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If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, you may be wondering how soon you’ll get paid for your contribution. Surrogate payments are determined by key factors, such as scheduling and availability, a mutually agreed upon contract (or finalizing your contractual agreement), and your agency’s benefit policies.

Surrogate compensation is typically distributed throughout the pregnancy, following your surrogacy contract’s outlined schedule. Your payments are generally made once legal contracts have been finalized and signed by both parties.

Base payment will start after pregnancy confirmation, but most agencies will have a monthly allowance that starts prior and specific milestone bonuses that are given before confirmation. The final payment is often made post-delivery, recognizing the completion of your end of the agreement when you’ve given the intended parents the joy of life.

Below, we’ll cover what to expect as part of your surrogacy compensation and the various factors that may affect your payment timeline.

3 Key Compensation Stages Throughout Your Surrogacy Journey

1. Signing the Initial Agreement

Signing the Gestational Surrogacy Agreement is the ‘I do’s of your surrogacy journey, marking a shared commitment after initial matchmaking and consultations. This includes a detailed surrogacy contract outlining clear compensation terms, what you’re entitled to in terms of payment and a payment schedule. This contract ensures that the financial aspects of your surrogacy journey are transparent and agreed upon by all parties, setting clear expectations and responsibilities.

2. Pregnancy Milestones

Each surrogate’s experience is unique but generally follows some typical milestones. Your compensation aligns with these significant steps, from comprehensive medical and psychological assessments to regular check-ups. Payment typically begins once the surrogacy contracts are signed to support you throughout each phase, including the critical stages of embryo transfer and prenatal care.

3. Delivery and Postpartum

Childbirth is not only a significant emotional and physical event but also a key financial milestone for surrogates. Typically, the last compensation payment is made after the successful delivery of the baby. However, for some surrogates, there might be additional compensation post-delivery. For example, if you agree to pump and ship breast milk (if you are a long distance from the intended parents), you may receive further compensation.

A surrogate in a yellow shirt and jeans sits, holding her back and belly, next to her intended parents.

Breakdown of a Surrogacy Compensation Structure

Your agreement will outline several key financial components of your surrogacy in detail to ensure you feel supported and valued for your contribution. Depending on your surrogacy contract, this may include all or some of the following:

  • Base Compensation: A pre-agreed sum paid to the surrogate, typically in installments throughout the pregnancy. This amount can vary significantly based on the surrogate’s experience, geographic location and specific agreement terms.
  • Medical and Related Expenses: To ensure your health and well-being, all medical procedures, prenatal care and other health-related costs are covered during your surrogacy. This includes doctor visits, hospital stays, ultrasounds and specialized medical care.
  • Maternity Clothing Allowance: Many contracts include a specific budget allocated for maternity clothes, often given at a particular stage of pregnancy, usually around the second trimester.
  • Travel Expenses: You’ll receive compensation for travel related to medical appointments, including mileage, flights (if necessary), hotel accommodations and meals for out-of-town visits.
  • Childcare and Housekeeping Allowances: If you have children, you may receive a stipend for childcare services during your medical appointments. Or for housekeeping assistance, especially in cases where you’re prescribed bed rest.
  • Lost Wages Compensation: If your commitment to surrogacy impacts your work, you’ll be compensated for lost wages.
  • Multiple Pregnancy Compensation: Additional compensation is typically provided if you carry more than one fetus (e.g., twins or triplets).
  • C-Section Compensation: In cases requiring a cesarean section, you may receive extra compensation due to the increased recovery time and risk.
  • Postpartum Recovery Allowance: Following the birth, your recovery may be supported with allowances covering meals, childcare post-delivery, rest and recovery needs, and any other necessary medical follow-ups.
  • Breast Milk Pumping Compensation: If you agree to pump and provide breast milk post-delivery, you may receive additional compensation for this service and coverage for related supplies.

A surrogate mother sits at a desk looking at an agreement with a woman in professional attire guiding her through the terms.

Legal and Contractual Aspects to Consider

Legal agreements in surrogacy shape the foundation of trust between you and your intended parents. These agreements ensure that all parties have a mutual understanding of their responsibilities and rights as well as the financial aspects of surrogacy.

Certain surrogacy-related expenses may qualify for tax deductions, so consult with a tax professional to understand any potential benefits.

Compensation Structure in Surrogacy Contracts

Your compensation details are specifically outlined in your surrogacy contracts, which include the amount, frequency and conditions under which payments are made. These contracts are essential for setting clear financial expectations and obligations.

Get Expert Guidance on Your Surrogacy Compensation 

Open and honest communication is essential, especially regarding financial matters. Engaging in transparent discussions with your intended parents and surrogacy agency builds trust and understanding, ensuring a harmonious experience for everyone involved.

Your surrogacy compensation is more than your base payment; it encompasses everything — medical expenses, allowances for maternity wear, travel and even additional support post-delivery in some cases.

At Joy of Life, we’re committed to guiding and supporting you through every step of your surrogacy journey. We strive for transparency by clearly outlining all compensation benefits, empowering you to know when and what you are being compensated for.

If you’re ready to share the gift of life and receive some of the highest compensation in California, apply to become a surrogate mother today.

Joy Millan

Author Joy Millan

I’m Joy, the founder and CEO of Joy of Life. With a professional background as a fertility clinician, I’ve spent thousands of hours working with surrogates and intended parents alike. As a mother of two, I often wished for more support and a deeper commitment to care for those embarking on non-traditional family-building journeys. This is why I established Joy of Life: to create a more robust, compassionate experience in parenthood for both parties involved with surrogacy. In 2021, I stepped back from daily operations at Joy of Life to fight cancer. Fortunately, the combined 20 years of experience from our incredible team has allowed me to focus on my health & recovery. I continue to provide company guidance and serve as the head liaison for our network of doctors, clinicians and caregivers.

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