What is commercial surrogacy?
Both gestational and traditional surrogates have their own personal reasons for deciding to help intended parents become parents. In many cases, a big part of the reasoning points to the surrogate mother wanting to be of service to people who they feel deserve a chance to experience parenthood. Yes, compensation is often a factor as well.
To be very clear, surrogate compensation doesn’t always occur. If someone chooses to simply give of themselves without the need for compensation, that is referred to as altruistic surrogacy. While that does occur, it would be a stretch to say it happens frequently. The fact is it’s fairly uncommon unless the surrogate has some direct connection to the intended parents.
When compensation beyond expenses is part of the process, fertility clinics refer to the process as commercial surrogacy.
What is Commercial Surrogacy?
A great majority of the time, surrogates are assured of getting compensation in the form of reimbursements or coverage of expenses related to the surrogacy process. If the surrogate gets compensation in the form of a “fee” for their services, it becomes commercial surrogacy.
In case it was not made clear above, both a gestational and traditional surrogacy can qualify as a commercial surrogacy as long as the fee is being paid as compensation.
Where is Surrogacy Legal in the U.S.?
As far as where in the U.S. surrogate compensation is legal, it’s important to note that laws will vary from one state to the next. If you are intending to pursue surrogacy as either a surrogate or as an intended parent, it’s critical that you research the applicable laws in your state before trying to move forward. Pennsylvania is a “surrogate compensation friendly” state.
For you to use as a quick reference, most states in the U.S. do allow for some level of compensation for surrogates. With that said, there are some states that simply do not permit surrogate fee compensation or will refuse to enforce such contracts. Those states include Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana where surrogacy might be a criminal act, Michigan, and Nebraska. If you live in a state that is “surrogate compensation unfriendly,” you might want to consider pursuing surrogacy in another state where the process is legal with compensation.
Still, you need to make sure you fully understand the surrogacy laws as they might apply to your circumstances. Note: Reimbursable expenses are pretty much acceptable in any state that allows surrogacy. That does include states that might limit or forbid the payment of a compensation fee.
The Surrogacy Process – Determining Compensation
In most cases, the financial aspects of this process will be laid out in a contract. That contract will typically be initialized as soon as the intended parent or parents have selected their surrogate. The contract letting process will usually involve a negotiation conference with legal representation for the intended parents, the surrogate, the fertility clinic.
Part of the negotiation process will focus on determining the compensation fee to be paid to the surrogate by the intended parent or parents. It’s worth noting that most fertility clinics have a standard fee they expect to have paid to the surrogate as part of the process. If both parties are agreeable, the fee can be negotiated up or down. Whatever is agreed upon will be finalized in the contract. For what it’s worth, the fertility clinic’s fee is pretty much set in stone.
The rest of the negotiating process will focus on defining the reimbursable expenses and the responsibilities set forth for each vested party. Most fertility clinics have standard rates for certain reimbursable expenses.
Commercial Surrogacy Cost
Now for the actual figures. If you will be getting involved in surrogacy as intended parents, you can expect to pay approximately $86,000 through our clinic. That includes a fee of $21,000 (goes to the clinic) and about $65,000 being paid to the surrogate as a fee or reimbursable expenses.
If you are contemplating participating as a surrogate through our clinic, we will seek to secure a commercial fee of $35,000 on your behalf. If you have prior experience as a surrogate, the base compensation rate goes up to $40,000. As for the rest of the fees and reimbursable expenses, here is what you can expect:
- A monthly miscellaneous allowance of $200
- Embryo transfer compensation fee of $1,000 (paid in a lump sum after the transfer)
- 100% medical insurance coverage during the pregnancy
- Life insurance of $250,000 during the pregnancy
- Compensation for loss of reproductive function – $5,000-$10,000
- $500+ for maternity clothing
- Invasive procedure compensation of $500 for each procedure
- Additional $5,000 for carrying more than one fetus
- Reimbursement for lost wages related to attending appointments
- Cesarean section compensation of $3,000 immediately after delivery
- Childcare/housekeeper reimbursement if bed confinement is prescribed
- Breast milk provision of $150 per week plus supplies
If any other items need to be discussed, that must take place before the contract has been finalized.
Given the importance of this entire process, you can surely understand that strict requirements are going to be placed on surrogates. This is done to maximize the likelihood that surrogacy will result in the successful delivery of a healthy baby to the intended parents.
As the surrogate, the surrogacy requirements are yours to bear alone. Here are the important surrogacy requirements we have set forth in our clinic:
- Age limitations are 21 years of age to 40 years of age (safest ages for pregnancy)
- Must have delivered at least one child successfully and have no history of pregnancy or delivery complications
- Must be in good physical health with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 20-32
- Must currently be of sound mind with a good emotional standing
- Must live in a stable environment, currently raising a child is preferable
- Must be willing to comply with all medical advice and take prescribed medications
- Must be a legal resident of the U.S.
- Cannot have a history of drug abuse or criminal convictions
If you are coming into the process as an intended parent, you must be agreeable to the fee requirements for both the fertility clinic and your surrogate.
As a prospective surrogate and assuming you find the compensation (fee and reimbursement) acceptable and meet the clinic’s requirements, you would be in a position to move forward as a surrogate.
In terms of the compensation fee, it does not detract from the fact this would be a grand gesture on your behalf. In the eyes of many people, giving the gift of parenthood to deserving intended parents might well be one of the grandest gestures. It takes a very special woman to give of her heart and body for the benefit of others.
Whether you would be coming to us as an intended parent or a surrogate, moving forward after meeting requirements and letting the contract would be simple. It would require signing the contract and starting the egg fertilization process. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow would be a child for the intended parent and compensation and gratification for the surrogate.