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Are you considering pursuing your dream of parenthood with the help of a surrogate mother? Finding the right surrogate and being familiar with legal issues is essential.

Would you love to become a parent, but have you come to the conclusion that surrogacy and adoption are your only options? Here, we'll tackle some of the questions surrounding surrogacy. These questions should help kick-start your thinking process, and will bring you a step closer to deciding whether surrogacy is the right path to parenthood for you.

Surrogacy: Why And How?

A surrogate mother is someone who carries a baby for another person, usually because that person (called the "intended parent" in modern surrogacy jargon) is not physically able to get and stay pregnant themselves. The practice of surrogacy has existed throughout much of history, but modern technology has created two distinct types of surrogacy: "traditional surrogacy" and "gestational surrogacy".

Traditional surrogacy is a situation in which a woman becomes pregnant with her own biological child with the intention of surrendering it to the intended parent or intended parents after birth. Sperm from the intended father is usually used to create the pregnancy. Though this form of surrogacy is increasingly rare, women who act as traditional surrogates now tend to be referred to as "gestational carriers and egg donors".

Gestational surrogates carry a baby that is not biologically their own. This process necessitates IVF. People who use gestational surrogates to become parents may either use their own gametes (egg and sperm), or need to make use of donor gametes.

Gestational surrogates can, like traditional surrogates, be divided into two categories. A gestational surrogate may take the "job" of carrying another person's baby on for altruistic or commercial reasons.

People may use surrogate mothers because:

  • A woman has uterine abnormalities that make pregnancy impossible, or may have had a hysterectomy.
  • Male gay couples who do not have a uterus of their own at their disposal will need a gestational carrier to be pregnant for them. Single men who want to become fathers may be in the same position.
  • A woman may have be have medical problems that would make pregnancy life-threatening for her and/or the baby.

How Much Does Surrogacy Cost?

The costs of surrogacy vary greatly, depending on where you live, where your surrogate mother lives, and whether a commercial surrogate or a loved-one is carrying your baby. In general, people pursuing parenthood with the help of a gestational surrogate mother can expect the following expenses:

  • IVF: egg retrieval, embryo transfer, and medications (Lupron for the mother or egg donor, Lupron, Estrogen and Progesterone for your surrogate).
  • The surrogacy contract and associated lawyer's fees.
  • Psychological evaluations and STD testing for everyone, general health checkups for the surrogate.
  • Perhaps counseling for the surrogate.
  • Compensation for lost wages, childcare during prenatal and IVF appointments, travel expenses, household help costs if your surrogate needs help due to bed rest, and maternity clothes.
  • Life insurance for the surrogate, for the duration of her pregnancy.
  • Legal fees to formalize the baby's birth and get the right parents on the birth certificate. 
  • The surrogate's fee, where allowed and agreed.
  • Agency fees, for those using a surrogacy agency.
  • Travel costs for you and the baby, especially relevant if your surrogate is in another country.
It is not unusual for this to amount to somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000. It may also, however, cost much less.
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