No point beating about the bush: surrogacy is expensive and particularly so in the United States.
You should plan for at least $125,000 for surrogacy in the US, and more if you use one of the more well known agencies. Agencies based in California, such as Growing Generations, have a tendency to be more expensive than those based on the East Coast. You do not have to use a more established agency, but you may spend more time mediating between the clinic, egg donor, lawyers and other third parties.
You should also allow for additional expenses such as visits to the US pre- and post-birth, immigration formalities and DNA testing. Trips out to the States add to your costs; all in, we calculated about £2500 for a couple for a week as of 2012).
We have set out below an example of costs, using 2009 figures, based on Circle Surrogacy, an established clinic.
|2nd payment (due after 4 months)||$43,665|
|Payment to IVF clinic (due after 8 months)||$47,850|
|Costs due to "screening" visit (at 6 months)||$2,000|
|Costs due to "fertilisation" visit (at 8 months)||$2,000|
|Costs due to "20-week scan" visit||$2,000|
|Costs due to 3-4 week stay peri-partum||$4,000|
Now that is a lot of money. Yet put this into perspective, the Guardian quotes £200,000 as the cost of bringing up a child in 2010; and a private education costs a further £300,000. So £90,000 (at 2010 exchange rates) to fulfil a dream of having a child may not be that expensive after all.
There are other options:
A piece of good news: one of the authors successfully negotiated with his IVF clinic to reduce the rates so this may provide a cost saving. However, we have heard that more gay couples are contemplating surrogacy - which given the British requirement for an unmarried surrogate, may mean that the supply of suitable gestational carriers may be a limiting factor, driving up costs.
The good news is that further legal costs to return to the UK, and to obtain a parental order, can largely be abrogated. The authors see very little use in employing UK counsel for a US surrogacy. For more information, see Legal Considerations.