Surrogate birth comes with a price tag

Costs of assisted reproduction vary greatly from state to state, depending on the procedure and the type of agreement.

According to surrogate law expert Steven Snyder, the Midwest is the most economical location for a surrogacy agreement, with total costs ranging from $80,000 to $120,000, if results are successful the first time.

Snyder, an attorney in Maple Grove, has overseen 300 surrogate agreements, handling 80 percent in Minnesota through the International Assisted Reproductive Center (IARC). He has completed three surrogate agreements in Rock County.

One of those agreements was with Luverne’s Beth Bartels, who was a gestational surrogate 10 years ago for a couple from London, England.

“It was such a cool experience,” she said. “I developed a relationship with the parents and (the birth of twins) was a fulfillment of a lifelong dream for them.”

The gestational surrogate plays a small but important role in helping couples have children. Technology has boosted the success from assisted-reproductive services to 58 percent. However, it is difficult to know how often a gestational surrogate is used.

“There are no industry statistics,” Snyder said pointing to the wide range of available surrogacy services.

For example, Snyder said, if a couple creates an embryo using their own sperm and egg, cost ranges from $10,000 to $15,000. Costs are higher, up to $25,000, if an egg donor is necessary.

Surrogate fees can be free if a friend or family member agrees to carry the baby to full term, but most surrogates receive payment for the care they give to the developing child, Snyder said. Those payments range from $15,000 to $35,000, depending on whether it is the surrogate’s first or second pregnancy.

“Experienced surrogates ask for more,” he said.

For surrogates who view their service as more altruistic, like many Midwest surrogates do, the cost is also less, Snyder said.

The surrogate’s medical insurance handles the cost of prenatal care and delivery with the intended parent paying the $2,000 to $10,000 medical deductible.

Agencies such as IARC charge about $20,000 if all the agency’s services are used from surrogate introduction to the court proceedings involved in transferring parental rights ($6,000 to $8,000).

“It costs a lot of money but you can’t really put a number on it,” Snyder said. “(Having a child) is a wonderful miracle.”

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