The use of a surrogate mother to start a new family is becoming more popular and more accessible. For many, however, the process is still unfamiliar, too expensive and seemingly out of reach for typical couples. If you’re considering options because of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant, a difficult medical condition, or the limits of your own biology, the first hurdle is understanding how much surrogacy would cost.
Advertised surrogacy costs range from $100,000 up to $200,000, or more. The total reflects the multiple services involved in the process. Despite the high cost of surrogacy, there are a few ways to make surrogacy more affordable for the intended parent.
1. Get a Suitable Insurance Policy
As the intended parent, one of the best things you can do to reduce surrogacy costs is to search for newborn coverage and IVF benefits. Keep in mind that your total surrogacy budget includes the costs of the surrogate’s agent, her total compensation (including base salary and benefits), clinical fees, legal fees, egg donor compensation, fertility medication, maternity clothing, and miscellaneous costs.
Talk to your insurance provider to find out which medical costs they can cover for your surrogate and baby. Research different insurance options to find an ideal policy that helps you reduce your out-of-pocket medical fees. Your surrogate’s insurance company may also cover certain medical expenses associated with her ongoing care both before and during the pregnancy.
2. Research Your State’s Surrogacy Laws
Surrogacy policies and regulations vary by state, with a big impact on cost. For instance, in the state of New Hampshire, employer-provided health insurance must cover the medical expenses related to making embryos using donor eggs for use with gestational surrogates. This alone can save intended parents from $12,000 up to $20,000 per surrogacy IVF cycle.
So far, only 15 states have mandated health insurance coverage for some infertility treatments, while 23 states have in place benchmark plans with minimum coverage for both group and individual plans that include infertility services. Understanding your state’s surrogacy laws can help you know what savings you can make in the process.
3. Talk to the Right Surrogacy Counselor
Talking to a surrogacy counselor can help you understand the options you have financially and also make the process more manageable for you. The counselor works closely with the intended parents to educate them and offer support and counseling before, during, and after surrogacy. For instance, they may advise you that getting a single embryo transfer (SET) lowers the risk of multiple pregnancies, which can often increase complications. This can also reduce costs.
By working with an experienced surrogacy counselor in your state, you can easily get to know programs that support surrogacy and organizations that also offer financial help. The right counselor should know how to assist you with medical, emotional, and financial aspects of the surrogacy process in your state.
4. Start Saving Early
If you’ve opted for surrogacy to start a family, it may take several months before you’re matched with the right surrogate. It’s never too early to start saving money, so, when the time comes, you have enough put aside to cover costs when the process eventually starts.
There are other options to make surrogacy more affordable – finding a friend or family member who could be your surrogate, finding a surrogate near you to save on transportation costs, and comparing your legal options and fees. Paying out of pocket for a surrogate is not very affordable for most people. But anyone who has managed to do it will tell you it’s worth it in the end.