There is nothing cheap about the decision to start a family. In fact, over the decades, rearing a newborn from infancy to young adulthood—and sometimes beyond—is often one of the most expensive undertakings a couple will ever engage in. But for most couples, the investment in a child starts after childbirth, with food, clothing, the various new care considerations, and of course, saving for a college education someday.
For others, however, the financial commitment to have a child starts even before a child is born, because conception is already a large hurdle. If a woman puts herself or a developing baby at risk by undertaking a pregnancy, then surrogacy is recommended. If a woman has had her uterus removed for medical reasons, or a same-sex male couple decides to have a child, then surrogacy is the only solution due to the medical impossibility of natural childbirth in this situation.
The prime concern with surrogacy is that this means an extra level of planning, effort, and financial investment is required. However, not all surrogacy situations are alike, and depending on the needs or specific ambitions a hopeful family has, the cost of surrogacy can vary. So while a hopeful family will be looking for a fair price for surrogacy service, what constitutes a fair price will be determined by what kind of surrogacy a hopeful family is looking to achieve.
Traditional Or Gestational
One of the first cost factors that will determine what a fair price is for surrogacy service is whether the hopeful family chooses to go with a traditional or gestational surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the father’s sperm, or a selected donor, is collected, and then artificially inseminated into the surrogate mother herself, meaning that the surrogate mother’s egg will be used in determining half of the genetic characteristics of the child. This is the cheaper choice.
Some hopeful families will want to ensure that a baby has the genetic characteristics of both the hopeful mother and father, with the only difference being that the baby was not carried in the hopeful mother’s womb. Modern medical technology makes this wish feasible, but it is the more expensive option and known as gestational surrogacy.
In this situation, the egg of the mother and sperm of the father are both collected. The egg is then fertilized under laboratory conditions and then implanted in a surrogate mother. This is known as In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, and adds an extra cost to surrogacy. There may also be additional financial factors even within the decision to go with gestational surrogacy that can affect the pricing.
For example, if the egg of the hopeful mother or the sperm of the hopeful father cannot be collected “fresh,” then this brings additional expense. Some women, as a result of life-saving treatment for ovarian cancer, have had their ovaries removed. However, before this occurred, they may have had their eggs collected and then cryogenically stored for use at a later date. If the hopeful mother, father, or both, require egg and sperm to retrieved from a cryobank and sent to another site for IVF, this incurs additional costs.
If hopeful parents are also concerned about genetic disorders being passed onto a baby and want to ensure that only a healthy fertilized egg is used, then there are additional costs for pre-implantation genetic screening or diagnosis.
Altruistic Or Compensated
Another cost that may need to be factored into a final, fair price is whether surrogacy is altruistic or compensated. In an altruistic surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s expenses are covered, such as medical supervision, food and shelter concerns as the pregnancy goes into later stages, and of course, the medically attended childbirth.
In a compensated surrogacy, all this is still paid for by the hopeful parents, but on top of that, there is a financial recognition of what the surrogate mother herself has contributed. In other words, she is paid for the role she plays, and profits from that.
There may be other expenses that have to be considered in addition to the ones mentioned above. If a hopeful family lives in a country where surrogacy is banned, such as France, or Germany, then travel costs are incurred. If a hopeful family works through a surrogacy agency to find suitable surrogate mother candidates, then this is an additional cost. There may also be costs involved in the legal actions that need to be taken if a child is born outside of the hopeful family’s country of residence, and citizenship concerns need to be addressed to ensure a smooth entry for the infant.
For an easier time, many of these financial issues can be resolved quickly, for a single price, if the hopeful family makes the decision to go with a surrogacy agency and finds one with the right range of services all under one roof.