Surrogacy UK: The real cost of a surrogacy journey revealed

A new report has highlighted the real cost of surrogacy, casting light onto the lesser-known expenditure required to join organisations, build rapport with a surrogate, and more.

In the report, Sarah Jones, Chief Executive Officer at SURROGACYUK, explains the costs that are incurred throughout the journey. These include the cost of trying to conceive, pregnancy expenses, post-birth expenses – including applying for a parental order – and other unforeseen costs. Explaining this in her blog, Jones said:

“I delve into the intricate subject of the financial costs associated with surrogacy in the UK. Surrogacy offers a vital path to parenthood for many, yet the lack of statutory regulation has led to a wide range of cost implications.

Financial transparency is often clouded by legal ambiguities, and the informal nature of arrangements only compounds the issue. Understanding the cost structure is not just beneficial for intended parents but is imperative for legal practitioners navigating this complex area. My post aims to shed some light on the matter whilst advocating for clearer guidelines and reforms.”

Sarah stated that establishing a “strong and trusting relationship with your surrogate is an invaluable part of the surrogacy process”. However, she said it’s important to remember that building this relationship also carries its own set of costs.

Getting to know a surrogate often involves several face-to-face meetings. Depending on respective locations, providing drinks and snacks for these meetings can cost around £20 to £50 per meetup – this may be more if the surrogate’s family are involved at this stage.

Spending a day together can also be a great way to build rapport, said Jones. However, these fees can range from £10 to £30 per person depending on the activity. The fees for meals and snacks can add to this too – ranging from £20 to £40 per person.

What’s more, the report also mentioned travel expenses – particularly if parties live far apart. Public transport can be £100+ per journey, depending on distance and location.

Hotels and Airbnbs can also add to the budget if parties live far away. With hotels ranging from £50-£200 per night, depending on location. The report also covered costs incurred while trying to conceive:

“The process of trying to conceive is an intricate and often expensive part of the surrogacy journey. It involves several aspects, from medical procedures to counselling, as well as compensation for time off work for the surrogate and her partner.”

Sarah also mentioned IVF treatments, implications counselling, travel to the clinic for the surrogate, loss of earning for the surrogate and the partner and childcare while the surrogate is at the clinic.

The report highlight that it’s important to note that surrogacy expenses can vary greatly and depend on the individual circumstances of the surrogate:

“Factors that may influence the costs include the surrogate’s age, the number of children she already has, her earned salary, access to paid maternity leave, any pre-existing medical conditions, and the level of support she may require during the journey. There is no set minimum or maximum limit for expenses as long as they are reasonable.”

The government’s guidelines state:

“It is generally accepted practice for the parties to a surrogacy agreement to estimate their expenses at the start, so that an agreed sum for expenses can be clearly recorded in their agreement and the payments can be spread over the course of the pregnancy if required.”

In the report, the expenses for after the child’s birth is also considered as it is vital for financial planning – including additional medical treatment for the surrogate, parental order application, surrogate’s attendance at parental order appointments and a celebratory meal.

Sarah stated that surrogacy is a “complex process”, and “despite meticulous planning, unexpected costs can arise”. She stated:

“It’s crucial for intended parents to maintain a contingency fund to ensure that the surrogate is not left out of pocket.”

Jones highlighted some scenarios where unforeseen expenses might crop up:

  • Unplanned C-Section: If a caesarean section becomes necessary, the surrogate’s recovery time could extend to around six weeks. During this period, she may be unable to drive, work, or adequately care for her own children, necessitating extra costs for transport, loss of earnings, and additional childcare.
  • Multiple Pregnancy: Carrying more than one baby often leads to earlier maternity leave, increased medical attention, and potentially, bed rest. This can result in additional costs for loss of earnings and medical care.
  • Medical Conditions Requiring Bed Rest: Conditions such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes could require the surrogate to go on medical bed rest, again resulting in lost earnings and possibly increased medical costs.

Read the full report here.

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