How much does it cost to have a baby through a surrogate?

Having a baby through surrogacy can be a costly process, with expenses ranging from $90,000 to over $130,000 on average based on the type of surrogacy arrangement. The main factors that impact the total costs include medical expenses, agency and legal fees, surrogate compensation, and other miscellaneous costs. Understanding the typical costs and what’s included can help intended parents plan and budget for surrogacy.

What is the average cost of surrogacy?

On average, surrogacy costs range from:

  • $90,000 to $130,000+ for gestational surrogacy with both eggs and sperm from intended parents.
  • $100,000 to $150,000+ for gestational surrogacy with intended parent’s sperm and donor eggs.
  • $100,000 to $160,000+ for traditional surrogacy using the surrogate’s egg.

Gestational surrogacy with intended parents’ eggs and sperm is often the most affordable, while using an egg donor and surrogate is more expensive. Traditional surrogacy with the surrogate’s egg is usually the highest cost. However, costs vary widely based on individual circumstances.

What factors impact the cost of surrogacy?

Key factors that affect surrogacy costs include:

  • Medical expenses – This includes IVF, medications, doctor’s visits, prenatal care, health insurance, etc. Medical costs often range from $15,000 to $30,000+.
  • Agency fees – Working with a surrogacy agency averages $25,000 to $35,000+ for their services.
  • Legal fees – Independent legal advice and guidance for drafting contracts averages $10,000 to $15,000+ per party.
  • Surrogate compensation – The surrogate fee averages $35,000 to $45,000. Additional compensation is often provided for experiences like multiples.
  • Egg donor fees – If using a donor egg, this averages $10,000 to $15,000.
  • IVF clinic costs – This includes costs like lab work and transfer fees, averaging $5,000 to $7,000.
  • Travel expenses – If travel to the clinic is required, this could cost $2,000 to $5,000+.
  • Miscellaneous – Other potential costs include screening and home studies, life insurance, lost wages, etc.

Along with these main expenses, intended parents should also factor in potential unexpected costs that may arise during the journey.

Detailed breakdown of typical surrogacy costs

Here is a more detailed look at the typical costs associated with surrogacy:

Agency fees

Working with a reputable surrogacy agency helps match intended parents with qualified surrogates and provides guidance through the complex process. Agency fees often range from $25,000 to $35,000+, accounting for a significant portion of the overall costs of surrogacy.

Typical agency fees cover services such as:

  • Screening, selecting, and matching surrogates
  • Coordinating the legal process and contracts
  • Navigating the insurance process
  • Facilitating IVF and medical processes
  • Providing guidance and support from start to finish

It’s strongly recommended to work with an established agency to help minimize risks and optimize the chances of success.

IVF and medical procedures

For gestational surrogacy, IVF is utilized to create embryos using the intended parents’ sperm and eggs. The average cost for a basic IVF cycle is $12,000 to $17,000. Common medical expenses include:

  • Initial IVF cycle – $12,000 to $17,000
  • Medications – $3,000 to $5,000 per IVF cycle
  • Additional IVF cycles (if needed) – $12,000 to $17,000 each
  • PGS testing (recommended) – $4,000 to $7,000
  • Frozen embryo transfer fee – $3,000 to $5,000

The number of IVF cycles needed varies case-by-case based on individual fertility factors. In addition to IVF, the surrogate will require close monitoring and care throughout the pregnancy with an average cost of $15,000 to $20,000 or more depending on complications.

Surrogate compensation

The fees paid directly to the surrogate are for her services of gestating and delivering the baby, as well as covering any expenses incurred. Typical base compensation is $35,000 to $45,000, with additional fees added for experiences like:

  • Multiples – $5,000 for each additional baby
  • C-section – $2,500 to $5,000
  • Miscarriage/loss of uterus – $1,000 to $3,000
  • Matching bonus – $2,500 to $7,500 for experienced surrogate
  • Pump allowance – $1,000 for providing breast milk after delivery

Surrogates who help complete multiple journeys or who have proven reliability may earn higher compensation. All surrogate expenses directly related to the pregnancy are also covered separately.

Egg donor fees

If using an egg donor, this averages $10,000 to $15,000 paid to the donor. Additional agency fees, screening, testing, and medication are also required, bringing total egg donor costs to $15,000 to $25,000.

Insurance expenses

One of the most complex parts of the surrogacy process is securing adequate insurance coverage. Typical policies include:

  • Surrogate policy – $8,000 to $12,000
  • Maternity policy for intended parents – $5,000 to $10,000
  • Newborn policy for baby – $10,000 to $15,000

Policies ensure all major medical costs are covered during pregnancy and delivery. Without proper coverage, the IPs take on full financial risk which can incur hundreds of thousands in medical expenses if significant complications occur.

Legal fees

Independent legal representation is strongly advised for both the intended parents and surrogate. This guides both parties through the drafting of contracts that specify the details and terms of the arrangement. Typical legal costs include:

  • Intended parents attorney – $7,000 to $10,000
  • Surrogate attorney – $5,000 to $7,000
  • Court and escrow fees – $1,500 to $3,000

Proper legal guidance is crucial to protect all parties and ensure parentage rights for intended parents.

Travel expenses

If the surrogate or intended parents are required to travel to undergo IVF procedures or attend key appointments, travel costs may also be incurred. Typical expenses may include:

  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Rental cars
  • Meals

For international intended parents, travel to the U.S. for 1-2 months during later pregnancy and birth is very common. Total travel costs often range from $2,000 for domestic travel up to $10,000+ for those traveling long distances.

Miscellaneous expenses

Other miscellaneous costs that intended parents can expect include:

  • Psychological screening and home study – $2,000 to $5,000
  • Criminal background checks – $500 to $1,000
  • Life insurance for surrogate – $500 to $1,000
  • Medical records review – $300 to $500
  • Overnight delivery and mailing fees
  • Lost wages for surrogate
  • pumping supplies and breast milk shipping

While relatively small individually, miscellaneous costs can add up quickly. Intended parents should budget $5,000 to $10,000 for other potential expenses that may arise.

What are the biggest factors impacting overall surrogacy costs?

The most significant factors that influence overall surrogacy costs include:

  • Type of surrogacy – Gestational is more expensive than traditional.
  • Donor gametes – Using donor eggs and/or sperm increases costs vs. intended parent’s gametes.
  • IVF success – More cycles means higher medical costs.
  • Multiples – Twins or more increase surrogate compensation and medical expenses.
  • Pregnancy complications – Any medical issues raise the costs.
  • Insurance coverage – Lack of adequate coverage adds major financial risk.
  • Location – Prices vary based on clinic and surrogate pool location.

Understanding these key cost drivers helps intended parents estimate potential expenses, plan for contingencies, and budget adequately for their surrogacy journey.

How can intended parents manage surrogacy costs?

Some tips for managing surrogacy costs and avoiding budget surprises include:

  • Research thoroughly – Gather detailed quotes from clinics, agencies, attorneys to minimize “hidden” costs.
  • Review contracts – Understand payment structures and what’s included.
  • Get insurance advice – Work with an experienced broker to navigate policies.
  • Open communication – Discuss costs/expectations openly with the agency and surrogate.
  • Save conservatively – Budget for higher-end estimates and potential overruns.
  • Explore financing – Look into loans or grants if needed to pay over time.
  • Consider risks – Weigh risks of higher multiples, preterm birth etc. and have contingency funds.

Being proactive and planning ahead is key to avoid being caught off guard by surrogacy expenses while building your family.

What are the main advantages of surrogacy?

Despite the substantial costs involved, surrogacy offers significant benefits for many intended parents including:

  • Only option – Allows those unable to carry a pregnancy to have a biological child.
  • Health concerns – Avoids health risks to the intended mother.
  • Control – Intended parents are involved throughout the process.
  • Predictability – Dates of birth can be scheduled in advance vs. adoption.
  • Genetic relationship – Baby is the biological child of one or both intended parents.

For those able to comfortably afford surrogacy, it can be an incredibly rewarding way to grow your family when pregnancy isn’t an option.


The average cost of having a baby through surrogacy ranges from $90,000 to $160,000+. However, there are always exceptions on both the higher and lower end. The most significant expenses include medical care, agency fees, legal guidance, surrogate compensation, insurance coverage, and other related costs.

While not an affordable option for everyone, surrogacy provides an invaluable opportunity for those unable to carry a pregnancy themselves to have a biological child. For those considering surrogacy, being aware of the costs involved, budgeting thoroughly, and planning ahead are key to making the process as financially smooth as possible.

Leave a Comment