egg donation. Same-sex couples and some heterosexual couples may also need to pay for a donor egg.

Cost range: $20,000-$30,000

Agency fees. The cost of the agency can vary significantly based on what’s included in their services. Some agencies include medical screening and legal services as part of their package, while others do not. “I really suggest that intended parents look for the agency that they feel is the best fit, and to evaluate the fees based on the services that the agency is offering in return,” says Zein Shamma, founder and chief operating officer of the Gift of Life Surrogacy Agency.

Cost range: $20,000-$50,000

Legal fees. If the agency does not offer legal services, it’s important to work with a lawyer who can create the necessary documents that outline compensation structure as well as what will happen if there are pregnancy complications. In addition, you may need pre- or post-birth legal documents and help with adoption.

Cost range: $7,000-$15,000

[Read: 5 Signs You’re Financially Ready to Have a Baby.]

Surrogate base compensation. This is the payment made directly to the surrogate as payment for carrying and having the baby on behalf of your family. This fee will depend on the surrogate’s location and whether she has worked as a surrogate before.

Cost range: $30,000-$60,000

Surrogate contingent fees. These are separate fees that the intended family may have to pay if complications arise during the pregnancy. These can range from unexpected twins (if an embryo splits) to an unplanned C-section.

Cost range: Around $15,000, but it can be less or significantly more if major medical problems occur for the surrogate.

Insurance costs. Most standard health insurance plans do not cover surrogate pregnancy, but intended families still cover the premiums and deductibles for their surrogate’s insurance plan while they’re working together. There are also a handful of insurance plans that offer supplemental coverage that intended families can buy on behalf of their surrogates to cover pregnancy and delivery. These can be pricey with high deductibles, however.

Cost range: $12,000-$30,000

Other expenses. There are many other, smaller expenses that intended families should keep in mind when considering the cost of surrogacy. These include travel if the gestational carrier is not local and pregnancy supplies (such as clothing and prenatal benefits). At the same time, intended parents will likely need to start stocking up on baby supplies, including cribs, bottles and diapers, which they’ll need immediately after the birth.

Cost range: varies

[READ: Paid Family Leave: Everything You Need to Know.]

How to Pay for Gestational Surrogacy

Given the hefty price tag of gestational surrogacy, it’s important to have a plan in place for how you’ll cover the expenses. That plan will likely include some combination of the following:

Workplace benefits. While it’s uncommon for employers to cover surrogacy as part of their benefit package, 9% of companies provided such coverage in 2020, and 29% were thinking about putting such a benefit in place or enhancing what they currently offered, according to Willis Towers Watson.

“We have even had people who have switched jobs in order to go to an employer with surrogacy benefits,” says Scott Buckley, vice president of client services at Circle Surrogacy.

Of those companies that do provide surrogacy benefits, 70% set a reimbursement limit per child at a median of $10,000.

Health insurance. While most health insurance plans exclude the costs of a surrogate pregnancy, many will provide some coverage for procedures required for intended parents. Health insurance will also kick in for the baby’s expenses after birth, so you may want to consider how your plan covers out-of-network providers if your carrier does not live in your state.

Personal savings. If you know that your family story may include a surrogacy, setting aside even small amounts in a dedicated account on a regular basis can add up over time. You may continue this process even after you’ve begun working with an agency, as it can take 12 to 18 months to find a donor, according to Buckley.

[Read: Estate Planning Tips to Keep Your Money in the Family.]

Assistance from family or friends. Intended parents often turn to the generosity of family and friends to help them cover the cost of surrogacy. Shamma says it’s not uncommon for intended grandparents to help their children with this expense if they have the resources to do so.

Grants. Some organizations provide grants to help couples dealing with infertility. Some of these grants can go toward surrogacy-specific costs, while others are aimed at the IVF treatments. You can look for potential grants using the search tool at Cofertility.com.

Loans. Some fertility clinics work with private lenders to make financing available to intended parents. You may also be able to borrow money using home equity or a retirement plan, although doing so could impact your financial security. If you go this route, talk to a financial advisor to make a plan for how you’ll pay down the debt going forward.

More from U.S. News

What Child Care Costs and How to Save

What Adoption Costs — and Strategies to Pay for It

Budgeting Tips for New Parents

How Much Surrogacy Costs and How to Pay for It originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 06/02/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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