In one sense, there is always a high cost to having a child. Things like a hospital supervised birth, or even an experienced midwife is not free. And once the child is born, there is a lifelong commitment for ensuring the medical and financial welfare of that child, including saving up for something as significant as a college education.
However, for some, the cost of having a child starts even before the child is born. For some, even the act of conceiving a child can involve an unexpected cost, because the act of conception may be medically difficult, or even impossible, depending on the circumstances.
Some older women, as one example, may wish to have a child, but there is a great medical risk both to the mother and the child of an unsuccessful pregnancy due to the age of the mother herself. On the other hand, some women have had medical treatments, or even surgery conducted to save their lives, but this has resulted in infertility, sometimes even the removal of the uterus, making a natural pregnancy impossible.
For people in these situations, and even same-sex couples looking to have a child, surrogacy is an alternative that allows these people to still have the dream of starting a family together. But of course, a decision like this requires a lot of medical support, and, of course, the cooperation of a surrogate mother. And this requires a significant investment. But how much of one? And what would be considered fair?
The Early Financial Factors
One of the first decisions that will have a big impact on the financial outlay a surrogate pregnancy is the type of surrogacy to undertake. There are two types of surrogacy, traditional and gestational. With traditional surrogacy, the egg of the surrogate mother is used for the pregnancy. This means that the child born will, in most cases, be genetically related to the father of the hopeful family, but still have a genetic, biological tie to the surrogate mother herself. This, comparatively speaking, is the cheaper of the two alternatives, and a base surrogacy can, on average, cost about USD 50,000.
On the other hand, gestational surrogacy means that the hopeful family is choosing to have a specific sperm and egg used for the child, before implanting in the surrogate mother. The most common arrangement is the hopeful mother and father are donating the sperm and egg. This means that in vitro fertilization is going to be used, and adds to the cost. The in vitro fertilization process, by itself, can average about USD 8000
The cost can also go up depending on the state of the egg and sperm used. For example, if “fresh” sperm and egg are collected from the mother and father, that’s the lowest tier of cost for this process. However, if the father or mother—due to medical reasons—had the sperm and/or egg cryogenically stored for later use, the retrieval and delivery of those samples add to the cost.
Gestational surrogacies can, however, go a step beyond that, and use the sperm and/or egg of different donors entirely. For example, if a hopeful Asian mother’s own egg is unavailable, there may be a search for an egg donor who is Asian in ethnicity. The cost of securing sperm or egg from donors with specific traits, such as ethnicity, or even intelligence or athleticism, adds to the cost of gestational surrogacy.
And finally, even with a successful in vitro fertilization, where it is confirmed an egg is successfully fertilized and ready to be implanted in a surrogate mother’s uterus, there may be health and safety concerns that require screening. A hopeful family where one or both people have a family history of disorders such as cystic fibrosis or Down’s syndrome may want to ensure the health of a fertilized embryo, with a Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis, or screening. This is an extra cost, but it can also confirm if any successfully fertilized embryos may face medical challenges in the future if brought to term for full childbirth.
When it comes carrying the baby to term during the actual pregnancy, here is where additional costs will come in. The surrogate mother must, of course, submit to periodic medical examinations, in order to ensure her health and that of the baby. On top of this, there is some financial support required, for the surrogate mother, for her to buy the food necessary to stay healthy, and as well as have a place to stay. In some cases, there may even need to be legal services required to ensure the legal status of a child after being born.
However, for people that want to ensure that every step is taken care of efficiently, and cost-effectively, it’s better to trust an experienced surrogacy agency that offers a comprehensive package from start to finish. This always results in a better, more successful experience at one price.