The commercial surrogacy industry is experiencing a global boom expected to reach $129 billion by 2032, exponentially higher than its estimated 2022 value of $14 billion, according to Global Market Insights, led by growing infertility cases, more same sex couples looking to have children and heightened awareness about reproductive options thanks to celebrity endorsers and an increasing number of fertility clinics.
- Celebrities like Chrissy Tiegan, Elizabeth Banks, Anderson Cooper and Jamie Chung have been open about their experiences with surrogacy and largely praised the process despite ethical concerns raised by some advocates who say paying a woman to have a child opens her up to exploitation by wealthier and more powerful intended parents.
- The process of surrogate motherhood—when a woman carries and gives birth to a child for someone else—has increased in popularity due to the advancements in medical technology and changes in social attitudes towards non-traditional families, according to research provider IMARC, and the industry has grown from $6 billion in 2018 to an estimated $17.9 billion in 2023.
- The New York Department of Health says it can cost between $60,000 and $150,000 to employ a surrogate in the United States after legal fees, medical expenses, agency fees, the surrogate’s compensation and other expenses, compared to $50,000 in Eastern European countries and between $60,000 and $70,000 in Mexico and Latin America, CNBC reported.
- Celebrities from across industries have been vocal about using surrogates to have children for a number of reasons ranging from infertility to a fear that maternity leave would hinder their careers, including Andy Cohen, Jimmy Fallon, Cameron Diaz, Tyra Banks, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ellen Pompeo.
CELEBRITY SURROGACIES SO FAR THIS YEAR
Erin Andrews & Jarret Stoll — NFL sideline reporter Erin Andrews on Friday revealed she and her husband, retired NHL player Jarret Stoll, welcomed baby June 28. She told NBC she underwent several failed rounds of IVF and said their son comes after “10 years of hell.”
Clare Crawley & Ryan Dawkins — The Bachelorette alum Clare Crawley on Wednesday said she and husband Ryan Dawkins are expecting a baby via surrogate. Crawley, 42, posted to Instagram that she has been navigating “the uncertain world of IVF and all that comes with it.”
Casey Wilson & David Caspe — Actress Casey Wilson and her husband said they had a daughter born with the help of a surrogate on Jan. 26, calling the process a “profound experience. Uplifting and inspiring,” Peoplereported.
The first legal surrogacy agreement in the United States was reportedly penned back in 1976 and the first legally compensated surrogacy took place in 1980. By 1983, the practice was a money-making business and 10 surrogate-mothering agencies existed in the U.S. for families willing to pay between $20,000 and $45,000, the Washington Post reported. In the time since, advances in fertility science, later birthing ages and a growing number of nontraditional families have allowed the industry to continue to grow, according to Global Market Insights. The American surrogacy industry is closely regulated, and gestational surrogacy contracts are still illegal in some states, including Nebraska, Louisiana and Michigan. New York just legalized the practice in 2021. In Canada and the U.K., surrogacy is only allowed if the carrier is a volunteer—paid surrogacy is illegal.
Ukraine was the world’s second-largest surrogacy market behind the U.S. before Russia’s invasion in February of last year. Expectant mothers were forced to relocate as Russia’s threat became real, the New York Timesreported, and international couples risked entering a war zone to unite with their surrogates and ensure their babies’ safety. In the time since, Georgia and Cyprus have absorbed much of the international industry, CNBC reported, but it has also spread as far as Mexico and Latin America with the owner of one Cancun-based fertility agency citing a 20% to 30% increase due to the conflict.
A fertility doctor launched a service likened to the dating app Bumble last year that helps match families and surrogates. Nodal, created by Dr. Brian Levine and former surrogate Brianna Buck, is meant to give surrogates more power in the matching process and allows them to reach out directly to families looking for a match.