I’ve read that IVF clinics in Asia or Eastern Europe are much cheaper than in the United States. If that’s the case, can I have my IVF procedure there and then send the embryos to the US? I can transfer them to an American surrogate and the baby can be born under the American laws with American citizenship.
Thanks for the question, Matt:
There are some cross-border programs that take advantage of less expensive IVF clinics overseas. The most notable use clinics in Mexico with a surrogate from the United States. But you can also create embryos in Kiev for export. In rare cases you can even use excellent clinics in countries where surrogacy has been tightly restricted, like India or Cambodia. But whether this will save you money is doubtful.
By far the largest expense in a surrogacy procedure is the cost of finding, screening, managing and compensating your surrogate. While clinic fees in the US can run between $20,000 and $30,000 USD, the total payments related to your surrogate can be about $60,000 USD.
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Remember that in addition to the cost of the overseas clinical procedures you also have to add medical shipment (between $3,000 and $4,000 USD) and your own travel costs (probably and additional $2000 to $3000 USD). An inexpensive clinic in Mumbai will still cost about $10,000 for an IVF procedure. Also if you are bringing embryos into the US, there are FDA medical screening that is required of both the egg and sperm donor, and that can cost about $1200 USD each.
As you can see, there is little cost benefit in using an IVF clinic overseas to conceive the embryos instead of a clinic in California or Mexico. You can save some money, but it won’t make a big dent in your total budget.
As for countries like India or Thailand… it is generally prohibited to ship embryos out of India. And Thai clinics are under such tight scrutiny that they are unlikely to work with any foreign parents who don’t have blood relations inside Thailand.
Some couples ask me if they can send their US surrogate overseas to receive the embryo transfer, and then again the cost of finding a surrogate who is willing to travel abroad for 2 weeks or more (plus her travel expenses and accommodation) is likely far more than what you would save on the cost of the clinical procedures.
Of course the obvious exception is surrogacy in Mexico, which is relatively inexpensive to send surrogate across the border to receive an embryo transfer at a reputable Mexican clinic. But even so, the real cost savings of performing an IVF cycle in Mexico (as opposed to the United States) is the availability of local Mexican egg donors, which are as affordable as $5000 USD, compared to $18,000 USD for a US donor.
I hope this is useful,
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