Surrogacy is an emotional and intimate family-building process. It’s no surprise that intended parents (IPs) will have family members or friends offer to be their gestational surrogate. When IPs choose to have someone close to them be their surrogate, they should still follow the surrogacy process, including having a legal contract.
Using a friend or family member will only reduce the surrogate cost if the woman chooses to not be compensated for the surrogacy. Otherwise, the cost of surrogacy with a friend is similar to the cost of surrogacy with a gestational carrier found for you by an agency and can be between $100,000 and $200,000.
Surrogacy Costs With a Friend
If you are planning to have a friend or family member act as your gestational carrier, it’s important to understand how the surrogacy process works, and the costs associated with the journey.
A typical journey is made up of the following surrogacy costs:
- Surrogate Mother Costs. These costs are the surrogate’s base fee, plus additional compensation and benefits for her and her family. If you are using a family member or friend as your surrogate, she may not ask for compensation. Intended parents may still offer to pay for things such as maternity clothes, housekeeping, childcare and other necessities that arise during the pregnancy.
- Agency Fee. Using a friend as your surrogate does not mean you have to do an independent journey. Just because an agency isn’t finding your surrogate for you, that doesn’t mean they will not support you through the process. Circle Surrogacy offers a “Bring Your Own Surrogate” Program with reduced costs for intended parents, while still ensuring IPs are protected and supported.
- Legal, Screening, and Support for your Surrogate. Even when you’re working with a friend or family member, Circle strongly recommends having legal contracts in place, as well as proper screening of your gestational carrier. Also, providing emotional support for your surrogate during the journey is a good idea. If you work with an agency, we will ensure your surrogate has her own legal representation, full screening, and support from a licensed social worker.
- Insurance. Your friend can see if her health insurance will cover a surrogate pregnancy. Many do not, and in this instance, it is up to the intended parents to have proper pregnancy insurance in place for their surrogate.
- Parent Legal Rights. These are costs intended parents can expect for the process of putting their names on the baby’s birth certificate.
Is It Cheaper To Have a Friend Be a Surrogate?
Using a friend or family member will make your journey special, however the costs of using a friend for surrogacy may be the same as using a gestational carrier that you do not know.
At Circle Surrogacy, typical surrogacy journey costs are $157,750 (surrogacy only) and $184,750 (surrogacy plus egg donation). Both of these costs exclude IVF costs that are paid to your clinic. If you are using a friend or family member and not paying her a base fee, you can save about $35,000 from the costs listed above.
Can You Get a Friend to Be A Surrogate?
It is a truly special gesture when a sister, cousin or friend offers to be your gestational carrier. This act of generosity and selflessness is truly amazing. If you have someone in mind to be your surrogate but they have not yet offered, perhaps you feel comfortable approaching the subject with them.
Asking someone to carry a baby for you is a BIG ask. Be sure to think through all aspects of how this will affect your relationship, as well as how it will affect her life.
If you have someone in your life who is offering to carry your baby via surrogacy, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Will You Use a Surrogacy Agency or Do an Independent Journey?
Part of a surrogacy agency’s job is matching intended parents with a surrogate. But what if you already have someone willing to be your surrogate, do you still need an agency? In short, it is always a good idea to work with surrogacy agencies if you are not familiar with surrogacy, or if you are someone who would like to have professionals manage the process. You can learn more about finding the right surrogacy agency for you in our related blog post.
Also, some clinics may require you to work with an agency for your journey. However, you can choose to do an independent journey, also called an “indy” journey. Intended parents who choose not to work with an agency will be responsible for finding legal representation, coordinating appointments with the clinic, preparing a birth plan with their surrogate, and preparing all necessary documents for when the baby is born.
Does My Clinic Need to Approve My Surrogate?
Your fertility clinic and doctor will perform a medical screening and testing of your gestational surrogate. It is also recommended that you also have your family member or friend go through a psychological evaluation to ensure she is a good fit for gestational surrogacy. If you choose to work with an agency, they will arrange all of this for you.
What Are the First Steps to Starting Surrogacy?
Research, research, research! This is the best advice we can give intended parents who are considering surrogacy. Review different agency websites, read about the process, and even meet with surrogacy professionals. Ask questions!
Circle Surrogacy’s Parenthood Through Surrogacy page is filled with information for intended parents who are just starting out and answers many questions IPs may have. Their experienced team is always there to answer questions and provide information. You can reach the team by filling out this form, emailing [email protected] or calling 617.439.9900.