Altruistic surrogacy in Australia: how much does it cost?
Australian intended parents are always keen to know how much surrogacy will cost them. There are so many variables that depend on individual circumstances, so it can be hard to give an exact answer to that question. Intended Parents should expect to cover the expenses incurred by the surrogate and her partner in relation to the surrogacy arrangement, pregnancy and birth. Read more about surrogacy laws in your State to find out how they affect you.
If you are new to surrogacy in Australia, you can find out more about the processes and how it works, which includes a downloadable step-by-step guide. And make sure to download the free Surrogacy Handbook.
Sarah is a surrogate and a surrogacy lawyer, and has written a comprehensive surrogacy guide, More Than Just a Baby: A Guide to Surrogacy for Intended Parents and Surrogates, which you can purchase in digital or hard copy.
You can expect the surrogacy in Australia will cost anywhere from $15,000 to over $100,000. The major variable is the cost fertility treatment, which will depend on what sort of treatment you require, and the success of any treatment and when the surrogate falls pregnant.
The cost may seem overwhelming and out of reach for many. The expenses are not incurred all at once, and depending on your situation may be incurred over several years. Some are payable before conception, others during pregnancy, and others incurred after the birth.
Surrogacy is altruistic, which means surrogates are not paid in Australia. They should not be out of pocket for surrogacy-related expenses, but they do not receive a payment, fee, reward or material benefit for being a surrogate.
The costs you can expect will include:
Fertility treatment– this will depend on how many cycles are required, whether donor eggs or sperm are required, and the success of the treatment. Medicare rebates are not available for surrogacy arrangements and this will impact in different ways.
Legal Advice – Lawyers’ fees might be an hourly rate, or a fixed fee. Lawyer fees vary considerably and depend on a number of factors, including whether you need a written agreement. You should compare quotes beforehand, and seek out lawyers who specialise in surrogacy law. Intended parents need to cover the cost of their own legal advice as well as that of their surrogate and her partner.
Counselling and Psychological Assessments – some fertility clinics provide counselling as part of their service. For the most part, however, counselling and psychological assessments are provided by independent counsellors specialising in surrogacy.
Pregnancy and Birth – Surrogates are eligible for Medicare and public healthcare, just as if they were having their own baby. Medical costs that are not covered by Medicare need to be covered by the intended parents. This includes private health insurance, private healthcare and hospital fees as appropriate. It also includes medication and treatments that might be required during the pregnancy and birth.
Parentage Order – After the baby is born, the intended parents need to apply to Court for a Parentage Order to recognise them as the legal parents and to change the Birth Certificate. This can involve lawyers, and further counselling. Sarah can help you DIY the Parentage Order application, which saves on expenses.
Other costs that might be payable, depending on the State legislation and individual circumstances, include:
- travel costs (fuel, parking fees, train tickets) for the surrogate and her partner to attend for treatment, or for pregnancy appointments;
- life insurance for the surrogate;
- loss of income for the surrogate and her partner for days they need to take off for appointments related to surrogacy, pregnancy and birth;
- allied health treatment such as massage, naturopathy and acupuncture for the surrogate;
- pre-natal supplements.
You can check out this more detailed list of surrogacy costs including a downloadable template for you to use with your team to plan and budget ahead.
If you are a woman considering becoming a surrogate, you can access a free initial consult with me to discuss the processes and what to expect.
Many Australians travel overseas for surrogacy. You can find out more about international surrogacy options. You can also book in for a consult with Sarah below to discuss your particular circumstances.
Sarah practices surrogacy and donor conception (‘family creation’ law) across Australia, from her home in Melbourne. She is the only lawyer practising exclusively in family creation law in Australia, and has person experience as an egg donor and as a surrogate.