Whenever we talk about surrogacy and money, things can get sensitive. On the one hand, this is really not about money. It’s about creating life. It’s about fulfilling dreams. It’s about the joy of giving.
On the other hand, money is how we get by, how we manage our material possessions and surroundings. Simply put, we need money.
In the State of Florida, a surrogate is not supposed to be paid a fee to be a surrogate. This is not supposed to be a way to get rich or make money. But compensation for reasonable expenses is permitted, and that includes not only out-of-pocket expenses, but also reasonable cost of living during the pregnancy period. A woman does have to eat and she does have to nourish the baby gestating in her uterus, right?
In most surrogacy agreements, payment from the intended parents is placed in an escrow account, also sometimes referred to as a “trust” account. Typically, the intended parents would set up the account or the clinic might set it up for them.
What is important to understand is that regardless of who sets up the account, such accounts in the State of Florida are operated by an arms-length attorney, that is to say not an attorney who was involved with drafting the surrogacy agreement. The account itself is federally insured. But be forewarned – the rules about escrow are different in each state, so you do need to be very careful. Although the intended parents might choose the attorney or fund manager, make sure that you have veto power over that choice. It is your responsibility to make sure that your money is flowing through an impartial party.
The whole point of the account is to protect you, the gestational mother. Once you have committed to serving as a surrogate, there is no turning back. If the intended parents were to run into financial problems, or one was to get sick or pass away, you can’t just say, “Let’s put this on hold until later.” So it is important to know from the start that the funds are committed and available to compensate you for the full journey.
The reason that this is handled through an arms-length escrow is so that there are no financial conflicts between the gestational surrogate and either the intended parents or the fertility agency. All fees due are paid from the escrow account on the dates specified.
So the short answer is that you will have access to the money in the escrow account at the times specified in your agreement with the intended parents. So make sure that the contract meets your financial cash-flow needs for the gestational period. The account should remain open until all bills have been paid, and that could be several months after the birth. In theory, most bills should be taken care of within a few days. However, your contract should ensure that if there are post-birth complications, you would be reimbursed for any resulting costs.
But you will not have access to the account itself, any more than the intended parents or the fertility clinic will. It is arms length to ensure that you get paid only when stipulated.Return to Blog