Surrogacy is not new: It goes back to the Old Testament and Hagar, who carried a child—Ishmael—for Abraham and Sarah. What is new is the improved medical technology which makes it more likely for you to attain your goal of parenthood.

The laws regarding surrogacy and assisted reproduction vary greatly from state to state. What is important is that the law of the jurisdiction in which the child is born is the law that prevails. For example, you might live in a state whose law states that surrogacy contracts are void and unenforceable in that state. However, a neighboring state’s law may be “surrogacy friendly”. You can contract with a surrogate in the neighboring state and take full advantage of the favorable laws of that jurisdiction—once again, provided that your surrogate gives birth in that state, and not in yours.

Mark Eckman has considerable experience both in “traditional surrogacy” and “gestational surrogacy”. He is knowledgeable about all aspects of assisted reproduction - legal, psychological, medical, and financial - and is eager to share his knowledge with you.

Mark Eckman knows that surrogacies cost money. He knows that there are all-inclusive surrogacy programs that would cost you tens of thousands of dollars. But surrogacy does not have to be beyond the financial reach of middle class couples and individuals! For this reason, he makes this pledge to his clients:

“I will do everything within my power to help you form your family through assisted reproduction without spending money unnecessarily. I will itemize any and all expenses. I will consult with you every step of the way.”


The Surrogacy Team:


Detail your services

 Mark Eckman does not work alone. He collaborates with a team of professionals who participate in helping you form your family. These professionals include Vivian Datoff, MSW, who coordinates counseling and sometimes performs home studies on the Intended Families; Matthew Murphy, paralegal assistant to Mark Eckman; and Scott Eckman, who handles client and escrow accounts.

The matching: Intended Parents and Surrogate

If you reside in Virginia, your state law does not allow third parties to find a surrogate for you. However, lawyers and others can instruct you as to how to identify the surrogate who is right for you. Sometimes you find the surrogate among your own family or circle of acquaintances. Sometimes you advertise. Sometimes you make a connection on line. And sometimes you use the services of a surrogacy agency. No matter how the surrogate is identified, Mark Eckman is there to advise you.

If you reside outside Virginia, please contact Mark Eckman at The Hagar Center to find out about the laws of other jurisdictions

Traditional Surrogacy:

 This is the simpler alternative. A woman is identified who agrees to carry a pregnancy resulting from an artificial insemination. The resulting child will be genetically related to her and to the intended father or sperm donor. The intended parent(s) are represented by an attorney, as is the surrogate. A written agreement among the parties is drafted and agreed upon. She conceives a pregnancy with her own ovum and the sperm of the intended father, or donor sperm.

In some jurisdictions, the birth certificate of the child born as a result of the surrogacy agreement lists the name of the surrogate as mother and the name of the intended father or donor as father. Alternatively, the intended mother might adopt the child, just as she might adopt her husband’s child from a previous marriage. Finally, in some cases, a judge might sign an order declaring the intended mother as mother of the child.

Traditional surrogacy is less costly than gestational surrogacy, since it is simpler. However, since the child is the biological offspring of the surrogate, there is greater risk that she will be unable to separate from the child following the birth, despite any written agreement that she might have entered into. In that event—which occurs rarely-- the attorneys representing the surrogate and the intended parents attempt to forge a shared custody arrangement acceptable to both sides.

Gestational Surrogacy:

The child is carried by a woman who is not genetically related. The child may be:

  • the offspring of the intended father and mother
  • the offspring of the intended father and an ovum donor
  • the offspring of neither of the intended parents, but rather a “donated” embryo.

Gestational Surrogacy with Ovum Donor:

 The ovum of a donor is combined with the sperm of the intended father. The resulting embryo is implanted in the womb of the gestational carrier (surrogate).

In gestational surrogacies, whether the ovum is that of the intended mother or that of a donor, it may be psychologically easier for the surrogate to separate from the baby, since she has no genetic relationship with the child.

In any of the three cases, Mark Eckman is experienced and ready to assist you. His network of resources includes fertility clinics as well as centers devoted to sperm, ovum, and embryo donation

Embryo Surrogacy:

 An embryo surrogacy can be one of the least costly routes to parenthood.

Sometimes called “embryo adoption” (a misnomer, since only living human beings can be adopted, not unborn human beings), this is a route to parenthood that is especially attractive if the ability of the intended mother to produce viable ova is impaired, but she is nevertheless capable of carrying a pregnancy to term. The law office of Mark Eckman will assist you in locating a cryo-preserved embryo—of which there are estimated to be tens of thousands in storage in the United States—for implantation into the uterus of the intended mother or of a surrogate who will carry the pregnancy to term. Such embryos are generally donated, but it is customary to pay the expenses incidental to the cryo-preservation, as well as medical expenses associated with creation of the embryo.

If the child is born to the Intended Parent(s), there is no need to amend the birth certificate.

But if the intended Mother cannot carry a pregnancy to term using donor embryo, it is possible to engage the services of a surrogate. Some states allow the names of the Intended Parents to be registered on the birth certificate. In other states, the Intended Parents need to file a petition to adopt the child.


Embryo Transfer Fee (for gestational surrogacy): Paid to the surrogate after each embryo transfer ---- $500

Artificial Insemination Fee (for traditional surrogacy): Paid to the surrogate after each insemination cycle ---- $250

Maternity Clothing Allowance: Payable in full at the end of the first trimester ---- $750

Life Insurance Policy for the Surrogate: $300

Multiple Births: For each additional child the surrogate carries ---- $5,000

Monthly Allowance: For mileage, childcare, telephone calls, faxes, postage, prenatal vitamins, and miscellaneous expenses. This fee begins at the start of the pregnancy and terminates on delivery ---- $200 per month

Invasive Procedure Compensation: Amniocentesis, abortion, D&C;, or selective reduction (if requested) ---- $1,000

C-Section: If the surrogate is required to deliver via cesarean section ----- $2,500

Bed Rest Fee: If the doctor ordered bed rest for additional childcare and housekeeping ---- $250 per week

Travel Expenses to Fertility Clinic: $100 - $2,000 (fee depends on where the surrogate lives and what fertility clinic you work with)

Medical Insurance Co-Pays for Pregnancy/Delivery: $0 - $3,500

Passport Fees (for International Intended Parents): $500

Surrogacy Escrow Account if Requested: $750

Surrogacy Social Work Support for Entire Pregnancy (if requested): $2,000

Health Insurance for the Surrogate (if needed): $200 - $300 per month

Lost Wages for the Surrogate (if needed): $500 - $5,000


Gestational Surrogacy: Pre-testing for the surrogate, pre-testing for you or egg donor, egg retrieval, IVF, monitoring of the surrogate, and medication ---- $20,000 - $25,000. Assuming that additional embryos are left from the first cycle, each additional cycle costs approximately $6,000.

Traditional Surrogacy: Pre-testing for the surrogate, infectious disease testing for you, monitoring of the surrogate, and artificial insemination ---- $2,000 - $5,000


Agency Fee: Matching you with the surrogate and coordination of the surrogacy journey ---- $10,000

Legal Fees:1.) Intended Parents’ attorney, reviewing the contract with the surrogate and obtaining pre-birth order ----- $3,0002.) Surrogate’s attorney ---- $1,500


Gestational Surrogacy: $65,000 - $90,000

Traditional Surrogacy: $40,000 - $50,000


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  • Highly regulated, both domestically and
        Every state has an extensive adoption
        Every state has regulations governing
        adoption agencies;
        Many international adoptions are regulated
        by the Hague Adoption Convention.
  • The adoptive parents have no genetic link to
        their child.
  • Some adoptive parents are motivated to help
        a child who might benefit from being adopted.
  • Prospective adoptive parents must be
        approved to adopt through the home study
        process. Some applicants are disqualified
        for a variety of reasons.
  • Married couples have traditionally been in a
        favored position. No international source at
        the present time allows a single man to adopt
        a young child.
  • Cost: A wide range, ranging from a few
        thousand dollars to many thousands, although
        seldom more than $40,000. The IRS grants a
        Federal Tax Credit of about $13,000 for
  • Some states have statutes governing surrogacy;
        Some states prohibit surrogacy outright;
        Some states have no surrogacy legislation;
        There are no inter-country agreements
        regarding surrogacy.
  • One parent is genetically linked to the child.
  • Intended Parents have no similar motivation,
        since they create a child.
  • There is no approval process for Intended
  • Anyone with the desire to become a parent
        and who can contribute gametes can do so
        through surrogacy. Indeed, in some states,
        no genetic tie to the child is required.
  • A domestic gestational surrogacy ranges
        from a low of $70,000 to $100,000. An Indian
        surrogacy, with travel, costs about $35,000.
        There is no federal tax credit for surrogacy.


If you would like to explore forming a family through an Indian surrogacy, contact Mark Eckman, Esq., (703) 242-8801 or

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