Commercial surrogacy comes with a lot of myths and rumors, one of the biggest the amount of money paid as surrogate mother compensation. The truth is, there are many expenses in surrogacy; the cost of surrogate mother is just one of them, and not the largest.
The media has gotten very good at doing stories on surrogacy that are blown way out of proportion. They typically portray surrogacy as something only rich couples can afford to enter into, and make a surrogate mother out to be some sort of black-market body parts dealer, making huge amounts of money renting her womb.
You may have seen cases where the cost of surrogate mother is reported to be more than $50,000, $80,000 or even $100,000 for a single journey. The media often equates commercial surrogacy with a financial windfall or lottery winning.
It is simply untrue.
A Commercial Surrogacy Example
A first-time surrogate mother receives, on average, $20,000 compensation for a single journey.
This, of course, varies based on several factors, but for this example, we will use $20,000.
A typical commercial surrogacy journey, from matching to delivery, takes a minimum of one year.
This is a very conservative time frame, assuming that the lawyers and clinic move fast, and only one transfer or traditional surrogate cycle is needed to achieve pregnancy, two tops.
So, you could say, for example’s sake, that a typical surrogate mother compensation rate equals $20,000 a year.
If you were a regular, full-time employee in a regular job, this would break down to:
$20,000 = 52 weeks = 40 hours per week = $9.61 per hour
However, a woman is not pregnant 40 hours per week. She is pregnant 24 hours a day for 40 weeks. Not to mention the countless hours spent taking tests, traveling to doctor’s offices, and handling other aspects of commercial surrogacy.
A more appropriate breakdown of an hourly wage for a surrogate mother would be: (yes, I realize this is not exact as a pregnancy lasts only 40 weeks and I am factoring in 52, but a surrogate journey will last longer than a year, in some cases more than two years.)
$20,000 = 52 weeks = 7 days = 24 hours = $2.28 per hour
Whether you are a potential surrogate mother, a potential intended parent, or just a curious onlooker, when put into perspective, a woman does not make much money for being a surrogate mother. The truth about surrogate mother compensation is that it is more about giving a wonderful gift than making a lot of money.
Why the Confusion in Commercial Surrogacy?
So where does that $100,000 price tag come from?
The truth is that intended parents do, in fact, spend $50-100,000+ on expenses in surrogacy but that money does not go just to cost of surrogate mother.
The majority of the expenses in surrogacy goes to the other aspects of journey, such as:
The IVF clinic charges a hefty fee for the egg retrieval process and the gestational surrogacy transfer. In addition, there are a multitude of other expenses such as testing and the storage of embryos.
Contracts, legal advice and council, pre-birth orders, birth certificates, and problems with insurance companies are very expensive.
The surrogacy attorney usually charges an hourly rate to handle these critical issues for the intended parents.
Between surrogacy lawyers and IVF clinics, the majority of the monies allocated to a surrogate journey are spent.
If an agency is used, this fee can be several thousands of dollars, depending on the agency and what services are provided.
Medications for embryo retrieval and transfer can run several thousands of dollars. Factor in a failed transfer or two, and this amount of money can skyrocket.
Other Expenses in Surrogacy
From health insurance to maternity clothing, there are many tiny expenses that add up significantly to the cost of a commercial surrogacy.
As you can see, there are many, many expenses that factor into the cost of bringing a surrogate baby into the world. The surrogate mother compensation fee, though not inexpensive, is only one portion of the commercial surrogacy journey.
So why does the media make it seem as though surrogate mothers are making a fortune? Quite simply because it sells more newspapers.