Skip to main content

Our Response to the Alabama IVF Ruling

«  View All Posts

LGBTQ+ Family Building /
Surrogacy /
Affording Treatment

What is the Average Cost of Surrogacy in the United States? (2024)

Get a complete cost breakdown and learn what you can expect to pay for a surrogacy journey as an intended parent.

April 24th, 2024 | 12 min. read

By Sierra Dehmler

Navigating the world of surrogacy can be daunting, particularly when it comes to finances. In this guide, we explore the average cost of surrogacy in the United States in 2024, with a special focus on possible additional financial considerations for same-sex male couples.

In this article:

Understanding the World of Surrogacy 

Over the years, the practice of gestational surrogacy as a path to parenthood has evolved significantly. Surrogacy has emerged as a powerful tool, allowing individuals and couples to build families and experience the joy of parenthood. 

While that joy is inarguably priceless, it still comes with a high price tag.

As an intended parent, it's natural to get overwhelmed as you learn about the various expenses involved in the surrogacy process. The goal of this guide is to empower you with the financial information, support, and resources you need to move forward with hope and optimism.

The Average Cost of Surrogacy in the United States

The average cost of surrogacy in the U.S. in 2024 (including professional fees, carrier fees and expenses, and insurance costs) ranges from $100,000 to $140,000.

Depending on your situation, that number can balloon all the way up to $250,000 or more. This significant variation highlights just how unique each surrogacy journey is. 

Surrogacy Cost Breakdown

With that average cost range in mind, let's talk about the key expense categories you'll likely encounter, where exactly all that money will be going, and which factors can affect the final amount you'll pay:

Note: If you are an intended parent who lives outside of the United States who is considering traveling to the U.S. for a surrogacy journey, you should also include expenses like airfare, accommodations, transportation, and meals.

1. Agency Fees

Surrogacy agencies act as facilitators, matching intended parents with potential surrogates, managing logistics, and providing guidance throughout the journey. Their fees typically range from $35,000 to $55,000.

2. Surrogate Compensation & Expenses

Gestational surrogates are making a significant physical and emotional commitment.

Their compensation can vary depending on experience, location, and the number of embryos transferred. Expect an average range of $35,000 to $60,000, with additional expenses for maternity clothes, lost wages, and childcare covered by the intended parents.

However, according to agencies like Worldwide Surrogacy, your surrogate's total compensation and benefits may range from $65,000 to $95,000, depending on the final terms of your contract together. 

The bottom line: The costs involved in a surrogacy journey can range widely, based on various factors, which we will explore more below.

Does insurance cover surrogacy?

Unfortunately, most health insurance plans still don't cover surrogacy. However, some plans may cover certain medical expenses, like prenatal care and delivery. All of this depends on the type of insurance plan, the state, and the circumstances of the arrangement. 

After a surrogate is released to the care of her OB/GYN at approximately 10-12 weeks of pregnancy, her personal insurance is typically utilized. Intended parents may pick up the tab for their surrogate if she uses her health insurance, or sometimes, purchase separate insurance for her.

Some companies now offer benefits that will cover specific (sometimes all) aspects of the surrogacy or fertility treatment process. Here are a few examples:

  • Starbucks: $20,000 IVF benefit for all employees
  • Walmart: Offers $20,000 for IVF, surrogacy, and adoption
  • Unilever: IVF, egg freezing, and surrogacy expenses
  • Viacom: IVF, egg freezing, and surrogacy expenses
  • Intel: Up to $40,000 for fertility treatments and $20,000 for prescription coverage
  • Bank of America: Unlimited IVF coverage

According to Carrot Fertility, 61% of employers with 500 or more employees offered some fertility insurance coverage in 2022. As employees push for increased coverage and flock to companies who offer these benefits, that number should continue to grow.

3. Legal Fees

Legal representation is crucial to ensure a smooth and secure surrogacy process. This includes drafting contracts, navigating parental rights, and ensuring adherence to state laws.

Legal fees can range from $10,000 to $25,000.

Finding Your Egg Donor

In this guide, we provide a comprehensive overview of the emotional, medical, and legal aspects to help you navigate the process of finding an ideal egg donor.

Read Now

4. Medical Costs

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common method used in surrogacy. A single IVF cycle can cost $25,000 to $35,000, including medication, monitoring, egg retrieval, sperm processing, and embryo transfer.

Note: IVF may be covered by some intended parents’ insurance, but if it is not, the cost to create embryos and perform transfers is usually between $15,000 and $40,000.

Additional necessary medical expenses such as prenatal care, ultrasounds, and delivery can increase your total by $10,000 or more, depending on your surrogate's insurance plan.

Additional Considerations for Same-Sex Couples

For same-sex male couples pursuing surrogacy, there are additional costs to factor in:

  • Egg donation: Since same-sex (cisgender) male couples cannot provide eggs, they will require an egg donor. Egg donation fees typically range from $30,000 to $40,000, covering compensation for the donor, screening processes, and agency fees.
  • Sperm testing & preparation: If you will be utilizing your own (or your partner's own) sperm for IVF, additional testing and preparation like sperm washing can add $1,000 to $5,000 to the overall cost. If you are using a sperm donor, you will have to factor in those costs instead. 

What other factors influence surrogacy costs?

In addition to the standard surrogacy costs outlined above, there are a few other variables to consider, from unexpected complications to where you live:


Surrogacy costs can vary significantly depending on the chosen state. States with a high demand for surrogates, like California, often have higher fees compared to less populated areas.

Agency Services

Different surrogacy agencies offer varying packages of services. Some may provide comprehensive support, including matching, legal guidance, and case management, while others might offer a more basic service, leading to a wider range of costs.

Experience Levels 

Experienced surrogates and egg donors often command higher compensation compared to first-timers. While experience can provide peace of mind, it can also increase the overall cost.

Number of IVF Cycles

Unfortunately, not all IVF cycles are successful on the first attempt. Additional cycles significantly increase the total cost.


Unforeseen medical complications during pregnancy can lead to additional medical expenses for your gestational carrier, which can add to your overall total.

Financial Planning for Surrogacy

Building a family through surrogacy is a significant financial undertaking for LGBTQ+ couples in particular, as many individuals and couples in the community still don't have insurance coverage for family building.

Here are some tips for navigating the financial realities:

  • Research and compare: Request quotes from different surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics to compare costs and services offered.
  • Explore insurance riders: Some health insurance companies offer riders that extend coverage to surrogacy for a set period of time, usually the duration of the pregnancy and recovery months. An intended parent's employer may also partner with a company like Progyny, which facilitates add-on, specialized family-building benefits.
  • Budgeting and savings: Create a realistic budget that factors in all potential expenses. Start saving well in advance to ensure financial stability throughout the process.
  • Financial tools: Explore financing options like personal loans or medical loans specifically designed for fertility treatments. Consider grants or programs offered by LGBTQ+ organizations that might offer financial assistance.
  • Transparency: Be upfront and transparent about your budget with the surrogate and egg donor during the matching process. Open communication can help manage expectations and avoid financial strain.

Beyond Finances: The Emotional Journey

While the financial investment in surrogacy is substantial, it's important to recognize that this journey extends far beyond a monetary commitment. For intended parents and gestational carriers in particular, the emotional investment can be profound.

Here's what to know before starting the process:

1. It can be an emotional rollercoaster.

Surrogacy is a complex and emotionally-charged process. Prepare for a mix of anticipation, excitement, anxiety, and even potential setbacks. Seek support from therapists specializing in LGBTQ+ fertility and mental health.

2. Connection is key.

Building relationships with your gestational carrier and potentially your egg donor will require openness and vulnerability. It's essential to find individuals who align with your values and family aspirations.

3. Community support is important.

Lean on your support network of friends, chosen family, and others in the LGBTQ+ community who have walked a similar path to parenthood. Their encouragement and understanding can provide a lifeline and help keep you sane during challenging times.

4. There may be setbacks and delays.

Surrogacy is a path to parenthood with lots of variables - many that you can't control. Understand that the journey may not be linear. Build resilience and hold onto the hope that despite any obstacles, your dream of a family can come true.

5. Legal guidance is critical.

Surrogacy laws vary widely from state to state in the U.S. and across the globe, adding to the complexity of the legal process. Partnering with experienced attorneys who specialize in reproductive and LGBTQ+ family law is imperative to protecting your rights and ensuring the long-term security of your family.

Here are two (frustrating, yet necessary) legal steps you may need to take:

  • Pre-birth orders: In some states, LGBTQ+ couples must obtain a pre-birth order to ensure the legal parentage of both fathers. This legal process can be time-consuming and expensive.
  • Second-parent adoptions: There are certain situations where both opposite-sex and same-sex couples might need to pursue a second-parent adoption, regardless of marital status, including when the couple has used a sperm or egg donor to conceive their child. 

Meet a Surrogate

After years of professional experience in the world of surrogacy, a gestational carrier shares how and why she decided to become a surrogate herself.

Read More

A Priceless Investment

While the costs associated with surrogacy may feel daunting, the rewards of parenthood are immeasurable, and the joy of welcoming a child into your home and heart unparalleled. 

Surrogacy provides a beautiful opportunity to establish a family rooted in love - one that you've tirelessly wished and worked for. It also offers the chance to show others what's possible, redefine family structures and break traditional barriers. 

Where to Find Support as a Dad-to-Be

There are many different organizations and groups focused on providing support to those in the LGBTQ+ community who are hoping to become parents. Some even offer financial assistance in the form of grants or fertility clinic discounts.

Explore some of our favorites below:

  • Gays With Kids: A digital media resource and social network space dedicated exclusively to helping gay, bi, and trans men become dads and navigate fatherhood.
  • Men Having Babies: This international nonprofit is dedicated to providing gay men with educational and financial support to achieve parenthood through surrogacy.
  • Gay Parents To Be: A robust resource hub created by Illume Fertility to provide education and support on LGBTQ+ fertility and family building.
  • Family Equality Council: A national organization supporting LGBTQ+ families through advocacy and educational resources.
  • LGBTQ+ community centers: Find your local LGBTQ+ community center to get plugged in to events, support groups, and other opportunities to engage with others on similar journeys.

The Future of Surrogacy

The landscape of surrogacy is continually evolving.

With an updated, more inclusive definition of infertility announced by ASRM in 2023, there is increased hope for better access to family-building pathways like IVF and surrogacy - not just for those struggling with traditional infertility, but also for any prospective parent needing the help of fertility treatment, a donor, or surrogacy to expand their family.

With incredible advancements in assisted reproductive technology (ART), increased acceptance of non-traditional families, and the tireless advocacy of LGBTQ+ organizations, the future of surrogacy (particularly for same-sex couples) will be more inclusive and equitable.

The road to surrogacy may feel long at times, but the potential for joy, fulfillment, and family makes the journey worthwhile. Through education, determination, and a supportive network of friends, family, and family-building professionals, your dream of parenthood can become a reality.

Sierra Dehmler

Sierra Dehmler is Illume Fertility’s Content Marketing Manager - and also a fertility patient herself. Combining empathy gained on her personal journey with her professional experience in marketing and content creation, she aims to empower and support other fertility patients by demystifying the fertility treatment process.