We can help you to put together a personal budget for your surrogacy route. US surrogacy journeys involve different types of costs from UK surrogacy journeys (and are typically more costly). Whichever route you choose, it is important to budget for all the costs without overlooking anything. We can help work this out with you, but here are some general guidelines.
It is for you to agree with your surrogate what payments should be made to her. Expenses/compensation should always be agreed in advance and put in writing (even though any contract is not legally binding under UK law).
It is a popular misconception that there is a fixed amount (often said to be £15,000) which is the amount allowed for reasonable expenses for surrogacy in the UK. In fact, there is no set amount and what is reasonable depends on the surrogate's circumstances. You can, at a minimum, expect to reimburse your surrogate for expenses such as travel costs, treatment costs, maternity clothes, childcare costs and any loss of earnings for her and her partner. This might be agreed as a lump sum or paid for individually. We usually suggest an element of both, with a figure agreed at the outset to cover all the predictable expenses typical to most surrogacy journeys (most teams agree a figure of £12,000 for this) and then agreed variables which are reimbursed specifically in addition if they arise (for example additional lost wages if there is extended bed rest).
It is not illegal for you to pay your surrogate more than reasonable expenses under UK law, and in practice lump sums paid to UK surrogates are dealt with quite flexibly by the family court. If the court feels that what you have paid is excessive then it will have to 'authorise' the payments to grant a parental order. We will make sure you have legal advice to explain how this works, and how to ensure your court process is as straightforward as possible.
You will also need to account for your fertility treatment costs and any legal fees if you update your wills or want support with your parental order application. Other costs to factor in include life insurance for your surrogate to protect her family in the event of unforeseen circumstances as well as travel and accomodation for you whilst you get to know your surrogate and when your baby is born.
If you are considering a US surrogacy arrangement, you can expect to pay your surrogate an express agreed compensation figure in addition to any out-of-pocket expenses. This will be enshrined in a legally-binding surrogacy contract which is enforceable in the USA. The US attorneys we work with have long experience of handling surrogacy arrangements, and will help you to negotiate the terms of your US surrogacy agreement. US agencies also typically manage the payments to surrogates in practice via an escrow account.
Although it is not illegal for intended parents to enter into a compensated and commercially-arranged surrogacy agreement in the USA, the UK court will have to decide whether to authorise the payments made to the US surrogate and agency in order to grant a parental order. Although there is now an established pathway through the High Court (with no applications refused), you should make sure that you understand the legal issues beforehand as each case is looked at individually. Our service includes UK legal advice from a solicitor from NGA Law.
You will also need to put together a careful budget for all the other costs involved, including US agency and attorney fees, fertility treatment costs, compensation to your egg donor (if appropriate), health insurance costs, UK legal and immigration fees. as well as your travel and accomodation whilst in the US.
There are no registration or membership fees attached to our services. We charge fixed fees for our options review, UK surrogacy match and management, UK surrogacy support and US surrogacy management services (see our fees page for more information). We are a non profit-making professionally-managed surrogacy agency. That means that our fees only cover the costs of the services we provide.