The Financial Relationship in Surrogacy

The financial aspect of surrogacy is an important one, as if this is not well managed it can lead to friction, resentment and breakdown in the relationship between Intended Parents and Surrogate.

Surrogacy related expenses are anything that the Surrogate or her family wouldn’t have needed, or needed to do, were it not for the surrogacy or the pregnancy. Different states have different definitions of what “reasonable expenses” are so it’s always a good idea to check with your lawyer what the legal definitions are for your state, so everyone has clear expectations about what can and can’t or will or won’t be included.

In working out a system to manage the payment of the Surrogate’s surrogacy related expenses, it is best to use one that does not involve the Surrogate using her own money, as this can cause stress on her family budget. Invoices can be addressed to the Intended Parents, or paid at the time of the appointment by phone. A credit card or debit card can be provided to the Surrogate and is also a good way of keeping records. Any costs that are paid for by the Surrogate should be reimbursed promptly by the Intended Parents. An agreed system that everyone feels comfortable with should be in place for how incidental expenses are managed eg can the Surrogate spend up to $100 without asking the Intended Parents, does she need to ask them before buying anything, or can she just buy what she needs and keep the receipt? An agreed system for managing Medicare or private health care claims should also be discussed. The Surrogate should keep all receipts and provide them to the Intended Parents for record keeping.

The Intended Parents should avoid complaining about how much surrogacy costs to the Surrogate or telling the Surrogate about any financial stress they are experiencing as a result of the surrogacy. Surrogates tend to be very giving people who are motivated to help others. Hearing about how expensive surrogacy is could make it difficult for her to ask for things she really needs or make her inclined to bear minor costs herself. Hearing that the Intended Parents are under financial stress while she is pregnant may make her have doubts about whether she will be supported. Intended Parents should carefully consider all potential costs before entering into surrogacy so they can be confident they can afford it, without short-changing their Surrogate or putting themselves at risk.

Things such as cleaners, pregnancy massage, help with preparing meals, or child care for a night off are sometimes in dispute as to whether they are a surrogacy related cost or potentially a benefit, and some state legislations are stricter than others on whether they can be provided by the Intended Parents. Yes, the Surrogate would have needed to clean her house, feed her family and care for her children anyway, but she wouldn’t be finding it so hard except that she is pregnant. It is good to have a discussion about these things up front so that expectations are clear. If the legislation does not allow for the Intended Parents to pay for a cleaner, or if it is agreed that one will not be provided, then who will help the Surrogate out if she is sick or in the later stages of pregnancy and struggling? Who will care for her kids or cook her a meal if she needs a break? If the Surrogate used pregnancy massage or physio or yoga during her previous pregnancies, she is likely to need to use them during this pregnancy too.

The Intended Parents may wish to anticipate the Surrogate’s needs, rather than waiting for her to ask for things eg she is pregnant and starting to show – take her shopping or tell her to go and buy some maternity clothes, don’t wait for her to ask; when you ask her how she is feeling and she says her back is aching – book her a pregnancy massage; she is sick and exhausted – organise some childcare or a night off cooking. Don’t just rely on saying “Let us know if you need anything” as many Surrogates will try to do without. Most Surrogates are motivated to help their Intended Parents keep their costs low, but this should not be at their own expense or by going without what they need. For the Intended Parents - if it was you, or your partner who was pregnant, what would you do? How would you like to be looked after?

Work out in advance and agree between you what are reasonable and likely expenses using the list below as a guideline. Obviously not everything can be predicted, so there needs to be a buffer in case of unforeseen events. Intended Parents should make estimates of what things will cost so they can factor this into their budget. If the Surrogate knows that these things have been considered, then this is reassuring for her, knowing that her needs will be met, so she can have a relaxed and stress free pregnancy.

List of Potential Surrogacy Related Expenses:

IVF Clinic

  • will depend on number of conception attempts
  • may include medication, supplements and tests


  • Pre-Surrogacy and for Parentage Order


  • Formal - Pre-Surrogacy and for Parentage Order
  • Supportive - During pregnancy, post surrogacy or mediation

Ultrasounds and other investigations

Travel Expenses

  • Travel to all surrogacy related appointments before, during and after pregnancy and birth
  • May include fares, petrol, parking, accommodation, meal allowance

Medications, Vitamins, Supplements etc

  • Before, during and after pregnancy and birth
  • Pregnancy Tests etc
  • Removal / Replacement of Contraceptive

Maternity Clothing and needs

  • Bras, clothing or birthing outfit
  • Breast or sanitary pads
  • Breast pump if planning to express

Medical / Hospital for Pregnancy and Birth Care

  • Obstetrician, GP or Specialist Care
  • Theatre fees
  • Accommodation
  • Tests and medications
  • Midwife, Doula, Lactation Consultant


  • To attend surrogacy related appointments
  • For birth and recovery
  • If Surrogate is unwell or needs a break


  • Private Health or gap payment to top up level of cover
  • Life /Disability Insurance – ensure it covers birth and pregnancy
  • Income protection insurance (also available for stay at home mums) – ensure it covers birth or pregnancy

Lost wages

  • Time off work for appointments, birth, recovery, illness
  • Reimbursement of sick leave or other leave taken

Pregnancy Wellbeing

  • Massage
  • Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, Acupuncture etc
  • Pregnancy Yoga or fitness classes

Meals or Food

  • Special food or drink eg if severe morning sickness
  • Take-away food or meal support if unwell or tired

Photographer / Videographer

  • Birth or pregnancy shoot