Uncovering the Costs of the Surrogacy Process
The payments to a surrogate under a surrogacy contract will depend on many factors. I know this doesn’t really help when you want to prepare a budget for surrogacy, however, some considerations that come into play for the entire surrogacy process include: whether a fresh or frozen IVF cycle is being performed, is an egg, sperm or embryo donor required, where is the surrogate located as the expenses related to surrogacy vary from state to state, whether you know someone willing to act as a surrogate or whether you need to hire a surrogacy agency to assist in finding you the perfect surrogate.
The surrogacy contract that is entered into before a surrogate starts her medications will set out the various payments required to be made to or on behalf of the surrogate and her partner, if any. Each state has different laws regarding permissible payments and what the surrogacy contract requires so be sure to consult with a surrogacy lawyer in the applicable jurisdiction.
While each surrogate requires a different payment structure, which varies whether the parties are self-matching or matched with an agency, the overarching principal is that the intended parents are responsible for anything that may come out of the surrogate’s pocket, plus additional payments for her reasonable living, medical, psychological expenses, to name a few.
Typical Payments to a Surrogate
The typical payments the surrogate receives, or is paid by the intended parents on her behalf, in a surrogacy contract include the following payment categories. Please note that these amounts do not include other costs associated with the process such as medical, psychological, legal, agency fees, etc.
- Surrogate’s base living expenses – some refer to this as the surrogate’s “compensation”, however the surrogate’s base amount is not categories as income and is not a fee. This base amount is typically an established amount, which is paid in increment over time. The payment generally begins when the surrogate is confirmed pregnant, with monthly payments following and a final sum at the end once the child is delivered. The amount of the basic amount varies depending on the state of the surrogate, whether she has acted as a surrogate previously, and whether the surrogate has health insurance that covers the pregnancy.
- When surrogate starts taking medications – the surrogate receives a payment when she starts her medications to being her embryo transfer cycle, but the medications do not include birth control
- Embryo transfer or Dropped Cycle – the surrogate receives a payment at each embryo transfer attempt. If the cycle is cancelled, she may receive a dropped cycle payment.
- Mock cycle – some surrogate’s receive a payment if she has to perform a medicated mock cycle with the IVF clinic
- Monthly allowance – the surrogate receives a non-itemized amount each month to cover her incidental expenses such as local gas travel, co-pays and other little expenses she may incur. This monthly payment may continue for a short period of time after the delivery occurs. Instead of a non-itemized flat amount each month, some parties prefer to itemize the monthly expenses and reimburse upon presenting a receipt
- Maternity clothes – the surrogate receives an amount around the second trimester for her clothing, which amount is higher if she is carrying multiples
- Surrogate’s travel – the intended parents are responsible to reimburse the surrogate for any surrogacy related travel such as her gas, airfare, hotel, ground transportation. This expense will vary depending on how far the surrogate lives from the IVF clinic, OB, or hospital.
- Invasive procedures – the surrogate may receive a reimbursement if certain invasive procedures occur such as a c-section, amniocentesis, CVS, selective reduction, termination of pregnancy, etc.
- Ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage -the surrogate may receive a reimbursement if she has a miscarriage or has to undergo a procedure related to an ectopic pregnancy
- Multiple birth payment – if the surrogate is carrying multiple children, then she gets an extra reimbursement per multiple
- Loss of reproductive organ(s) – the surrogate will receive reimbursement should she lose a reproductive organ due to the pregnancy
- Bed rest – if the surrogate is placed on doctor ordered bed rest, she may receive reimbursement of her lost wages (net or gross), childcare or housekeeping for the period of time she has to remain on bed rest. Such period of time is typically capped for a certain period after the delivery occurs. If a surrogate has a short-term disability (STD) policy, the intended parents will only be responsible for the lost wages that are not covered by the STD policy. Sometimes if a surrogate has a partner, the partner can receive limited lost wages if he/she misses work to assist the surrogate
- Breast milk / Cord Blood/Tissue- if the surrogate agrees to pump her milk, she is typically paid a per week amount plus any of the expenses for the pumping are to be paid by the intended parents. If the surrogate agrees to bank cord blood tissue, the expenses associated with doing so will be that of the intended parents
- Life insurance – intended parents typically purchase a life insurance policy for the benefit of the surrogate’s beneficiaries
- Health insurance – if the surrogate does not have health insurance that covers the surrogacy medical bills for the pregnancy, then the intended parents typically purchase some form of health insurance coverage for the surrogate to cover the pregnancy expenses.
Estimated Payments to a Gestational Surrogate
The payments to a surrogate can vary depending on many factors such as what state the surrogate is located in, whether the surrogate and intended parents were self-matched or matched with a surrogacy agency, and if so, what surrogacy agency the parties are working with.
These amounts do vary as stated above so check with an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) lawyer in your jurisdiction to ensure that the terms of the surrogacy contract are reasonable and not contrary to your local laws. Also, these amounts below do not include other expenses associated with the surrogacy process such as the fertility clinic, psychologist, surrogacy/egg donor agency, lawyers, medical expenses for the pregnancy, etc. The below amounts are merely estimate and do vary depending on the various circumstances, partly mentioned in this article.
|Monthly Allowance||$200-$300 per month|
|Dropped Cycle Fee||$250|
|Maternity Clothes||$500-$600 single/$800-$900 multiples|
|Child Care||Up to $300 per week for|
bed rest (may continue for a few weeks after delivery depending on the type of delivery (vaginal or c-section)
|Housekeeping||Up to $300 per week for bed rest (may continue for a few weeks after delivery depending on the type of delivery (vaginal or c-section)|
|Multiple Fetus||$4,000-$5,000 per fetus|
|Surrogate’s Lost Wages (attending appointments or bed rest)||To be determined based on pay stub (either net or gross) and continues a few weeks after delivery, depending on the type of delivery (vaginal or c-section). Must account for any short term disability policy to offset wages|
|Surrogate’s Partner’s Lost Wages (attending appointments or helping the surrogate)||To be determined based on pay stub (either net or gross) and continues a few weeks after delivery, depending on the type of delivery (vaginal or c-section). These wages are typically limited/capped for the term of the surrogacy agreement|
|Surrogate’s Mileage||Current IRS Rate|
|Surrogate’s Travel, Airfare, Hotel, Food Per Diem ($50-$65/day) for Overnight Travel||To be determined|
|Dilation and curettage, Abortion/Termination of Pregnancy, Cerclage, Amniocentesis,|
Chorionic Villus Sampling, Fetal Reduction, Hysteroscopy
|$500 per procedure, Selective reduction and termination may be $1,000-$1,500|
|Loss of Uterus||$4,000-$5,000|
|Loss of tubes or ovaries, per tube/ovary||$1,000|
|Pumped breast milk||$200 per week, plus expenses|
|Surrogate’s Health Insurance Premium||To be determined|
|Child’s Health Insurance||To be determined|
(based on insurance for Intended Parents)
|Life Insurance Plan for Surrogate||A typical $250,000 policy (cost approx. $200-$300 per year)|