“Surrogacy is a journey in which there are a lot of different costs for a lot of different people,” says Sam Hyde, president of Circle Surrogacy in Boston, Massachusetts.
He breaks down the total cost of surrogacy like this:
Parents can expect surrogacy expenses to total $140,000 - $150,000 for a couple creating embryos, considering the surrogate mother gets pregnant on her first round of IVF treatment.
So how much do surrogates get paid?
Given the surrogacy costs outlined above, surrogate mother pay usually falls around $45,000. Keep in mind, however, that this is just a rough number. The exact amount of compensation depends on three main factors: geographic location, surrogate experience, and insurance. Let’s work through these issues in order:
First, there’s the issue of geography. Why would your geographic area have a significant impact on surrogate compensation? It’s because American surrogacy law varies from state to state. In some places, like California, the legal statutes are beneficial to the surrogate mother. There’s also a supply-and-demand issue. If more parents are seeking a surrogate, your compensation will end up being greater. California is a great example of a state where both these factors align, making it one of the highest-paying states for surrogates.
Second, experience matters. If you’ve already successfully complete a surrogacy journey from pregnancy to birth, that’s valuable to the intended parents. It instills a sense of confidence in them. That’s why, as Sam says, “experienced surrogates tend to demand a slightly higher fee – usually $5,000 more.”
Third, there’s insurance. If you already have health insurance covering the maternity care and medical expenses relating to your pregnancy, your compensation will be even higher. If you don’t, it simply means that the intended parents will have to pay extra to cover your health insurance costs. (If you’re confused by the whole health insurance situation, don’t worry - most people are. Circle Surrogacy has dedicated specialists on staff who can help you figure out your insurance situation and get you started on your surrogacy journey.)
When do surrogates get paid?
As a surrogate, you will usually be compensated on a monthly basis. To figure out how much each monthly installment will be, just divide your total pay by nine (i.e. the number of months in your pregnancy).
Let’s take an example. Say your total surrogacy compensation is $45,000. Divide that by nine and you get $5,000. That means you can expect to receive a check for $5,000 every month until the birth of the child.
And again, remember - these numbers are just examples. You could receive considerably greater payment if you live in a state with higher demand, are an experienced surrogate, and have health insurance covering maternity costs and medical expenses.
Does surrogacy cover additional expenses?
This question has a very simple answer: Yes! Between maternity clothing, travel expenses (for doctor appointments and to see the intended parents), prenatal vitamins, counseling services, and so on, the costs of your pregnancy can add up. Surrogacy arrangements are built to account for that, so your costs are always covered.
This can work in one of two different ways. The first option is to have your expenses covered on an as-needed basis. This means you’ll keep receipts documenting your covered expenses, which you then pass to the intended parents for reimbursement. The second option is for the intended parents to allocate a certain amount of money for your various costs, and include this in the contract you sign. So for instance, you might end up with a maternity clothing allowance, a vitamin allowance, etc.
Each of these two approaches has its advantages. Going the as-needed route means you don’t have to worry about staying under a certain limit, or bother writing it into your contract. On the other hand, an agreed-upon allocation means that you don’t need deal with the hassle of saving receipts or reporting expenses. Either way, rest assured that your expenses will be covered throughout the surrogacy process. It’s just a matter of finding an approach that feels right for both you and the intended parents.
Surrogacy: Rewarding in Countless Ways
The surrogate mothers we work with at Circle have many things in common - and foremost among them is generosity. Many surrogates find that it’s a profoundly joyful experience to help another family grow. And in fact, you and the intended parents may feel like family by the time your surrogacy journey is complete.
That’s why your financial compensation is just one piece of a larger picture. It helps make the entire surrogacy process possible, and we hope you find that journey rewarding on every level - emotionally, financially, and for the countless other reasons women choose to become surrogates.
If you've been thinking about building your family through surrogacy, learn more about our parenting programs. Circle's surrogates are amazing, generous women. Learn more about how you can help a family grow as a gestational surrogate. See how much you could earn as a surrogate with Circle.
We’re here to support you during these uncertain times
Circle Surrogacy is here to support parents, surrogates and donors at all stages of their journey. The current situation will not last forever, but families are forever, so we encourage you to start your journey to becoming a parent or surrogate today. Fill out the form to schedule your virtual consultation to take the first step on your journey.