The first paid surrogacy transaction occurred in 1978. Since then, there has been a steady rise in the use of surrogacy because it has been a viable option for countless couples who cannot conceive without intervention. Despite state laws varying by severity of surrogacy restrictions,1 there are several safe and reliable surrogacy agencies and options both in and out of the U.S. In fact, the global surrogacy market was valued at USD 179.9 million in 2022.2 But, when the demand for trustworthy and affordable surrogacy options increases so greatly, the supply falls behind.
There has been a notable decline in surrogate options since the beginning of the COVID-19 spread in 2020. The number of available surrogate matches have decreased, and surrogacy agencies are unable to meet their promised deadline, so couples are left waiting to expand their family. In fact, around ten agencies have seen a 60% drop in potential surrogates since the start of the pandemic.3 Because of that, prices to pay surrogates are also rising as a result of a limited amount of surrogates available.
The drop in interested surrogates has decreased for a few reasons. One of the main issues causing this decline is an increase in health risks and problems for the surrogates, since being pregnant during a pandemic can increase the harm of getting the disease. In order to prevent that, details in surrogacy agreements were added intended to minimize the surrogate’s exposure, such as limiting the amount of large social gatherings they have, which the surrogate may not agree with.4 Furthermore, many couples prefer surrogates who are vaccinated to carry their unborn child. There are many surrogates who, therefore, do not meet those qualifications.
These additional complications for both surrogates and couples have made the process of being matched with a surrogate much longer and more complicated. Even though couples have increased the money they are willing to offer, there are not enough surrogates to match the number of couples wanting a child, preventing them from having the families they want.
Edited by: Sanjana Anand
Graphic Designed by: Priya Meesa
Creativefamilyconnections. (2022, October 3). History of surrogacy: When did surrogacy become legal?CreativeFamilyConnections. Retrieved February 24, 2023, from https://www.creativefamilyconnections.com/blog/history-of-surrogacy/
MarketWatch. (2023, February 22). Surrogacy market size 2023 [ newest industry data of 110 pages ] till 2028. MarketWatch. Retrieved February 24, 2023, from https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/surrogacy-market-size-2023-newest-industry-data-of-110-pages-till-2028-2023-02-22
Braff, D. (2022, April 2). Desperately seeking surrogates. The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/02/style/surrogate-shortage-us-pandemic.html
theSkimm. (2022, December 8). Why is there a surrogate mother shortage? theSkimm. Retrieved February 24, 2023, from https://www.theskimm.com/wellness/surrogate-mother-shortage