Surrogacy is quite a long, complicated journey. But the end of this adventure will be a happy one for the intended parents.
Agencies help to make it easier, but their services don’t suit everyone. Some couples prefer to do everything themselves. In this article, we try to explain to you how to organize this program independently, the pros and cons, what costs you should consider, and how to find a surrogate mother without an agency.
What you need to know about private surrogacy
Couples who dream of having a child but cannot give birth naturally often turn to a surrogacy agency. Such organizations take over the entire surrogacy planning. This frees up a lot of time for prospective parents to spend preparing to meet their new family member. It also helps to avoid emotional overload. After all, the decision is not an easy one, and the possible complications and risks can take a lot of energy. But you have to pay extra for such services. The average agency fee can be $15,000 to $30,000.
But people who dream of having a child have another alternative. They can completely abandon the agency services and coordinate everything on their own. Such a surrogacy program is called independent or private. It is usually chosen by people who have an acquaintance who agrees to give birth to a child for them or people who have already participated in such a process and know all its nuances. Sometimes the surrogate mother herself, who has already had such an experience, can offer help in the private surrogacy arrangement.
Steps of independent surrogacy
If parents choose indy surrogacy, they should consider the following steps:
Find a surrogate mother
There are two options here: either you have a woman you know who agrees to be an independent surrogate mother or use special channels to find a potential surrogate mother.
Such a search can take months, so be patient. It is quicker to do it with an agency since they usually already have a potential surrogate’s base. A surrogate mother also has to meet several strict requirements concerning age, physical and mental health. Agencies take that into account when selecting candidates. But if you are doing your own search, be careful. Find out if the woman has children, if she has had unsuccessful pregnancies, what experience she has in surrogacy.
You may be able to use your own sperm and egg for fertilization, or you can look for donors yourself as well as turn to special services. Keep in mind that like a surrogate mother, sperm and egg donors must meet very high requirements. After all, the health and development of your future baby depend on it.
Concluding the contract
Discuss all legal and financial issues with the surrogate. Pay attention to the following questions:
- Private surrogate mother cost
- Yours and her responsibilities in the program
- How often you will have contact with her during the pregnancy
- Conditions she should meet
All these and many others questions should be discussed with your surrogate before you sign a contract. Research your state’s laws regarding surrogacy. To avoid future unpleasant situations or just to avoid becoming a victim of frauds, at this stage, it is better to involve your lawyer, who can advise you on all issues.
Pre-birth or post-birth order
There is also one essential legal aspect of surrogacy. Can a surrogate mother keep the child? Unfortunately, there are such cases. To protect yourself from such risks, you should sign a pre-birth or post-birth order with her. This document ensures that you will be listed as the legal parents on the child’s birth certificate. The surrogate mother will not have any parental rights to it. In addition, such an agreement will avoid the need to adopt the child after birth and feel safe during the program.
Find out what causes your surrogate mother’s insurance covers. Most often, a special insurance policy is required for surrogacy. This is because the IVF procedure is quite complicated and may require several approaches. Surrogate insurance is added to the independent surrogacy cost. Therefore, you should thoroughly research this issue and discuss everything with your lawyer if possible.
Managing medical tasks
- Initial tests and screenings. A woman who seems like a suitable candidate for you should undergo several examinations that will confirm her good health status.
- Artificial insemination. Parents must decide whose sperm and egg they will use for fertilization. Donors can be brought in, or material from one or both parents can be used. Also, frozen or fresh material will be used for fertilization? Perhaps you have frozen embryos from previous IVF programs? A qualified specialist can help you with these questions.
- PGD and PGC testing future parents can do at their own discretion. These tests are done before transferring the embryo into the uterus. They allow finding out if there are any abnormalities in the embryo’s chromosomes, which could lead to serious genetic diseases later on.
Support during pregnancy and birth
A pregnant woman will need medical monitoring, sometimes take medication or stay in the hospital. These costs must be covered by the prospective parents. In addition to finances, a private surrogate mother may need emotional support in various situations. The intended parents also take care of all issues regarding the birth and the surrogate’s recovery after the birth.
According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), many factors influence the effectiveness of surrogacy. The average IVF success rate in US clinics is 75%. At the same time, after a surrogate mother becomes pregnant, a healthy child is born at a rate of as high as 95%. In order to have a successful pregnancy, a woman needs to receive necessary medical care, healthy nutrition, and emotional support from her close people.
What is included in the cost of surrogacy without an agency?
The average cost of surrogacy in the United States is $95,000-$150,000. The estimated average price for such a program in Georgia would be US$54,000-$200,000. The agency may charge $15,000 to $30,000 for its services. If you use the agency’s services, this will be your down payment.
The cost of surrogacy without agency can vary from case to case. Still, there are basic factors that affect pricing.
This is usually the largest part of the private surrogacy cost. This sum depends on many factors. In addition to the basic commission that the surrogate receives, the intended parents also cover her monthly expenses during the pregnancy, clothes for the expectant mother, carrying two or more children, travel expenses to the clinic, etc.
Medicare clinic fee
This includes all medical expenses. IVF is paid for each cycle. In case of failed IVF attempts, repeating the procedure is paid. Other medical expenses include blood tests, mental health analysis, various screenings and tests, PGD and PGS, embryo transfer, delivery fees, abortion possibilities, etc.
This part includes two mandatory contracts:
- The contract that is signed with the surrogate for her services
- Pre-birth or post-birth order
A woman needs separate insurance to participate in the surrogacy program. It is paid for by the intended parents.
In the table below, we offer you a comparison of surrogate program costs depending on whether you organize everything yourself or an agency helps you. The table shows the average US prices for the services. Note that they may vary depending on the agency, clinic, and individual situation of the future parents.
|Independent surrogacy||Surrogacy with agency|
|Surrogate Mother’s Compensation||$10,000-40,000||$10,000-40,000|
|Embryo Transfer fees (per cycle)||$500+||$500+|
|Multiples fee (per fetus)||$1,500+||$1,500+|
|Invasive procedure fees||$500+||$500+|
|Cesarean section fee||$1,500+||$1,500+|
|Surrogate Mother’s Reimbursement||$2,000+||$2,000+|
|Egg donation related costs||$12,000-30,000||$12,000-30,000|
|Agency service fee||–||$20,000|
|Trust account management||–||$1,000|
|Surrogate support group fees||–||$1,200+|
Pros and Cons of a private surrogate mother
Some of these tasks may seem complicated or nearly impossible for inexperienced parents. In turn, thanks to a well-established process, agencies can perform these steps very easily and quickly. Despite this, independent surrogacy has its advantages and disadvantages. It is worth considering the pros and cons and weighing the risks if you want to make an informed choice.
- Lower cost. Organizing the whole process yourself is a good way to save money. You won’t have to pay the agency a commission for their services.
- More control from parents. Usually, the agency takes care of all the work of settling the surrogacy process. The parents take very little part in it. If you do everything yourself, you can be involved in the surrogacy program every step of the way.
- Surrogate searching. Searching for a surrogate on your own can take a lot of effort and time. But the biggest risk a parent faces is fraud. Besides, a woman may agree to a private surrogacy just because several agencies rejected her.
- Missing any legal aspects. If the private surrogate contract is not concluded correctly, the parents risk incurring serious costs in the future. If a pre-birth or post-birth order is forgotten or improperly created, there is a risk of suing the surrogate for parental rights in the future. In some US states, surrogacy is completely or partially prohibited, and one type of surrogacy (traditional or gestational) may be prohibited. Not knowing or ignoring all these nuances can lead to unpleasant consequences for the parents.
- Unplanned increase in payments. Although parents will save money at the agency, they may overpay for some services of specialists who charge hourly rates.
The most common reason couples choose independent surrogacy programs is the high cost. After all, surrogacy in the United States is expensive. But there is also another option to save money. For example, go through such a program in another country where prices are more affordable. In Georgia, the surrogacy cost is much lower. At the same time, the quality of medical services and specialists’ qualifications is very high.
Our clinic assumes all the responsibilities for organizing this process. Our services include:
- Consulting of future parents. You can book an appointment and get answers to any questions: how much it costs, what the risks are, how long the process will take, what tests should be done, what are the program stages, etc.
- Searching for a surrogate. We have a large database of surrogates. These women live in Georgia and they will be here during the whole period of pregnancy and delivery.
- Surrogate mothers in our clinic meet very high requirements: age 21-30 years; no harmful habits; perfect physical and psychological health; absence of genetic diseases; at least one healthy child.
- Selection of donor sperm and eggs. We also have a large database of donor material. That’s why we can quickly find something suitable for you.
- Fertilization. IVF is done in our clinic in Georgia, after all the necessary tests.
- Carrying out PGS and PGD testing.
- Supervision during pregnancy and delivery.
- Mediation in the legal issues. Surrogacy is legal in Georgia. Our lawyers will help you to conclude a contract, legal paperwork. After the baby is born you will receive his/her birth certificate, where you will be listed as legal parents.
You can weigh the pros and cons of independent surrogacy, think carefully about your options and limitations, and make the best choice for you. Even if you find a surrogate on your own, you may need help arranging other related matters. The professionals at StartYourSurrogacy.com are passionate about your family and strive to adjust to each client and challenge. We will be happy to help you every step of the way in this challenging yet exciting and very important program for your family.