Myth: Surrogacy is only for the rich or celebrities.
Busted!: When most people hear the word surrogacy, they think of Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman, or one of the other celebrities that has used a surrogate to have a child. Others might just think of dollar signs. Well, Greg and I are not celebrities(at least not yet) and we are definitely not rich. It is true that surrogacy is an expensive process. The cost of surrogacy can range from $50,000-$80,000. There are many fees associated with surrogacy including, but not limited to the following: agency, surrogate compensation, legal, criminal background checks, mental health examinations, life insurance, health insurance and other policies, and escrow management.
The variance in the cost of surrogacy depends on a number of factors. Do the intended parents have a friend/family member that is willing/able to carry the baby for them or will they need to find a surrogate? Will they use an agency/infertility consultant to help locate a surrogate or will they try to find one independently? Does the surrogate have health insurance or will the intended parents need to purchase a health insurance policy for her? Is the intended mother able to use her own eggs or will they need donor eggs? The cost of surrogacy can differ depending on these factors, but like everything, there is a certain amount of risk involved in any path.
Intended parents can find the money to pay for the surrogacy process in a variety of different areas. Some may have had enough time to save a portion or all of the cost. Others are lucky enough to have family members that can loan them some or all of the money needed. Another option is borrowing against retirement plans/insurance policies or taking out a Home Equity Loan if you are able.
Our fertility consultant, Mindy Berkson, of Lotus Blossom Consulting, has a new ebook out in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week(NIAW) called "Everything You Need To Know About Navigating the Infertility Maze". She wrote this to help couples set clear expectations and explore financial options before embarking on their journey through infertility. It is her hope to help her clients become their own best advocate through the process. 60% of the proceeds of this book go to The Jude Andrew Adams Charitable Fund, the not-for-profit arm of Lotus Blossom Consulting. This fund was established to help a financially needy couple receive a complementary treatment cycle. More information can be found on Mindy's website.
A final option for funding surrogacy is to search for any grants/financing options on the Internet. There are financing options available for couples that do not have insurance. Assistance for couples that choose adoption as a way to build their family is also available. However, there does not appear to be much in terms of grants for surrogacy. Greg and I were lucky enough to meet Todd and Melissa Trader, the founders of Birdies for Babies, a non-profit organization that was started to help couples start their families. Their annual outing in September, which is sponsored by Fertility Centers of Illinois, raises money for families that have to pay out-of-pocket for fertility treatments. Our special July outing will help us to raise money to cover some of the cost of the surrogacy process.
As you can see, surrogacy does not discriminate. If it is your "plan b", there are ways to make it happen by taking the time to learn about the surrogacy process and financial options before rushing into anything. I would like to close with a quote from Mindy:
"In my experience taking the time to build the foundation for surrogacy and pull together all the necessary pieces that need to accompany a surrogacy arrangement is the best approach. In the long run this always maximizes chances of success for my clients and minimizes financial expenditures not just for one cycle, but for the end family building goal."
To gain a basic understanding of Infertility, visit http://www.resolve.org/infertility101
To learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week, visit http://www.resolve.org/takecharge.