How Much Does Surrogacy Cost – And How To Pay For It | Family finances


Working with a surrogate, also known as a surrogate mother, involves an arrangement in which a woman carries and gives birth to a child for another couple or another person.

Because this family-building option is expensive, expectant parents should aim to save early, tap into good financial accounts, and find ways to keep costs down.

Here’s what you need to know about the cost of a gestational surrogate and how to make it more affordable.

What is a substitute?

A gestational carrier, or surrogate mother, is a woman who carries and gives birth to a child for another couple or individual. It could be a friend, family member or new acquaintance, located through an agency or independently.

The embryo that the surrogate mother carries is not genetically related to her. Instead, it’s implanted through a fertility procedure called in vitro fertilization, and can come from the mother who engages it or from an egg donor.

More generally, “surrogates are unicorns,” says Dr. Mark Leondires, medical director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut and founder of Gay Parents To Be, a family building resource for singles and LGBTQ couples. “They want to help someone else start a family.”

How much does surrogacy cost?

The cost of using a surrogate ranges from $ 100,000 to $ 150,000, says Leondires.

Yes, that’s a six-figure price.

And that amount can reach $ 300,000 or more if the first attempts at fertilization fail or if the parents decide to fund multiple pregnancies.

With surrogacy, you’ll pay the costs of IVF, plus fees for gestational carrier time and services, legal fees, and potential agency fees, says Arielle Spiegel, founder of CoFertility, an online platform. line aimed at simplifying the fertility treatment process with resources. , tools and content.

Here are some typical costs of surrogacy that expectant parents should anticipate:

  • Agency costs.
  • Switch fees.
  • Medical fees.
  • Insurance costs.
  • Legal fees.
  • Miscellaneous costs.

Read on to learn more about each cost.

Agency costs. Fertility clinics can’t find surrogate mothers, Leondires says. Instead, expectant parents can find a carrier through a personal connection or an agency. These organizations have a network of surrogate mothers who have met certain requirements. A retainer of $ 15,000 to $ 30,000 may be required to start working through an agency, Leondires says.

Switch fees. Working with a gestational carrier can be expensive. You ask a woman to undergo medical procedures, pregnancy, labor and childbirth to help expand your family. Compensation for the surrogate can range from $ 30,000 to $ 50,000, says Leondires.

Medical fees. The medical procedures involved in surrogacy are intense. They can include medical exams, IVF procedures, pregnancy exams, labor and delivery costs. Surrogate mothers will undergo medical exams, blood tests, hormone injections, and a host of other tests and procedures. IVF alone can cost between $ 8,000 and $ 30,000, says Spiegel.

The use of donor eggs or sperm may continue to inflate these costs. Your insurance may cover your own costs, such as egg retrieval, but choose not to cover the surrogate.

It is important to anticipate these costs and find out what your health insurance will cover.

Insurance costs. Health insurance for the surrogate is a potential additional expense. “Most surrogate mothers’ private insurance does not cover surrogacy pregnancy,” explains Leondires. A supplemental health insurance plan can be found in the private market or through the options offered by the Affordable Care Act.

Legal fees. Surrogacy is a complex legal process. Laws vary by state, with some not recognizing surrogacy contracts. It’s important to fill out legal paperwork correctly to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the progression of the pregnancy, especially if unexpected complications arise.

These fees can range from $ 15,000 to $ 20,000, says Leondires.

Miscellaneous costs. There are a host of other expenses to be expected.

An example is the trip for the surrogate or the hopeful parents. “I’ve seen a lot of costs associated with travel,” says Mariam Adams, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management consultant in New York City, who has extensive experience working with LGBTQ clients. These costs can add up if the gestational carrier lives far away. Other costs may include pregnancy clothes, lost wages, payment for breast milk, and consultation fees.

How to pay for gestational surrogacy

Most people don’t have $ 100,000 in a bank account. But there are some strategies parents hope to use to raise funds.

Social benefits and health insurance. This is not very common, but your employer may have a surrogacy benefit. Benefits are “definitely the first place everyone should look,” Adams says. For example, Bank of America offers a family planning benefit of up to $ 20,000 that can be used for processes such as surrogacy.

Also keep track of what your health insurance covers. While it may not cover surrogate pregnancy, it may cover procedures that expectant parents undergo.

Personal savings. If you have money accessible in a savings account or a dedicated investment account, this is a great place to withdraw funds.

The availability of these funds may depend on why you are considering surrogacy. For example, LGBTQ people and couples who want to start a family may have known for years that surrogacy is a likely route and started saving early in a diversified investment account, Adams explains. They may be in a great position to start tapping into savings.

On the flip side, a couple who have already spent tens of thousands of dollars on intrauterine insemination and IVF without success and come to surrogacy without years of planning behind them may be less likely. to have this option.

The equity of the house. If you own your home, consider borrowing it with a home equity line of credit. This can be especially useful if you’re in a capital appreciation environment, like New York City, Adams says.

Retirement accounts. You can choose to borrow money from a 401 (k) company, Adams says. One major downside is that it will roll back your retirement savings. “It’s not my favorite place,” Adams says. But she likes that you have to pay it back on your monthly paycheck, hopefully replacing the borrowed funds quickly.

Family and friends. Consider seeking help from parents, family and friends to fund your surrogacy. You can also try a site like GoFundMe or a fundraiser instead of, say, a baby shower or wedding reception, Adams says. When the pandemic restrictions are lifted, friends may be able to volunteer their services and skills to create an event that encourages people to donate to your future family.

Debt. While this is not ideal, many expectant parents may find that they have to put some of these expenses on a credit card or take out a personal loan. If possible, avoid high interest debt and think carefully about your repayment capacity.

Tips for reducing the cost of surrogacy

Using a gestational carrier is usually an expensive endeavor, but experts recommend reducing as much as possible. Finding a surrogate nearby to avoid travel costs can help. Saving early will reduce the cost of interest and borrowing costs. Of course, finding a friend or relative who is willing to bear a child can lead to significant savings, although this option may not be available to everyone.

Work with your insurer, fertility specialists, financial advisor, and personal network to find ways to reduce these costs. “If it’s something you really want, there’s no shame in taking an approach,” says Spiegel. “Be creative and resourceful.”

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