One of the most interesting statistics from the COVID-19 pandemic is that the lockdowns and rise of remote work led to more couples seriously considering having children. However, pregnancy may be too difficult or impossible for some couples, leading many to opt for adoption or surrogacy.

But neither option is cheap and often includes tedious paperwork, time, and patience, making it often a “one or the other” decision couples have to face when planning financially for a baby. So which is more economical, adopting a child or using a surrogate?

How surrogacy works

Surrogacy is an increasingly popular way couples and individuals build their families. It is a process in which a woman carries and gives birth to a child for another person or couple. Surrogacy can be gestational or traditional, depending on the type of arrangement. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother has no genetic link to the baby, as the egg and sperm come from the intended parents or donors. With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is genetically related to the baby.

It is important to understand the legal requirements of surrogacy before entering into an arrangement. Each state has its own laws, so it is essential to review the regulations in your state. Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that all parties involved are legally protected and that a legal contract is in place.


A report by PBS showed that the average American couple could expect to pay anywhere from $120,000 – $200,000 for surrogacy. Depending on where you live and the arrangement you have with the surrogate, different types of surrogacy expenses will need to be budgeted for, including:

  • Fertility treatments: These can range from $10,000 to $15,000 but are often covered by insurance.
  • Travel: Surrogates may need to travel for screening procedures, prenatal appointments, delivery, and postnatal care. This can add up to hundreds of dollars each way.
  • Medical fees: Couples should expect to pay for obstetrician and gynecologist services and any tests or surgeries required for the pregnancy.
  • Loss of wages: Most surrogates will need time off work to care for their baby during the early weeks and months after birth. This can cost them wages they would have earned during that time.

How adoption works

Adoption is the act of legally taking responsibility for a minor child who is not biologically your own. Adopting a child can be complicated and time-consuming, but it can be rewarding in the long run, as many children in the foster system are looking for a loving home.


The “Creating a Family” organization estimates 2023 adoption costs to range between $5,000 – $40,000 for domestic adoption, with the majority falling between $10,000 – $20,000. International adoptions can run anywhere from $20,000 – $50,000.

  • Agency fees: Many adoption agencies charge an upfront cost and monthly fees for the duration of the adoption.
  • Legal fees: There are often legal costs associated with adopting a child, such as attorney and court costs.
  • Travel: You will need to budget for airfare, hotels, and other expenses related to traveling to meet your adopted child.
  • Documentation: You will likely need to purchase birth certificates, immunization records, and other documents related to your adopted child’s care.

So which option is cheaper in 2023?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this because each method of adding to your family can have so many variables. While surrogacy may seem expensive initially, the added costs of travel, legal fees, and other expenses for legal adoption can quickly skyrocket well above surrogacy. The biggest questions you should answer when deciding this are:

  • Do you need to have a biological connection to the child?
  • What’s your ultimate budget for a new family member?
  • How does either option work within that budget?

The more precise you are with your requirements and budget, the more likely you’ll have a new addition to your family in no time.

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Contact Information:

Name: Michael Bertini
Email: [email protected]
Job Title: Consultant

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