Surrogacy Frequently Asked Questions
What is surrogacy?
A surrogate is a woman who agrees to carry a pregnancy for
another person or couple, called the intended parent(s). The
current and more accurate term for surrogate is carrier. NAFG
conducts gestational surrogacies, in which the carrier is
implanted with an embryo created from either sperm and/or egg from the
intended couple or a donor. The baby has no genetic relationship to the
carrier, who is only responsible for gestating the baby until birth.
Certain states have a legal structure for obtaining a pre-birth
order, which allows the names of the intended parents to appear on
the baby's original birth certificate. In other cases, a step-parent
adoption takes place. Either way, the intended parents take the baby
home from the hospital.
Why would someone choose surrogacy over adoption?
Adoption is a wonderful choice for many people. However, surrogacy
has a number of practical and medical advantages. When egg and/or sperm
from the intended parents are used, there can be an actual genetic
relationship to the child. In gestational surrogacies, embryos are
created outside the womb through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a critically
valuable innovation practiced at the more sophisticated medical centers.
Before implantation occurs, PGD can detect certain chromosomal
abnormalities in the embryo typically discovered mid-pregnancy.
Moreover, unlike in most adoptions, intended parents closely monitor the
health and progress of the pregnancy and birth. The carrier's
obligations and compensation are governed by contract, which provides a
distinct measure of security to all involved. In contrast with adoption,
the carrier in a surrogacy has significantly diminished to non-existent
parental rights once the baby is born.
How are surrogacies arranged?
A number of professionals work with the intended parents and carrier
to create a successful outcome. Social workers, psychologists,
physicians, and lawyers evaluate the carrier for suitability and make
appropriate matches with intended parents. Counseling is provided
throughout the process. Medical specialists are required for obtaining
the eggs and sperm, implanting the embryo(s) in the carrier, monitoring
the health of the pregnancy and delivering the baby. Lawyers are
required to negotiate egg donation and surrogacy agreements and prepare
other legal documents beginning from before conception and extending
until after the birth (if post-birth procedures are necessary). Please
NAFG to learn about our expert team.
Can the surrogate acquire legal custody to the child? What
about the Baby M case?
If the intended parents fulfill their contractual obligations, it
would be virtually impossible for a gestational carrier to acquire legal
custody after the birth. The surrogate has no genetic relation to the
child. In states where a pre-birth order can be obtained, the intended
parents appear on the original birth certificate. At other times, a
step-parent adoption takes place. NAFG conducts surrogacies only in
states favorable to such arrangements, with most applicable legal
agreements drafted and signed before fertilization and implantation
The Baby M case [109 N.J. 396, 537 A.2d 1227] (1988) was a
traditional surrogacy, in which Mary Beth Whitehead used her
own egg and was inseminated with the intended father's sperm. Unlike in
a gestational surrogacy, Whitehead was the genetic mother of the child.
The final ruling granted custody to the intended parents with visitation
rights for Whitehead, based on the best interests of the child. The
court refused to enforce the terms of the original contract.
Occasionally, a family member may volunteer to serve as a
traditional surrogate. The vast majority of NAFG's cases, however, will
involve gestational carriers.
See the How
Surrogacy Works page for more specific information on how our
surrogacy program works.
Is surrogacy legal everywhere?
Intended parents may live anywhere in the United States, and NAFG
will work with intended parents from all US states and a number of
countries overseas. However, since statutes and case law are different
in every state, carriers must reside in states where commercial
surrogacy is not prohibited. Massachusetts, where NAFG is based, has
become increasingly favorable to surrogacies, and represents one of the
best surrogacy options on the east coast. There are a number of other
states within the US where carriers may live as well. NAFG presents
intended parents with profiles of carriers from states where surrogate
pregnancies and births may occur.
Why would a woman choose to be a carrier?
A carrier provides a very special gift to a couple or individual
incapable of bearing children on their own. She is also compensated
financially for her time and effort, yet her heartfelt commitment to
help others is her primary motive. The ideal carrier is married (or in a
committed relationship), is raising at least one child, and does not
desire any more children of her own. Her family and friends are very
supportive of her choice to be a carrier.
Click here for our surrogacy
Candidates approach NAFG through mainstream media, word-of-mouth,
and a variety of other sources. All candidates are rigorously screened
medically and psychologically, and many aspects of their background are
thoroughly investigated. Our clients choose compatible carriers from the
profiles we provide. One of our social workers acts as liaison before,
during, and after the pregnancy. The carrier and intended parents meet
in person before the surrogacy proceeds. All parties must feel
completely comfortable with the arrangement before any medical
procedures take place.
Where can the medical procedures take place?
The participants decide, along with NAFG’s recommendations, on
a reputable IVF clinic that is conveniently located to the intended
parents, and/or donor and/or carrier. Travel may be required for some of
How long does the process take?
Because of the many variable components of the surrogacy
arrangement, the duration of each one is different. Much depends on the
availability of carriers, the success of the medical procedures, and a
host of other factors. A general time frame of one to two years from the
time you start with us to the time your baby is born would be an
How much does it cost?
The fee structure, like the time frame, varies for each case. For
example, the use of donor egg will cost more than the use of the intended
mother’s egg. Also, some carriers have greater expenses than
others, and fees for IVF procedures vary among facilities. Depending on
where the carrier lives, there may be travel costs to consider. An
average total of $110,000 to $150,000 would be reasonable to project for
intended parents considering surrogacy.
The fee structure breaks down as follows (these are estimates and
will vary with the scope of services you will require):
NAFG program fee: $25,500-$27,000
Carrier compensation: $40,000 to $45,000
Egg donor compensation: $10,000 for an NAFG donor (but no more than
$10,000)*; compensation varies for donors from other programs
Egg donor agency fee: approx. $3,500 to $6,000
Catastrophic liability insurance premium (if necessary): $8,000
IVF costs: approx. $15,000 to $30,000 (depending on whether donor
egg is used and other factors)
Negotiated private-pay prenatal and delivery expenses (if necessary): approx. $12,000 to $20,000
Travel: approx. $5,000
Legal services (including independent counsel for carrier): approx. $7,500
This general estimate contains a complete forecast of fees for all
components from start to finish (certain elements may not be applicable to your situation, however). It is payable in stages over a
12 to 18 month period.
NAFG Donor Egg Program Fees
NAFG Program Fee: $5,000 ($4,000 if part of NAFG’s Gestational
Administration Fee: $1,000
Egg Donor Fee: $10,000 (Under no circumstances are donors paid more than
Insurance: $180 - $325 premium (sometimes included in medical expenses)
Legal fees for donor and recipient: approx. $1,500
Expenses and travel: $0 - approx. $4,000 (depending on
circumstance/amount of travel required)
NAFG’s program and administration fees include the costs for
nationwide electronic and print donor marketing and outreach,
non-medical screening (including background checks), trust account
maintenance, scheduling and arranging appointments with medical and
other professionals, making travel arrangements, and general support for
both donors and recipients from our counseling staff. The fees are
non-refundable and due with the service agreement at the time of your
The fees listed above do not include medical tests and procedures, which
vary and are paid directly to the medical facilities involved. IVF costs
(including medical procedures, medication, and lab fees) can range from
$15,000 to $30,000.
*According to the American Society for Reproductive
Medicine's Ethics Committee guidelines published in 2000 and restated in
2007, egg donor compensation exceeding $10,000 is inappropriate. NAFG
shares this view. Under no circumstances are donors paid more than
$10,000. Donors are compensated for the time and effort required for the
process, not for their eggs. NAFG offers the highest amount allowed by
the ASRM in order to attract motivated, qualified egg donor candidates
from around the country.
Does insurance cover any costs?
In some cases, IVF procedures are covered. Separate medical insurance is
often purchased for the carrier as part of the fee.
Can single people or gay and lesbian couples/individuals use
Yes. NAFG supports the right of all people to have the families they
desire, irrespective of marital status or sexual orientation. In fact,
in many cases, surrogacy is the best option for single and gay people.
The laws in some states, however, are more restrictive than with
traditional married couples, so our team will take special care to
devise a plan that is right for you.
What is NAFG's policy on maintenance of records?
NAFG will endeavor to maintain, to the extent feasible, Donor/Carrier
identifying information and Recipient Parent/Intended Parent identifying
information for an indefinite period of time. When an Egg Donor
Agreement or Gestational Surrogacy Agreement governs the relationship
between the Parties, it customarily indicates instances when the
identities of the participants may and/or must be revealed. NAFG will do
its part to comply with the terms of these Agreements. The IVF clinics
involved and individual attorneys involved should also be considered a
resource when and if necessary.