How Much Does a Surrogate Make?
Surrogates are asked many questions by curious friends and family. Questions like “what’s it like being a surrogate?” “How did you decide to become a surrogate?” And, perhaps the most common (yet the most awkward to answer): “How much does a surrogate make?” or even “Why do intended parents have to pay so much money for a surrogate?”
These questions typically come from a place of genuine interest and curiosity. But they’re not always comfortable questions to answer. In fact, many of our surrogates don’t like talking about their compensation because their motivation for being a gestational carrier is not to make money. Instead, they’re motivated by their desire to help people have a baby.
The answer to how much a surrogate makes is: It varies.
But to give you an idea how much surrogates make:
- The base compensation rate our surrogacy agency recommends that surrogates request is between $35,000 and $40,000.
- The total compensation a surrogate may receive is between $60,000 and $70,000, which includes things like reimbursement for travel, medical expenses, and other factors.
But we’ll explain more about why the amount a surrogate makes varies so much!
What Do Surrogates Get Paid For?
Surrogacy agencies all have different compensation models. At Hope Surrogacy, we allow our surrogates to set their own rates. We give them guidelines to follow so they know how to set competitive yet fair rates.
The base compensation rate that we recommend surrogates request is between $35,000 and $40,000. This rate is based on the typical rate that surrogates can expect nationwide and is intended as compensation for the risk involved in preparing her body for pregnancy and for carrying the baby.
The surrogate also gets paid additional compensation based on a number of factors, including the items listed below. That means that the total compensation a surrogate may receive is between $60,000 and $70,000.
Which Costs of Surrogacy are Paid For?
Does a Surrogate Have to Pay for Expenses During the Surrogacy Journey?
The short answer is no.
A surrogate should not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses for her role in being a surrogate. Those fees and costs are the responsibility of the intended parents.
For example, mileage reimbursement when she goes to her prenatal appointments is an allowable expense. So is the cost of prenatal vitamins or doctor-prescribed acupuncture, maternity clothes, mileage reimbursement for driving to and from appointments, and lost wages.
Our Wisconsin surrogacy agency works with surrogates to guide them in completing their personal Compensation Form. Once a surrogate is matched, her fees are non-negotiable. intended parents can’t ask her to change them, and she herself cannot change her fees.
Surrogate’s Legal Fees
The surrogacy legal process is complicated. A lawyer who specializes in surrogacy will represent the surrogate in the legal agreement between her and the intended parents. This lawyer will help answer any legal questions throughout the journey. It is in everyone’s best interest that the surrogate is fairly and legally represented. It is also important to know that the intended parents have their own, separate attorney representing their interests. The intended parents cover the cost of the legal fees for themselves and the surrogate.
Health Insurance for Surrogate
Before a surrogate is accepted into our program, her insurance is professionally reviewed to ensure that she is covered throughout her pregnancy. We make note of her insurance co-pays and deductibles to inform the intended parents about these costs for which they are responsible.
Surrogate’s Life Insurance
The intended parents purchase a life insurance policy in addition to what the surrogate already has.
Surrogate’s Medical & Transfer Costs
A gestational surrogate must prepare her body for pregnancy. Extra and early monitoring is required during this process. She will typically have a total of six to seven pre-transfer, transfer, and post-transfer appointments. A surrogate will be compensated for each medication cycle, even if a transfer doesn’t occur. A surrogate is also compensated separately for the transfer itself. Once the pregnancy is confirmed and she is seeing her own OBGYN, her own medical insurance should start to cover the expenses associated with being pregnant.
Other Medical Fees
Some pregnancies do not go as planned. If the pregnancy is with twins or more, if a miscarriage occurs, or if an invasive procedure or a c-section is required, the surrogate will receive additional compensation.
The surrogate will be reimbursed for the mileage driving to prenatal appointments or other travel expenses, such as hotel stays associated with medical clearance, the embryo transfer and pregnancy.
Maternity clothes, prenatal vitamins, acupuncture, childcare, lost wages, etc. are also covered surrogacy costs. Some fees are paid in a lump sum for the surrogate to manage over time while others are reimbursed after the cost has been incurred.
Surrogate’s Breast Milk
Supplying breast milk for the baby is generous, and very time-consuming. If a surrogate decides to pump breastmilk, she will be compensated weekly.
How is a Surrogate Paid?
Once a surrogate and the intended parents are matched, fees are non-negotiable. They cannot be changed by the surrogate or the intended parents.
An escrow account at an independent escrow agent will be opened with the base compensation amount as well as the fees to cover the incidentals and out-of-pocket expenses mentioned above. All the payments to the surrogate will be disbursed by the independent escrow company in accordance with the legal contract.
The benefit of working with an independent escrow company is that the surrogate knows her payments will arrive each month, and the intended parents know their payments are going to her and being approved per the legal agreement.
When Is a Surrogate Paid?
The base compensation rate is broken into 8 monthly payments and paid to the surrogate each month she is pregnant. For example, let’s say the surrogate decided on a $36,000 base compensation rate. The first month she is pregnant, she will receive a check or deposit from the escrow company for $4,000. The second month she is pregnant, she will receive another payment of $4,000, and so on.
Incidental expenses such as maternity clothing, lost wages, travel, etc. are paid as incurred.
The surrogate’s base compensation is paid only while she is pregnant. In the sad event of a miscarriage, she will no longer receive payments. Instead, she will receive separate compensation for the miscarriage per her personal Compensation Form.
Why Does Surrogacy Cost So Much?
Surrogacy is a beautiful – but complex – way to grow a family that involves a number of individuals and organizations along the way, including:
- a surrogate / gestational carrier
- an egg donor
- an independent escrow company
- lawyers for the intended parents and the surrogate
- a fertility clinic
- a surrogacy agency
All in, surrogacy can cost intended parents anywhere from $125,000 – $200,000. About 30% of this fee goes to the surrogate. About 40% pays for the medical procedures, egg donor, and medications. The remaining 30% pays for legal, agency, insurance, and administrative fees.
Why Should a Surrogate Be Paid?
While it’s rare that anyone would expect the surrogate to pay for the medical and legal fees involved in carrying a baby for the intended parents, some have wondered why the surrogate is given any other compensation payment. The compensation pays for the surrogate’s risk in carrying the pregnancy, and the sacrifice she is making in her own personal life to do it.
By working with a professional surrogacy agency, a surrogate can be sure she is being compensated fairly for her generosity and the risk involved in carrying a baby. And the intended parents can be confident that their surrogate isn’t price gouging or falsifying expenses. They can also be assured that their gestational carrier is not being coerced into the arrangement, but is doing it out of a desire to help them grow their family.
As an agency, we want both our surrogates and our intended parents to feel supported throughout their surrogacy journey. We want to be allies for everyone. We do this by communicating regularly and helping the surrogate and the intended parents feel prepared, well informed, and safe during this process.
It’s our greatest joy to match surrogates with intended parents. We love seeing both parties happy and do everything we can to make the process go smoothly in a way that is fair to everyone!
For a more thorough breakdown of the costs and compensation involved in surrogacy, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to discuss more specific costs with you.