Financing surrogacy: Important costs and options to consider

How to finance surrogacy

Don’t let costs get in the way of building your family.

Surrogacy is an expense that some couples aren’t willing to compromise, but that doesn’t make it any more affordable. Costs can easily top $100,000 and can be difficult to predict — you can’t control how many IVF cycles you’ll need or whether your surrogate will have complications.

We walk you through costs you might expect and how you can cover them when working with a surrogate.

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    Can I pay a surrogate mother with a personal loan?

    Yes, most personal loan providers allow you to use your approved funds for any legitimate personal expense. Because surrogacy can come with unexpected expenses over time, you might want to also consider taking out a personal line of credit.

    Personal loans offer either secured or unsecured financing. Unsecured loans are best for borrowers with good credit, a low debt-to-income ratio and a high salary. But even so, for the lowest rates, consider secured loans, which use personal assets like a car or a home as collateral. Another popular way of financing surrogacy is taking out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit.

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    How much does surrogacy cost?

    Surrogacy can cost from $60,000 to an eye-popping $240,000 in the US. Prices depend on whether you use your own eggs, how complicated the pregnancy is and the legal hoops you need to jump through.

    We’ve broken down the typical costs you can expect to pay when using a surrogate to grow your family.

    ExpenseTypical cost
    Surrogacy agency fee$20,000–$25,000
    Surrogate compensation$35,000–$65,000
    Surrogate and parent psychological evaluations$600–$1,500
    Surrogate medical exams and screenings$2,000–$4,500
    Embryo transfer$500–$1,500
    IVF fees — including medication$12,000–$40,000+ (depends on number of cycles)
    Egg donor fees$15,000–$20,000
    Legal fees$2,200–$12,500
    Maternity clothing allowance$750–$1,000
    Miscellaneous expenses allowance — meals, travel, vitamins and other costs$200–$300 monthly

    Other expenses you might need to pay include C-section fees ($1,500), birth compensation for two or more babies ($5,000) and lost wage compensation for your surrogate (up to $25,000), among unexpected costs.

    Surrogacy abroad

    The basic costs of surrogacy abroad can be less than what you’d find in the US. Going through an agency in India, one of the most popular surrogacy destinations, costs in the ballpark of $30,000. But once you factor in travel expenses, legal fees, accommodation and genetic testing involved in bringing home a surrogate child born abroad, it can cost as much as a US surrogacy.

    Keep in mind that countries have different levels of regulation, which could affect how well your surrogate takes care of her health — and the health of your unborn child — while pregnant.

    In India, surrogates see from $800 and $8,000 of that $30,000 you pay, while the rest goes to the agency or clinic.

    Is surrogacy legal in my state?

    It depends on where you live. Surrogacy is not legal in states like New York and Michigan, while other states impose varying levels of restrictions.

    Explore our interactive map to learn about surrogacy laws in your state.

    Surrogacy state regulations map

    How else can I pay for surrogacy?

    • In-house surrogacy financing. Agencies know that many parents don’t have thousands of dollars on hand, and so most offer payment plans or financing directly. Agency financing is like any other type of loan, which means you might be able to shop around for an option that better fits your needs.
    • Foundation grants. Several foundations offer grants to intended parents who can’t cover the cost of surrogacy themselves. You might need to provide proof of infertility or live in a specific state to qualify. Your grant also might not cover the entire cost — many top out at $10,000.
    • Crowdfunding. Because surrogacy costs are so high, you might have luck crowdsourcing from your family, friends and social network than just asking a few relatives for funds. Look for a platform that allows you to keep whatever funds you raise (minus fees, of course).
    • 401(k) loan. As a last resort, consider borrowing from your retirement fund, which doesn’t require a strong credit score or financial history. But taking money from your 401(k) could hurt your ability to save for retirement. And if you leave your job, you’ll need to repay what you’ve borrowed in full. You also can’t borrow more than $50,000, which likely won’t cover your full costs.
    • Credit cards. For a smaller, unexpected expense — like an emergency C-section — your credit card might more easily cover the costs. Consider applying for a new card with a 0% intro rate once your surrogate is pregnant to take advantage of no-interest financing as you need it.

    5 tips to make surrogacy affordable

    1. Get the right insurance. As an intended parent, you’ll want to look for IVF benefits and newborn coverage. For maternity care coverage you’re surrogate requires, you can either pay any extra costs of adding it to her health plan or research switching to a plan that’s more affordable (if she isn’t already covered).
    2. Get a single embryo transfer (SET). Using one embryo lowers the risk of multiple pregnancies, which can increase complications and costs (not to mention the cost of raising an extra child or two).
    3. Find a surrogate nearby. If you live in a state where surrogacy is legal, getting a surrogate near you can cut down on transportation costs, especially if there’s a chance you’ll need to hop on a plane at a moment’s notice.
    4. Consider friends or family. It’s a weighty request, but you can avoid agency fees by asking trusted loved ones to carry your baby for you. Depending on your circle of support, they just might agree to do it for a lower fee — or none at all.
    5. Know your legal options. While it’s common to establish your legal rights to parenthood before your child is born, other legal options out there might be less expensive. Speak with a lawyer to find a choice that’s best for you.

    Bottom line

    Paying out of pocket for a surrogate is untenable for most people, but plenty of financing options are available. From grants to crowdfunding and personal loans, you might be able to piece together a way to cover the cost of a priceless new addition to your family.

    Get started by comparing your personal loan options and researching other forms of financing to meet your needs.

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    Anna Serio

    Anna Serio is a writer at finder who specializes in loans. She spent the past five years living in Beirut, where she worked as a news editor and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.

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