Ask the Surrogacy Experts

Is there a way to do payments for a surrogate under $500 a month? I am a single gay male and I want at least one biological child, and without a surrogate I will never be able to have one of my own. I work with children, and I know this is the right time of my life to have a child. What can I do? I have no friends to carry for me and I cannot afford the surrogacy agency rates in the USA. — Bradley


Hello Bradley. Thanks for you question…

I totally understand the struggle to afford a family. Ever since my children were born in India, I have been wracking my brain looking for affordable alternatives to $150K programs in the United States. There is some good news and bad news on that front.

THE GOOD NEWS…. There are low-cost options in the United States that don’t get much visibility. So-called “Independent” surrogacy programs cost about $75,000 USD. Independent Surrogacy is when an Intended Parent enters into a surrogacy agreement without the aid of an “Agent”. Independent Surrogacy is significantly less expensive than typical Agent Programs because they forgo professional services and avoid exorbitant agency fees.

A lot of parents are turned off by Independent Surrogacy options because they feel the tasks are too difficult or the work requires too much specialized knowledge. In reality the tasks are not complex, and the special knowledge can be shared by an experienced Consultancy.

Sensible Surrogacy has a program to walk Intended Parents through their own Independent surrogacy program, giving them step-by-step instructions for each task and troubleshooting any issues that may arise. The Consulting Fee is about $7,000, compared to a traditional Agency Fee of $25,000 USD. (Similar programs are the mainstay in altruistic-only countries, like Canada.)

If finance continues to be an obstacle, you may also qualify for a personal loan to cover some of the costs. There is an article in the Surrogacy Guide on financing options that you may find useful.

THE BAD NEWS…. is that the cost of hiring a surrogate in the U.S. is still high. The exact cost depends on where your program will take place. On the U.S. Coasts, surrogates generally get paid $35,000 to $40,000 USD to carry a pregnancy. That’s about $3,000 per month. In many states with supportive legal frameworks, the entire compensation need to be paid up front into an escrow account (and the surrogate is then paid monthly from the escrow).

Of course that does not include the cost of the clinical fees, which total around $20,000 USD in most cases. Legal fees can be another $8,000 USD. Egg donors are an additional $10,000+. A typical Surrogacy Agent will charge you $25,000 just to recruit and manage your surrogate — which may be justified if you don’t have the time to do those tasks yourself.

You may have read about low-cost surrogacy programs in unregulated countries like Kenya. These programs cost about $45,000 — but I no longer recommend those programs. I believe that the risk of performing unregulated surrogacy in a culture which is so anti-gay would far outweigh the benefits.

In my opinion, you should consider a child in the same way as you would consider buying a house. You are still quite young and this is a long-term investment. My advice is that you create a savings strategy, open a special bank account if necessary, automatically deduct payments from your salary, and build a savings over time so that you can perform the program safely and securely. I was in my 40s when I had my children — so you really should be in no hurry!

When you do find the resources to move forward, give me a call again. I will be happy to help you through the program.

I hope this helps.


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