Reproductive Options

How Does Surrogacy Pay Work | Base Compensation and Allowances

Surrogacy is an incredible journey that brings dreams of parenthood to life for families who may not be able to conceive on their own. While the emotional rewards are clear and immeasurable, surrogates are also paid for their time, dedication, and compassion. 

We’ve been in your shoes though, we know it can be confusing to understand the elements that make up surrogacy pay. It’s one of the most common questions that we hear, and we want to answer it for you today. 

What Are The Types Of Surrogacy Pay?

Your exact compensation will be determined by the benefits package that you sign, from your agency. But in almost every case, it will consist of two main components: base compensation and allowances. Base compensation is the fixed amount paid to the surrogate for carrying the pregnancy to term, while allowances cover additional expenses incurred during the surrogacy journey. 

Base Compensation:

The base compensation that you earn as part of your benefits package will vary, depending on a range of factors – from experience through to the agency you choose to work with. In the United States though, the average base compensation for a first-time surrogate ranges between around $30,000 to $50,000. This amount is negotiated between the surrogate and the intended parents or the surrogacy agency.

Reproductive Options typically matches first-time surrogates with a base compensation of $60,000, though experienced surrogates can earn up to $100k for their participation. 

What Determines Your Base Compensation?


If you’ve already completed one or more surrogacy journeys, then you’re likely to receive higher compensation than a first-time surrogate. This is because you have a proven history of successfully carrying a pregnancy for a family.


You may also be able to increase your base fee if you have an insurance plan that is surrogacy friendly – meaning it will cover your medical needs during your surrogacy journey. While any out-of-pocket costs will be covered by the intended parents, the ability to use your existing employer-provided insurance removes the necessity for the intended parent to purchase an additional plan, negating that potential additional cost for them. This can benefit you – not only by making you much easier to match, moving the process along faster, but it could also lead to an increase to your base compensation in some situations. 


Surrogacy compensation may be higher in areas of the US with a higher cost of living. This, alongside how many surrogates are qualified and ready in your location, can impact the base compensation available. In addition to this, some states have legal restrictions on surrogacy compensation maximums, which may affect the base compensation amount.


Some surrogacy agencies actually dictate what your base compensation can be. Reproductive Options allow surrogates to choose their own base fee, and we will work with you to help you to determine a reasonable base fee depending on your state and other qualifying variables.


In addition to your base compensation, surrogates also receive allowances to cover a variety of expenses that may be incurred during the surrogacy journey. These will be outlined in your benefits package, but could include:

Medical Expenses: 

The intended parents typically cover all medical expenses related to the pregnancy, including prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care. This usually includes expenses like doctor’s visits, ultrasounds, laboratory tests, and delivery fees. Surrogates should not bear any out-of-pocket medical costs related to the pregnancy.

Travel Expenses: 

Surrogates typically receive reimbursement for travel expenses related to medical appointments, legal proceedings, and other surrogacy-related activities. This can include expenses such as airfare, hotel accommodations, rental cars, and meals. Travel allowances ensure that the surrogate can attend necessary appointments and meetings without incurring financial hardship, or the surrogate being out-of-pocket.

Maternity Clothing: 

Surrogates often receive allowances to purchase maternity clothing and other essential items during the pregnancy, like prenatals or support garments. It’s typically a flat one-time fee paid when the surrogate hits a certain milestone in their pregnancy, which will be outlined in your benefits package.

Surrogacy is a significant commitment and surrogates deserve to be compensated fairly for the invaluable service they provide. If you’re considering surrogacy, equip yourself with knowledge, seek support from experienced professionals, and ensure that every aspect of your surrogacy experience, including the pay, is transparent and clearly outlined.

Whether you are a seasoned surrogate or new to the process, we hope you have a better understanding of what to expect financially on your surrogacy journey. Your decision to help create families is remarkable and should be met with appropriate recognition and recompense.

Remember, every surrogacy experience is unique, and so are the agreements related to it. It’s essential that you feel comfortable, secure, and fairly compensated throughout this beautiful and life-changing experience.

Are you considering becoming a surrogate? Curious about what to expect? We’re here to provide answers and support at every stage of your journey.

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