Surrogacy has become an increasingly popular method for individuals or couples to have a child when they are unable to do so naturally. Surrogates play a crucial role in this process, carrying and delivering a child on behalf of the intended parents. However, like any pregnancy, there is always a risk of miscarriage. This raises the question: do surrogates still get paid if they have a miscarriage?
In this article, we will explore the various aspects of gestational surrogacy and miscarriage, including using surrogate qualifications to decrease the likelihood of miscarriage, surrogate compensation, the legal and financial agreements surrounding surrogacy, and the payment of surrogates in the event of a miscarriage or failed embryo transfer. By examining these factors, we can gain a better understanding of the rights and compensation of surrogates facing such a devastating loss.
Are miscarriages common in surrogacy?
A miscarriage (also referred to as a early pregnancy loss) is when the fetus does not survive past the 20th week of pregnancy, resulting in an overall loss of the pregnancy. According to recent research, about 10% of clinically recognized pregnancies and approximately 25% of total pregnancies end in miscarriage.
However, miscarriages are less common in surrogacies because it is a highly controlled and monitored environment in which the pregnant woman receives consistent obstetric care and is chosen specifically for her likelihood of carrying a child to term.
Most of the pregnancies that end in miscarriage in a non-surrogacy environment are because the woman did not realize she was pregnant in the first place and did not necessarily take the right steps to ensure that she could carry the baby to term. On the other hand, in a surrogacy the entire point is to produce a viable and healthy pregnancy, both via selection of the surrogate mother and the ongoing care she receives, so miscarriages are less common.
Why are surrogate requirements important for avoiding miscarriages?
It is possible to decrease the likelihood of a miscarriage by implementing surrogate requirements when choosing a potential gestational carrier. That’s because these requirements are specifically designed to identify and select women who are the best possible candidates for carrying a pregnancy to full term and delivering a healthy baby.
For instance, there are several factors that can make a miscarriage more likely, including maternal age and a body mass index (BMI) that is too low or too high. As a result, most surrogacy agencies will require potential surrogate mothers to be a certain age, fall within an optimal BMI range, and even have one successful pregnancy with no major complications.
If these requirements are not met, then a potential surrogate mother can be disqualified. By implementing these qualifications, miscarriages can become less common in the surrogacy process.
How does surrogate compensation work?
While being a surrogate mother is certainly selfless, noble, and commendable, it’s still important to remember that it is a job. The surrogate mother is providing a service and the intended parents must value her time, work, and effort. Make no mistake: being pregnant is hard work, and any woman who decides to become a surrogate must always be fairly compensated. The way that surrogate compensation breaks down is that actually is comprised of a few different types of payment:
This is just like a salary at any other kind of job: it’s a flat rate that’s negotiated and agreed before the process even begins and is then explicitly stated in the surrogacy contract. In other words, the precise amount of the base salary has been finalized before the embryo is even transferred to the surrogate.
These are “extra” forms of compensation that are added to the base salary. Every pregnancy is different, and there are lots of variables that can potentially make the pregnancy more difficult or even dangerous. As a result, it’s commonly accepted that the surrogate gets paid more if this happens. These bonuses can include things like maternity clothes, lost wages, miscellaneous supplies, and so on.
Throughout the course of the surrogacy journey, the surrogate is not supposed to pay for anything that’s related to the pregnancy and/or surrogacy. It’s basically like having work expenses at a conventional job – the company will pay for any expenses incurred during the course of working.
These covered expenses include:
- Medical costs, including those not covered by health insurance (like co-pays).
- Travel to and from treatments, clinics, or doctors’ offices.
- Medical supplies, including medications and prenatal vitamins.
- Individual or group counseling to help during the surrogacy journey.
- All legal fees, including drafting the surrogacy contract.
In most cases, the surrogates are paid per milestone along with their regular paycheck. This means that as the surrogacy journey progresses, the surrogate will get paid for reaching the next step, as in a successful embryo transfer or progressing from the first trimester to the second.
How much do surrogates get paid?
The average surrogate pay can be anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000. However, this is only for the base salary – it does not include the additional forms of compensation.
However, if you include all the other forms of compensation, that total pay could jump to as high as $70,000 to $90,000.
The final amount will depend on a few key factors, including the:
- Rates and benefits package of the surrogacy agency.
- Surrogate’s experience.
- Surrogate’s state of residence.
- Surrogate’s health insurance.
Not all surrogacy agencies offer a great base salary, and some may offer a decent salary but skimp on the bonuses and benefits package or vice-versa. If you’re looking to become a gestational surrogate, try to find a surrogacy agency that offers both a competitive base salary and a generous benefits package.
Additionally, just like any other job, average base salaries in certain states are higher than in others. In most cases, they’re highest in surrogacy-friendly states like California, Oregon, Texas, North Carolina, Washington, and Florida due to the tremendous demand for surrogates in these states.
Finally, the compensation amount may also be affected by the health insurance coverage and if that particular policy covers maternal care.
How can surrogacy contracts help avoid potential issues?
Also known as a gestational carrier agreement (GCA) or assisted reproductive agreement, a surrogacy contract is a legally binding agreement between the various parties in gestational surrogacy. In other words, it mediates the expectations and requirements of the intended parents and the gestational carrier. However, surrogacy laws in some states require that the surrogate’s spouse or partner also sign the contract.
That’s why surrogacy contracts are so important: it’s a legally binding agreement that specifies the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of both intended parents and surrogates. It also protects all parties in the surrogacy process and establishes contingency plans in case of complications.
Since miscarriages are a fairly common complication in any kind of pregnancy, any proper surrogacy contract will go over what’s expected and what must be done in the event that the surrogate miscarries. This will include provisions that address how compensation is handled in the event of a miscarriage. These provisions may vary depending on the specific terms agreed upon by the surrogate and intended parents, so it is important for all parties to communicate openly and honestly throughout the surrogacy journey to ensure a fair and supportive experience for everyone involved.
These provisions may vary depending on the specific terms agreed upon by the surrogate and intended parents. It is important for all parties to communicate openly and honestly throughout the surrogacy journey to ensure a fair and supportive experience for everyone involved.
Do surrogates still get paid if they miscarry?
In most cases, yes. But only partially.
Let’s revisit the notion of “milestones” that we discussed above. Surrogates are paid per milestone that they successfully pass, so if the surrogacy journey is unfortunately cut short due to a miscarriage, then they will not receive the full amount that was specified in the surrogacy contract.
However, surrogates typically receive compensation for the services they’ve already provided regardless of whether they miscarry or not. The decision to compensate a surrogate is based on the time, effort, and commitment they have put into the surrogacy process, rather than the outcome of the pregnancy. In other words, if the surrogate was pregnant for two months and then unfortunately had a miscarriage, she will still be paid for those two months. She will also not have to pay any expenses related to those two months of pregnancy.
This means that surrogates do not typically get paid the whole amount if they miscarry. While surrogacy contracts may vary depending on the specific terms agreed upon between the surrogate and intended parents, it is common for surrogates to receive compensation based on fulfilling their contractual obligations, which includes carrying the pregnancy to term and delivering a healthy baby.
Therefore, in the unfortunate event of a miscarriage, it is highly unlikely that the surrogate will receive full compensation or any additional payment. But they will still get paid for the work that they’ve already done, including any milestones they may have hit and the amount of time they were pregnant.
Do surrogates still get paid for a failed embryo transfer?
Yes, but only partially. It’s pretty much the same scenario as with surrogate compensation and miscarriages.
Remember that surrogates get paid per milestone, so if they have a failed embryo transfer then they will be paid for every milestone that they hit prior. Of course, in the gestational surrogacy process, there aren’t many milestones that come before the embryo transfer, so the surrogate is looking at a potentially pretty low compensation amount.
However, in the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and preparing the surrogate for the pregnancy, there are some milestones prior, usually having to do with fertility treatments and medications to increase the chances of a successful embryo transfer. Plus, the surrogate will have gotten her paychecks that predated the failed embryo transfer.
Do surrogates have to pay the medical costs if they miscarry?
In the vast majority of cases, no, they do not. Remember that all expenses related to the surrogacy and pregnancy are covered by the intended parents and paid out by the agency.
There may be an exception this rule. If the gestational carrier was negligent during her surrogacy pregnancy and this resulted in a miscarriage, then it might be possible that she will then be responsible for all medical costs. That’s because negligent behavior that results in a failed pregnancy would absolutely be a violation of the underlying surrogacy contract which specifies that each surrogate must make a good-faith effort to successfully complete the pregnancy and give birth.
However, this is predicated on the idea that the intended parents or agency could even establish that this type of behavior was occurring. That may not always be easy and would almost certainly include legal proceedings.
Additionally, if the miscarriage was the result of gross negligence, then the surrogate may be liable for even more damages in civil court. That’s because this would also be considered a clear violation of the surrogacy contract.
Why Choose Surrogacy by Faith as your surrogacy agency?
Miscarriages and failed embryo transfers can be very taxing or even traumatic for both the intended parents and the surrogate, so it’s best to pick a surrogacy agency that will help you through thick and thin throughout the surrogacy journey. It’s like that old saying: Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Surrogacy by Faith has the experience and expertise to deal with any difficulty that might come your way. We also follow a distinct set of Christian principles that determine how we operate and how we assist both intended parents and surrogates through the journey.
We can help match intended parents with the right surrogate, oversee the drafting and implementation of an equitable surrogacy contract that protects everyone, and handle the logistics of surrogate compensation, both in the unfortunate even of a failed embryo transfer or a miscarriage.