Taking the decision to pursue a surrogacy arrangement, whether commercial or altruistic often requires a substantial financial investment.
At the time of writing this article, prices for surrogacy programmes in Ukraine vary significantly, ranging from 36.000€ and up to almost double this at 60.000€.
So why is there such a different in price? How is this money used? Is it possible to stay in control of the amount you pay?
To do this, we must first understand what you are paying for:
Whether it’s a clinic or an agency, it is difficult to start a surrogacy programme overseas without their assistance. Clinics will often offer a fully integrated package which covers all costs and includes a certain number of attempts, assistance and sometimes accommodation for the intended parents.
Agencies tend to work in 2 ways: They can help you find a clinic, make the introductions and recieve a commission when you sign up for the package – with more reliable and serious agencies continuing to accompany and support you during your program at that clinic.
And the approach is the agency will put you in touch with all the essential elements or services you need for your programme and will take charge of the organisation and follow-up until you return home with your child. The latter is the model that Nest & Co is based on (read more about our role here).
2) Fertility clinics:
Before the Ukrainian state officially authorised the practice of commercial surrogacy, clinics primarily offered traditional assisted reproduction services such as in vitro fertilization. When the Ukrainian Ministry of Health finally established a clear legal framework for international intending parents in 2013, they logically started surrogacy programs through agencies. It should be noted that clinics are not actually allowed to remunerate donors or surrogates, so they do this through agencies. The work of the clinics is limited to forming embryos during IVF and monitoring pregnancies.
3) Donor and Surrogate agencies :
These agencies are the ones who will recruit and organise the medical follow-up and payment of donors and gestational carriers. They can be part of the fertility clinic but under a different legal structure or be completely independent and paid by one or more clinics.
4) Lawyers or legal representatives:
Their main task is on one hand to sign the surrogacy or child carrying contract on your behalf with your surrogate mother unless you can be there to do so and on the other hand, they will assist you at the civil registry office in order to get your child’s birth certificate and any documents you require for obtaining your baby’s passport.
They can of course also represent you in the event of a dispute with your clinic or agency, but for this, this person must be independent. When you take an “all-inclusive” pack, the legal part is usually covered, meaning that the clinic or the agency will assign you a person who, very often is not even a lawyer and who will represent you in administrative procedures but under no circumstances can this person represent your interests in the event of a dispute.
5) Maternity hospitals:
There are three hospitals in Kiev which are private and have a good level of medical competence but the same rules apply; it is mainly the updated decoration or the possibility of having staff who speak languages other than Russian or Ukrainian that will make the price difference.
Its also worth noting that many of the private hospitals are not actually fully equipped to deal with major complications or long stays – so in cases of preterm births its highly likely that babies will be born or later be transferred to one of the larger public hospitals which have more resources.
6) The gestational carrier
She is evidently the most important person in your journey.
Her treatment, her remuneration, her psychological support and her medical follow-up will depend enormously on the agency which manages her and it is on these different aspects that the clinics through their agencies will be able to save money ; them, not you!
Despite the fact that surrogacy is a common practice in Ukraine, bad practices remain:
Low salaries (less than € 15,000), no signing of a child carrying contract with the intended parents, payment only at the end of pregnancies or even housing 3 or 4 surrogates toegther in low-end apartments before the birth, are very common ways that agencies / clinics will use to make more money.
Many clinics completely prohibit you from having contact with your surrogate. This is supposedly to protect you, but in reality it only serves to hide from you these unfair and even inhumane practices of certain clincis which we know have transferred a large number of embryos to ensure a positive pregnancy (and therefore the payment of a new installment on your part) and then proceed to perform an embryonic reduction, detrimenting the health of the woman who will bear your child.
We know that the main criteria in choosing a program is the budget, but at Nest & Co, we also know that the psychological impact of having used surrogacy to start your family will be positive if you know that the experience for the person who carried your child was also positive.
So how do you control your budget and be sure that the money you pay is going where it should go?
We propose to pay each service in your program directly. This will ensure the seriousness of each other’s services and reassure your surrogate who will develop self-confidence which will be very positive during pregnancy. And whatsmore, you will never pay for services or steps in advance (read more about ‘smart contracts’ here).
Below we leave you with some example costs of what to expect when researching your surrogacy programme:
• Agencies / clinics to manage your program:
From 5,000 € to more than 20,000 € (when you take a package)
from 4000 € (with own oocytes)
• Payment to your surrogate:
Between € 13,000 and € 18,000 (more in some cases)
• Logistics related to your surrogate (travel, accommodation, medical analyses, support):
From 2000 € to 6000 €
• Logistics related to care of parents during trip to Ukraine:
From 1000 € to 3000 €
• Legal expenses:
Between 1500 € and 4000 € (depending on the specifics of your exit process)