Some couples can’t just go the traditional route of having the woman in the relationship become pregnant, give birth to a child, and then start a new life together as a family. Circumstances, such as a medical condition, may put both a woman and child at risk during pregnancy or even be medically impossible due to prior life-saving surgeries, such as a hysterectomy which battles cancer by removing the uterus.
For these situations, surrogacy is one way some couples move forward on their journey to start a family. Surrogacy is when another woman agrees to become pregnant on behalf of a couple. Once birth occurs, the newborn is then united with the hopeful couple legally designated the child’s parents.
Surrogacy is a more involved, elaborate process than the traditional pregnancy route. For some couples, one of the best ways to achieve success is to work with a surrogacy agency or clinic in another nation other than their own country of residence. However, deciding to go abroad opens up a huge range of choices to a couple, as well as a vast array of cost options. Some surrogacy agencies are cheaper than others, but why is this, and how do couples find the cost appropriate to their needs?
Why Do Costs Differ?
Looking at different surrogacy agencies, it becomes clear that not all agencies or clinics price themselves according to some easy, referential universal standard. There is a spectrum of pricing, and several factors can affect this.
Geography is one example of a variable that can make it easy to have some general predictions. For example, surrogacy agencies based in the United States will generally be more expensive than others for one simple factor; the dominance of the American dollar. Compared to a surrogacy agency in Georgia, in Eastern Europe, for example, which is not tied to either the American dollar or the Euro, expenses will generally be lower simply due to differences in currency value. An American client, for example, would find that their American dollar offers them far more value when they apply it in Tbilisi, Georgia, versus Los Angeles, California, in the USA.
Another factor determining the expenses for surrogacy is the level of service that couples expect. Unsurprisingly, more attentive surrogacies will command higher pricing for their services if clients want this. However, this is largely based on the preferences of the hopeful family. For example, some couples prefer only minimal interactions. Once a surrogate mother has agreed to the contract, the couple would rather receive only occasional updates on the status of the pregnancy and be present when it is time to begin the next phase as a family. For this type of minimal involvement, fees tend to be less.
On the other hand, some hopeful couples are more interested in the process and prefer to be involved to a greater degree. This involves a more active relationship with the agency and the surrogate mother, more regular updates, and frequent visits and meetings to ensure a positive experience for everyone with maximum transparency and peace of mind. This more attentive service comes with a higher price tag for higher quality, attention, and peace of mind provided.
Another factor that can greatly affect the pricing of a surrogacy agency is the variety of services offered. All surrogacy agencies offer, at minimum, one essential service. They take away the burden of a hopeful family having to search for a suitable, medically evaluated surrogate mother themselves. Surrogacy agencies and clinics undergo a careful interview and vetting process to ensure that a roster of suitable potential candidates is already available when the search for a surrogate mother begins.
However, the services an agency provides can go well beyond this, which is where big differences in cost start to add up. For example, in addition to wanting a surrogate mother, some couples may have the goal of underrating the in vitro fertilization procedure or IVF. This complex technique requires an egg sample to be fertilized by a sperm sample in a lab, possibly with genetic screening for congenital conditions, before finally being implanted in the surrogate mother. Some agencies will have to collaborate with a lab or other medical facility to assist the couple in this goal. Other surrogacy clinics, however, have in-house lab and fertility facilities, meaning that while their final expense will be considerably more than a surrogacy that doesn’t offer this service, it is likely to be less than the total cost of working with a surrogacy agency that must outsource and collaborate with another organization to achieve the same result.
Legal services may also be an additional cost if couples require them. Ensuring that a newborn has all the proper paperwork for citizenship and a safe return to the preferred country of residence is an important additional cost for parents considering surrogacy abroad. It’s another of many factors that can create big differences in the price of one surrogacy agency over another.