Surrogacy Planning: It’s More Than Just Asking “How Much do Surrogates Get Paid?”
It’s time to start planning your surrogacy, but where do you start? Using a surrogate to help build your family can be expensive, but there are several surrogacy financing options you can use to make your dream of family come true. By the time most people come to the realization that surrogacy is their only option, they have already spent quite a bit of money on fertility testing and treatments. If they’re lucky, some of the testing, medications, and procedures have been covered by their health insurance. Since insurance coverage varies greatly from policy to policy, many people pay out-of-pocket for the majority of their infertility services. When people start to plan their surrogacy financing, there are numerous options for them to explore.
How much is the whole process going to cost?
To get started, let’s first look at “how much do surrogates get paid?” Surrogacy and egg donation costs are comparable in the “surrogacy friendly” states so we’re going to use California prices for this example. The average surrogate is paid between $40,000 and $50,000 plus a benefits package that usually runs around $10,000. An egg donor agency in California reports that an egg donor can make anywhere from $7,000 to $25,000 per donation. Your egg donation agency should be able to give you a quote. After that, you add on the costs of all medications and medical procedures, that aren’t covered by insurance, for both the intended parents and the surrogate. The surrogacy agency’s finance department should be able to tell you what each step and process is going to cost, so they are the best place to start when you’re working out your budget.
What are the options for raising the money?
There are more surrogacy financing options than many people realize. Surrogacy options for financing that Intended Parents regularly use include:
- Savings. Many people use their personal savings, this is ideal because it means you are not adding debt but most people’s savings can’t cover every expense.
- Second mortgage or loan against the equity in the house. This is a great option for people with equity in their home or other property, since the loan is secured by the property the interest rates are usually reasonable.
- Loans from your 401k retirement fund. Technically it’s not a loan, since it’s your money, however there may be rules in place about making withdrawals and the tax consequences.
- Family and Friends. Many people set up funding sites, like a gofundme.com site, where their family and friends can contribute easily online. For people who are good at networking, and don’t mind sharing their infertility journey on social media, this is a good surrogacy option. There’s also the possibility of asking close family members, those who would love to see you become parents, for money directly. Often parents or grandparents want to help but don’t quite know how to approach the subject.
- Fertility Loans. Most surrogacy agencies have relationships with loan companies that will provide access to loans up to $100,000 for any assisted reproductive expenses, this usually includes medications and egg donor and surrogacy services. These loans can be flexible where you borrow the amount you need at the time and then add more later if needed. Some of the major companies that provide loans for fertility services are:
- New Life Fertility Financing (newlifefertilityfinance.com);
- CapexMD (capexmd.com);
- Lending Club Patient Solutions (https://www.lendingclub.com/patientsolutions/patients); and
- Prosper Healthcare (https://www.prosper.com/vib/healthcare).
- Surrogacy Grants. There are organizations out there that want to help you build your family by financing your surrogacy options. Some require the recipients to live in certain states or belong to a certain religion but many are open to anyone who meets their qualifications. Before starting the application process, you should make sure you meet the qualifications to be considered for a grant. Some of the foundations that make these grants are:
- Pay it Forward Fertility Grants (payitforwardfertility.org/grants);
- Baby Quest Foundation (babyquestfoundation.org);
- Tinina Q. Cade Foundation’s Family Building Grant (cadefoundation.org);
- Family Formation Charitable Trust (adoptionattorneys.org);
- Journey to Parenthood Grants (journeytoparenthood.org); and
- Life Grants (lifefindsaway.org).
- Surrogacy Center Payment Schedules. Most surrogacy center, and fertility medical centers, have a pay-as-you-go policy where you pay for services as you use them. The finance office of your surrogacy center can provide you with a payment schedule so you can plan to have the money available when needed.
- Credit Cards or Personal Lines of Credit from the Bank. This is probably the most expensive way to go for surrogacy financing but is easy to use. Before starting the surrogacy option, you request either the personal line of credit from the bank or request a higher limit on credit cards. When you have a payment schedule to work from you can plan your use of the credit to cover just the amount you need at that time so you’re not paying interest on funds you haven’t spent yet. This is also a good way to handle the 10% reserve since it’s there if you need it but it costs you nothing if you don’t.
Surrogacy is expensive, but when you’re talking about the only way possible to start a family it’s worth it, so get creative with your surrogacy financing. Most people can’t pull the entire amount out of savings so it’s superb that there are a number of financing options to choose from. After you’ve run the numbers from your surrogacy agency, and looked at the timeline for payment, it’s time to talk to your surrogacy agency’s finance department. They can help you decide which option, or options, will help make your dream of family come true.