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How Much Does Surrogacy Cost With A Family Member?

The Marble Team

How Much Does Surrogacy Cost With A Family Member?

Family Law
| 5 min
7 minutes

Surrogacy is an expensive business. After some research, you’ll likely arrive at a figure that starts at $100,000 once all the costs are factored in. Many prospective parents consider adoption as a less expensive option given the size of that number: perhaps between $20,000 and $50,000 depending on your circumstances. Those figures for surrogacy and adoption are admittedly high - but you can’t put a price on the love and joy that a child brings to your family. 

The highest cost of surrogacy is the fee paid to the surrogate mother who carries the child for nine months. If you’re in the fortunate position to have a close family member carry the baby for you - a sister, cousin, mother, daughter, or sister-in-law, for example - then you may be able to reduce the overall cost of your surrogacy immensely.

However, even if your family member agrees to act as a surrogate for a reduced fee, or even for free, you’ll still incur significant expenses. Accordingly, let’s take a closer look at the costs associated with surrogacy and how much you can potentially save if a family member does help you out.


Laws Surrounding Surrogacy and Family Members in Arizona

Parents intending to use surrogacy in Arizona should be clear on one point from the get-go: surrogacy is unlawful in the state. That means that if you draw up a surrogacy contract in Arizona, it’s legally unenforceable. The laws also mean that the surrogate mother - and her husband, if she’s married - are presumed to be the legal birth parents, even if she’s carrying a baby that isn’t genetically related to her.

Although surrogacy is deemed illegal in Arizona, some of the laws around it are a grey area. As an example, if both awaiting parents are genetically related to the child, then you can likely secure a pre-birth parenting order that ensures your baby is recognized as yours and passed over. You may also be able to get this order if only one parent is genetically related to the child, although this may depend on the judge and the county. If neither of you is related to the child, you can’t get a pre-birth order.

All the above rules apply even if you use a family member for surrogacy. But for peace of mind on all sides, it’s a good idea to check out all the legalities with a professional before you proceed.


What Decides Surrogacy Prices

When you’re considering surrogacy, there are all sorts of elements that contribute to the final price. For starters, you’re looking at medical and hospital charges, agency fees, legal costs, health insurance, and other miscellaneous expenses like travel. And that’s before you even think about compensation for the mother.

Many different factors determine the overall cost of surrogacy, so let’s now look at some of them in more depth.


Compensation To The Surrogate Mother

This is the big one. The price charged by a mother for surrogacy varies from state to state, but a figure of around $35,000 is often quoted as the assumed rate. With a close family member to carry your child, however, you may be able to avoid this cost altogether.

Still, even if your family member does agree to be a surrogate, you should consider making some sort of gesture or payment to thank them for their efforts, kindness, and selflessness.


Legal Requirements and Obligations

From a legal perspective, there’s little point in drawing up a surrogacy contract in Arizona because it isn’t enforceable. However, it’s still worth seeking professional legal advice to ensure that everyone’s on the same page.

As ever, the exact cost of legal fees varies from case to case, but budgeting between $10,000 and $20,000 is a sensible course of action. You may also find that you can avoid specific fees - like screening - because you’re working with a family member.


Demand For Surrogacy

As with any service, the laws of supply and demand apply to surrogacy. Thus in states where surrogacy is popular, you’ll probably find that charges are higher.

You could find a surrogate out of state who is much less expensive, but remember that you may end up spending a lot more on travel, plus any distance will make regular contact much more difficult during the pregnancy.


State-By-State Differences

Because surrogacy is illegal in Arizona, some couples look to go out-of-state. This choice brings additional practical, financial, and legal considerations with it, but at least it means you can sign a legally binding surrogacy contract.

Somewhat surprisingly, there are no federal laws on surrogacy, so legislation differs from state to state - and even from county to county. Essentially, there are five categories of state: (1) states like California that are super surrogacy-friendly, (2) states like Utah that are mostly surrogacy-friendly, (3) states like Wyoming where you should proceed with a degree of caution, (4) states like Arizona where you should proceed with extreme caution, and (5) states like Michigan that are staunchly anti-surrogacy.

It goes without saying that whichever state you choose, you should familiarize yourself with the local legislation, ideally by seeking professional legal advice.


Keep Things Fair With the Mediation Of A Family Lawyer

Everyone’s heard stories of where a surrogate mother changes her mind and decides to keep the baby. Such a scenario can even happen where a family member is a surrogate. That’s why it’s so important to seek professional advice from a family lawyer, ensuring that everyone knows where they stand legally.

But that’s not the only reason why professional advice is so essential. You’re making a substantial financial and emotional investment with surrogacy, so you must do things the right way. An experienced family attorney can help you do just that by providing expert support, guidance, and counsel.


The Bottom Line

Even when you’re using a family member for surrogacy, it still makes sense to ensure that everyone involved is clear about their rights and responsibilities. So, for expert, friendly, professional advice, contact the team at Marble: we can help with all your legal, practical, and procedural questions around surrogacy.


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