If infertility has become a roadblock to starting a family, you can find comfort in knowing that you and your partner still have options that can help. In addition to ovulation induction and in-vitro fertilization (IVF), choosing to use a surrogate mother has proven to be a successful alternative that leads to positive results.
Between 1999 and 2013, gestational surrogacy rose from just 727 cycles to 3,432 cycles, resulting in a total of 18,400 births. Spanning into the present, the number of successes has only grown, meaning that surrogacy has become a viable solution that's both safe and more affordable.
The common stigma surrounding surrogacy is that the overall price tag is one that many individuals can't afford. This can certainly be the feeling if you're unprepared throughout the process, but the reality is that surrogacy can be achieved with the right knowledge and resources. Nothing should prevent you from having the family of your dreams, so to help you understand the challenges, here are a few things to consider when evaluating the potential cost of a surrogate in California:
Different Types of Surrogacy
When choosing to use a surrogate, it's important to understand the there are two different types to consider. Each one presents their own set of guidelines to a successful pregnancy:
With a traditional surrogacy, a woman, acting as the surrogate mother for another couple, will provide the eggs and will undergo artificial insemination with the sperm from the intended parent. Next, she will follow through with the pregnancy until the baby is delivered, turning it over into the custody of the recipients so they can raise it as their own.
One of the main differences of a traditional surrogacy is that couples do not need to select an egg donor since the surrogate offers her eggs throughout the process. After a surrogate is chosen, the legal requirements are fulfilled, outlining the agreements between the surrogate and the intended parents. This step is crucial to distinguish because unlike a gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is technically the biological mother of the newborn, which means that parental rights for at least one individual (the non-biological parent) must be completed through legal adoption after the baby is born.
Lastly, traditional surrogacy utilizes a method called intrauterine insemination (IUI) to impregnate the surrogate mother with the male partner's sperm. 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. These legal concerns have prompted many fertility practices to not offer traditional surrogacy as an option for parenting.
With a gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother becomes a host for the embryo of the intended parents of the potential newborn. Using an IVF, an embryo is created by the female partner's egg or eggs from a known or anonymous donor and the male partner's sperm. It is then placed into the uterus of the surrogate, where she will then carry out the pregnancy.
Since both partners have a biological connection to the newborn, the legal process surrounding a gestational surrogacy is far less complicated than a traditional surrogacy. It's important to remember that the surrogate mother has no genetic claim to the child. The intended parents retain their biological ownership, whereas the surrogate remains as the birth mother to the child, eliminating potential custody issues.
A gestational surrogacy is the most common form of surrogacy chosen by a variety of hopeful parents. However, the final costs of both a traditional and gestational surrogacy present different amounts due to their separate requirements.
Potential Cost of Surrogacy in California
Before calculating the potential costs of a surrogacy, something vital to understand is that each state has their own rules and regulations to follow. Some states may require several legal hoops to jump through, as well as following post-birth procedures, but on the bright side, California is one of the most surrogate-friendly states in the country. All types of parents are welcome to apply for surrogacy, but with that in mind, the state also claims the most competitive market for hiring a surrogate, which means prices can be much higher than other areas.
Average Cost of Traditional Surrogacy
Determining the average cost of a traditional surrogacy (or any type of surrogacy) can be difficult since prices are dependent on several factors. To give you an idea of what to expect, here are a few points to evaluate:
- Medical costs for surrogate (including IUI procedure)
- Legal fees and surrogate agency fees
- Surrogate compensation
- Monthly allowances or stipends for surrogate
- Potential screenings (background checks, physiological screenings, medical screenings)
- Counseling support
- Insurance policies
- Travel arrangements
These are just a few of the potential payments that couples may be responsible for over the course of their surrogacy. Keep in mind, the cost of these procedures and arrangements will vary depending on the rates of different services, but in general, a traditional surrogacy is more affordable than a gestational surrogacy due to the fact that intended parents will not pay for an egg donation fee, as well as an IVF. An IUI procedure is much cheaper, utilizing the egg of the surrogate mother instead.
Although the ranges vary, couple can expect to pay anywhere between $40,000 and $70,000 for a traditional surrogacy. This includes the points above, with respect to fluctuating rates.
Average Cost of Gestational Surrogacy
Maintaining the same factors listed above, the average cost of a gestational surrogacy is considerably higher. The increase in price is due to the application of an IVF, in addition to legal preparations and agency requirements.
According to West Coast Surrogacy, intended parents can expect to pay anywhere from $90,000 to $130,000 for their gestational surrogacy. These totals include a variety of additional factors, such as the experience of the surrogate, negotiated rates of living expenses and monthly allowances for the surrogate, as well an array of potential liabilities and preventive measures.
It may seem daunting at first, but surrogate agencies are dedicated to assisting hopeful couples with the tools and resources they need to start a family within a sound financial standing. This means that financing options are available to alleviate the pressure of exorbitant costs, as well as negotiating fair rates for services provided.
Affordable Alternatives to Surrogacy
Although traditional and gestational surrogacy may be difficult to manage financially, you and your partner can explore other options to starting a family that are just as rewarding.
For example, becoming a foster parent or adopting a child internationally or domestically allows for greater financial flexibility, while still fulfilling the desire of starting a family of your own. On average, those who choose to adopt a child outside of the country can expect to pay between $25,000 and $50,000 depending on the age of the child and where they are from.
For a domestic adoption, parents can expect to pay anywhere from $20,000 to $35,000, being responsible for agency fees, background checks, birth mother expenses, and legal fees.
Finally, those seeking foster care adoption can do so with little to no cost whatsoever. Potential parents can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $500 for foster care adoptions fees, which payments are usually reimbursed once an application is approved. In many instances, foster parents are even compensated for their efforts, including state assistance and federal tax credits.
Laurel Fertility Care is Here to Help
Founded by Dr. Collin Smikle (voted "Best Doctor"in the Bay Area by San Francisco Magazine in 2018), Laurel Fertility Care hosts our team of prominent health care professionalswho are determined to help you have the family of your dreams. With a strong presence in California, you can trust that your questions and concerns about surrogacy will be satisfied with patience and understanding.
We offer a foundation of industry knowledge and state regulations, while providing you with key information about medical procedures and what you can expect as an future parent.
To receive more information about Laurel Fertility Care and your journey to surrogacy, sign up for a phone consultation or schedule an appointment.