Surrogacy in the United States ranges from approximately $100,000 - $180,000 and, unfortunately, the cost goes up each year. In no way do I think having a baby is not worth that much money, but I do think it's a significant amount of money the average couple most likely cannot afford. The last thing our child needs is bankrupt parents! The India option offers us an alternative as surrogacy in India begins at approximately $20,000. In addition to travel expenses, in most surrogacy cases, there are often additional charges to also consider, such as cesarean sections, twins, amniocentesis...
As many are aware, approximately eight months ago we began our hard core research of clinics for surrogacy. We knew India was an option but thought of it more as a backup and focused our search on U.S. based clinics. We met with two well known, reputable agencies based in Boston that work with IPs worldwide.
Circle Surrogacy is the bigger of the two clinics and is very impressive due to the virtually unlimited resources they have to offer IPs. These resources and impressive success rates demand a higher premium than other clinics - $75,000.00+. It was easy for us to get enamored by their grandeur but we were not able to move beyond seemingly justifiable prices we couldn't imagine being able to afford.
When we met with Jan Lee, the Director of the National Exchange for Egg Donation & Surrogacy (NEEDS), we were immediately attracted to her tremendous heart and professionalism. Although NEEDS doesn't have the sizable forces behind Circle Surrogacy, their staff is a small army of miracle workers that deliver the unconditional support and experience needed to navigate the stresses and emotional roller coaster of surrogacy. Each of the references we spoke with couldn't speak of Jan and NEEDS highly enough. Regrettably, though NEEDS' fees were less than Circle's, it was still a bit too much for us at this time in our lives. Had cost not been an issue for us, we would very likely be working with Jan at NEEDS.
Surrogacy in India is a much more cost effective option for us. There are also other countries developing surrogacy programs that cater to Western couples, such as Thailand, Russia, Ukraine.... It is obviously not for everyone as it requires a very big leap of faith and patience. I openly admit that it took me a long time to warm up to the idea, but now that we are committed to the process, I am very excited!