The surrogacy process is taxing at every level for intended parent(s). While the emotional and mental impact is quite personal and immeasurable, the financial strain of surrogacy is more quantifiable and should be an area families are prepared to face at the outset. A new child’s arrival comes with an abundance of joy and an abundance of costs. For persons initiated into parenthood through surrogacy, the months (more often years) of waiting are often filled with more financial output for their future baby than most new parents experience. Setting clear expectations of the financial investment of surrogacy is vital to a successful and smooth surrogacy journey. 

Surrogacy Canada Online recommends a budget of at least $80,000 for a gestational surrogacy. The role of insurance varies by the individual provider and situation, but, in general, surrogacy expenses are not covered to any significant degree by insurers. Prenatal care costs are covered for Canadian surrogates, but items like clothing, food, and travel are above and beyond health care coverage. Experienced surrogates may request more expenses covered based on previous pregnancies (i.e. reimbursement for an all-organic food diet or enrolment in prenatal fitness classes). Every surrogate is different and understanding their specific needs and formalizing those in the surrogacy contract will help the intended parent(s) manage their budget. 

International intended parent(s) should pay particular attention to their costs as the Canadian national health care benefits will not wholly cover care for a baby with foreign citizen parents. While all parties hope for a healthy pregnancy, labour, and delivery, every child is unique and events such as premature birth or extended NICU stays are nearly impossible to anticipate. In the case of a NICU stay, the daily cost averages out to $10,000 per night. NICU costs are not covered for international parents under Canadian social security. While the majority do not, some insurance agencies offer extended coverage options for international parents, so this should be a factor to consider for foreign families participating in the Canadian surrogacy program. 

Another cost not typically considered by individuals new to the surrogacy process is budgeting for legal fees. Even the most idyllic of surrogacy arrangements benefit from some legal oversight to ensure all parties are protected and fully briefed on all of the legalese. Attorneys specializing in surrogacy law are well-versed in current practices within their province. Legal fees can climb to approximately $10,000 and above for the entire process.  

So much of the surrogacy process occurs before a child is born that many intended parent(s) are unclear on the steps taken after the delivery. In the flurry of activity and emotion surrounding a new baby, having an attorney retained to assist with the post-delivery process can be a huge help to new parents. The birth registration process, for example, varies slightly by province so it is worthwhile to have an attorney oversee this step. Post-delivery, the surrogate relinquishes custody of the child to the intended parent(s) pursuant to the surrogacy contract. The surrogate must give written consent to surrender the child to the intended parents shortly following birth. Again, an attorney can help to secure the consent and any other province-specific registration documents. 

As with all aspects of the surrogacy process, a transparent approach is by far the best one. The financial aspect is no exception. Budgeting in any area of life can be daunting. Budgeting for a long-wanted baby carries added emotional weight that can feel especially overwhelming. The best course for intended parent(s), is to clearly identify the expense buckets for each stage of the surrogacy process. From there, a family can decide whether their financial health matches their parental ambitions now or in the future.

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