The Ultimate Guide to Surrogate Mother Costs: Everything You Need to Know

Surrogate Mother Costs

If you have ever considered having a baby through a surrogate, then you’ve probably wondered how much it would cost to become a parent. Completing a surrogacy journey in the United States is not cheap, and the expenses can add up to tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars.

As an intended parent, it’s important to have a general idea of the surrogacy costs to be able to prepare financially before beginning the process. 

So, how much exactly does it cost to use a surrogate mother? What factors affect surrogacy costs? And what can you do to lower the expenses? Get the answer to all these questions and more in this article.

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Breakdown of Surrogate Mother Costs

It’s hard to put a figure on the cost of having a baby through a surrogate, as no two surrogacy journeys are the same. But the total cost of surrogacy in America usually ranges between $ 90,000 and $150,000 and even more. This price typically covers the following:

Agency Fees

Agency fees are usually the first payment intended parents would need to make during their surrogacy journey. They cover all the helpful services the agency provides, including advertising, surrogate screenings, background checks, matching, support and education, and more.

Unlike many other costs associated with surrogacy, agency fees are typically fixed. Plus, they vary based on the agency you choose to work with and the services they render. On average, you can expect to spend between $15,000 and $30,000 on an agency fee.

Legal Fees

Surrogacy is a complex process with many legal steps. Therefore, it is required that both intended parents and the surrogate have a separate lawyer who will help draft and review the surrogacy agreement and ensure the rights and interests of both parties are protected throughout this journey.

The lawyer will also help the intended parents to obtain a parentage birth order to be recognized as the legal parent of the surrogacy baby. The prospective parents would be responsible for all these costs, which can range from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the state where the surrogacy is taking place and the services provided.

Surrogate Compensation and Reimbursements

Unless a close friend or a family member is carrying for you, a large chunk of your surrogacy money will be paid to the surrogate mother. Gestational surrogate usually receive compensation for their time and energy during the surrogacy process and for the health risks she undertakes.

The amount a surrogate mother will get depends on many factors, including her location, level experience with surrogacy, insurance coverage, and the course of her pregnancy.

However, the average pay for a surrogate in the US is around $30,000 to $60,000.  

Aside from the base compensation, intended parents would also need to cover or reimburse the surrogate for all additional expenses related to the surrogacy process. This may include travel costs, maternity cloth allowance, lost wages, insurance, and more. 

Medical Costs

Surrogacy also involves many medical procedures, and the expenses account for a significant portion of the total surrogacy cost. These medical costs usually vary based on the surrogate ‘s insurance policy and the course of her pregnancy.

The intended parents will have to pay for the fertility treatments (like IVF) and the medications used. If donor sperm or eggs are required to make the baby, the hopeful parents would also need to bear the costs.

Other medical expenses that can be incurred during the surrogacy process include the costs of prenatal care, childbirth classes, delivery, postpartum care, etc.

Factors That Can Impact the Costs of a Surrogacy Arrangement

Surrogacy costs vary from one intended parent to the other. Some of the factors that can impact the costs of surrogacy include:


The cost of surrogacy can vary significantly depending on where the surrogacy takes place. For example, surrogacy may be more expensive in states like California, where there is a high demand for surrogate mothers. Legal fees and medical costs also vary from state to state.

Type of Surrogacy

There are different kinds of surrogacy agreements: gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. The expenses are usually higher for gestational surrogacy (where the surrogate carries an embryo created using eggs and sperm from the hopeful parents or donors) than for traditional surrogacy, where the surrogate is also the child’s biological mother. 

You may also spend less if you are using someone you know, like a friend or relative, as a surrogate or if you are undergoing an altruistic surrogacy.

In an altruistic surrogacy, the gestational carrier does not receive any payment for her services, but she’s reimbursed for any reasonable expenses incurred due to the pregnancy. 

Medical Complications

Women don’t have the same pregnancy experience. While pregnancy can go smoothly for some people, others may have complications when expecting. If the surrogate mother experiences health complications during the surrogacy pregnancy, the intended parents will have to spend more money treating and taking care of the gestational carrier.

Services Required

Some intended parents need to use donated eggs or sperm to create embryos. Your surrogacy cost will depend on the kind of services you need to achieve a pregnancy.

For instance, an egg donation cycle costs between $20,000 and $30,000. That’s why many people prefer to purchase frozen donor eggs from egg banks to minimize surrogacy expenses.

Surrogacy Agencies

Surrogacy costs also tend to vary from one agency to another. Some agencies may charge lower fees for their services but may not provide the same level of support or resources as other agencies.

On the other hand, agencies with higher fees may offer more comprehensive support but may not be accessible to everyone due to the cost.


Lastly, the intended parents’ insurance can determine how much they spend on their surrogacy journey. While some insurance plans may cover some or all of the medical expenses related to the surrogacy process, including fertility treatments, prenatal care, and delivery, others don’t. In that case, the prospective parents would need to pay these costs out of pocket, which can significantly increase the total cost of surrogacy.

Tips for Minimizing the Costs of Surrogacy

The high cost of surrogacy can make it unaffordable for many people who want to take that route to parenthood. If you are interested in having a baby through a surrogate, here are a few steps to help cut down the costs. 

Choose a Surrogacy Agency Wisely

While Surrogacy agencies provide invaluable support and resources needed to navigate the surrogacy process, they can also be expensive. So, as an intended parent, you may want to research multiple agencies and compare their fees before making your decision.

Work with an Experienced Attorney

When embarking on a surrogacy journey, it is advisable to hire a competent attorney who will help protect your rights and negotiate a fair surrogacy agreement. This can lower the risk of costly disputes or complications down the line.

Explore Financial Assistance Options

There are many organizations that offer financial assistance or grants to help cover the costs of surrogacy. So, you may want to research these options and see if you might be eligible for any financial support.


For people who are unable to have children on their own, surrogacy provides an opportunity to build families. But it can be expensive. The cost of surrogacy in the US can be upwards of $100,000.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can cut down the expenses, i.e., by asking a friend or female family member to be your surrogate or by using frozen donor eggs instead of fresh ones (for those who require egg donation). Many people who have had a baby through surrogacy claim that the joy of parenthood is well worth the hefty price tag.

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