Episode 3 – Education – How much does surrogacy cost in Australia?
Are you an Intended Parent (IP) considering surrogacy but not sure if you can afford it? What is the average amount and what is a reasonable range to expect? Which part of the journey will cost the most and how do the costs blow out?
Another valuable resource is the Surrogacy Process Chart created by village member and dad through surrogacy, Tyson. It will give you guidance on how long surrogacy might take, what each stage costs and what range to expect.
This page is part of a series of surrogacy education episodes from Anna. On the main podcast page you will find recent episodes and links to other categories: surrogates, gay dads, straight mums and guest / theme.
Join Anna McKie in conversation with surrogates and parents who have navigated Australian altruistic surrogacy. Anna is a gestational surrogate, high school Math teacher and surrogacy educator working with Surrogacy Australia and running SASS (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service).
The other episodes of the podcast were recorded as part of our free, fortnightly webinar series. If you would like to attend one, check out our dates and registration links. The recordings can also be found on our YouTube channel so you can see the photos that are described in the recordings.
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How much does surrogacy cost in Australia? The quick answer to that, an average of $60,000 with a range of $30,000 to $90,000. So it really is a middle class pathway I guess to have a family which can feel quite unfair. There’s no national database for collecting of
information like this but I have done some. I’m a maths teacher as my other part-time job and some other members of the community. I’ve actually got a survey that I get parents through surrogacy to fill out so if you’d like to do that please get in touch with me or maybe in the future when you are a parent. So let’s break that down a bit more. The lower end, the $30,000. For those surrogacy teams they probably had one egg collection which means they perhaps were a hetero couple and they already had their eggs collected and then turned into embryos.
or if they are a gay couple with their egg donor, they would have only needed one egg collection to make the embryos, and then it worked first embryo transfer, transferring that into their surrogate. The surrogate during pregnancy probably had no loss of wages that the IPs had to cover, IPs, intended parents, and they live locally to each other, meaning they didn’t have interstate travel. Those up at the upper end, up at the $90,000 end, they would have had multiple egg collection cycles. That was my team, for example, it cost $30,000 on IVF.
it would have taken multiple embryo transfers, they would have been an interstate team, so they would have had interstate travel each time the IPs were visiting their surrogate during appointments and the getting to know you stage, as well as around the time of birth, they would have gone up to see her about two weeks before birth to spend time with her, and then a couple of weeks post-birth, so there’s travel and accommodation there to consider. And currently in 2023, there are no Medicare rebates for some parts of surrogacy in Australia. So the egg collection,
at most clinics and then the embryo transfers don’t get those rebates at the moment but Surrogacy Australia we’re part of a working party at the moment to campaign to get that changed. So each time those egg collections happened that could be you know many of thousands of dollars and likewise for the embryo transfers themselves. If you’re looking for a bit more guidance on the breakdown of the different stages for surrogacy how long they take and
the range of costs you might expect in them. There’s a process chart, which was written by Tyson, and he’s a member of the community, the Village, and I’ll put the link for that in our show notes. Breaking down the different stages of the costs, the pre-pregnancy costs then, engaging with your IVF clinic. So when you’re doing that egg collection, you could be looking anywhere between four to $30,000, depending on how often you had to do that collection. There’s counseling that happens, and that’s all using the one counselor. You’re looking at three and a half to $7,000 for that.
Then there’s two lawyers involved for the advice. You’re looking at two and a half to $5,000 and then the agreement itself about 3,000. And then when it comes to transferring the embryo, looking at about three to $6,000 per transfer. If that embryo transfer was happening into a traditional hetero couple, not for surrogacy, you do get Medicare rebates, but currently for the same procedure into a surrogate, you don’t get Medicare rebates, but watch this space. I’m sure that’s gonna change. Other costs that you could expect.
private health costs during pregnancy if as a team you decide to go through the private health care system and the surrogate didn’t already have private health or you need to top it up for obstetrics care. Many of us have gone through the public health system though for surrogacy so it’s not necessarily something you have to do. Other costs are obviously things during pregnancy that your surrogate might have, massages, takeaway food when she’s too ill or tired to cook, those sorts of things. You also need to consider loss of wages.
What if during pregnancy at say 20 weeks and halfway through the pregnancy, the doctor or midwife said that she needs bed rest for 20 weeks to save the baby’s life and or for her health? How would you manage that? Think about the impact that that’s going to have on her family, her being very limited in terms of how much she can do around the house and for her family. And then you need to cover her wage. What if she’s a full time worker and she’s a teacher or a nurse or another professional? Think about how many thousands of dollars that’s going to be.
and that can mount up really fast and get quite expensive. But of course, you don’t need to have all of this money saved to start with. We’re looking at it spanning a two to three year period. And so of course you’re earning your wages like normal during that time. You might obviously limit how much travel or overseas travel you do in that time while this is your major project. I would suggest starting with $10,000 in the bank to start with and thinking about what backup that you’ve got. I remember asking the two guys that I carried for, what would they do if…
you know, they needed to cover my wage during pregnancy. For example, would their parents be able to spot them for a five or $10,000 loan if they needed it quickly? Can you draw on your mortgage as another option? Have you got investments? Thinking about those sorts of things. So I hope that gives you a quick overview as to how much you might expect surrogacy in Australia to cost you. From my understanding about overseas surrogacy, you’re looking at over $100,000, more like $250,000 if you go to America. And of course, remember that although I say
$90,000 at the upper end, there’s actually no guarantee that there’s going to be a live baby at the end of all of this. You could have spent $90,000 and still not be successfully pregnant. So it is a risk, but we often say to be cautiously optimistic in this and we obviously hope that everybody gets to the stage of having a surrogate baby, both as the surrogates and the intended parents. If you’re looking for more guidance on how to navigate surrogacy in Australia, please check out SASS, Surrogacy Australia Support Service.
so you can have me as your navigation tool on this journey. Until next time, welcome to the village.
Looking to find a surrogate in Australia? Consider joining SASS.
Looking for an overview of surrogacy? Join us in a free, fortnightly Wednesday night webinar.
Looking to chat with other IPs and surrogates in a casual setting? Join us for a monthly Zoom catch up, one Friday of each month.