Surrogacy Battles: Part 3 (the cost)

Surrogacy feels like it’s gotten popular in the last decade or so.  Several times a year, it seems there are announcements about celebrity x or y who has used a surrogate to carry their child(ren).  I don’t envy them because I know they are in a similar sucky position of not being able to carry themselves, but I do envy that the financial hit for them is probably nothing like it is to the average couple.

Surrogacy is not cheap.  We are digging into money that had many other purposes to even begin to fathom paying for a surrogacy journey.  We are putting off things like remodeling, updating cars, eating out, taking vacations, etc.  to be able to afford surrogacy.  This is a massive new stress that I never had contemplated, needing to pay all these extra people who will help with various angles along the process.

A brief estimate on costs if you are not familiar with the surrogacy process (and keep in mind, this is just from my reading and limited experience at the moment):

IVF cycle with PGS (we already paid this when we intended to transfer to me, but I still count it in the total as it is what created our embryos)- $18k

Agency (not required, you can do a journey independently but it’s nice to have the protection and matching service that an agency provides.  There is such a wide variety in cost and every agency seems to include different things in the process)- $10-25k

Lawyers (for us and our surrogate)- $3-8k, plus $3-5k for filing the pre-birth order to establish us as parents

Medical bills for surrogate (who knows?! So many group insurance policies do not cover surrogacy anymore and many others will not give you individual coverage that includes maternity at the moment.  Then there is the massive fear that we get done with this process and the insurance company takes back all their payments leaving us with massive medical debt)- $2k-15k+

Compensation for surrogate (this one is the easiest fee to pay out, IMHO.  I’m so thankful that anyone would do this for us that I do not begrudge them compensation for doing this for a person they barely know)- $20-30k plus $3-5k more for twins

Expenses for surrogate ( When someone is carrying your baby, they should not ever have any out of pocket expenses, so we cover things like prenatals, mileage, childcare for appointments, etc)- $3k+

Fees for surrogate (these include some of the less desirable things to pay for- fees for various procedures, fees for a D&C, fees for starting meds, fees for each embryo transfer, fees for having a c-section)- varies widely

Travel expenses (Either having our surrogate travel to our clinic and/or us traveling to be at appointments with our surrogate)- We’ll try to use reward points, etc to save a bit here whenever possible

So at the very minimum, this will probably cost us $80,000 at the upper level it could go up to $125,000+.  Whew, that’s such a scary number.

I was raised to be very thrifty, but there are unfortunately not many things you can do to make surrogacy much cheaper.  Most Reproductive Endocrinologists and lawyers don’t have coupons to print or double coupon days ;)! It makes we wary sometimes to try to use cheaper providers because if it’s not done right the first time, it often ends up costing more to fix.  I also don’t want to try to save money by taking away reasonable compensation from whomever carries our child.   There are some things that we will do to try to make this less of a financial hit- like I said above about using rewards points for travel and negotiating inclusive costs with lawyers, etc.

It’s still daunting.  I’m trying not to let this be (yet another) thing that I’m bitter about.  Not only do most other women get pregnant easily AND not miscarry AND THEN they don’t have to spend six figures to have a child.  I just can’t think about that today.  I’ll pull a Scarlett O’Hara and think about that tomorrow.

Not spending the money (ie, just stopping our journey and living with the one child we have) is just not an option yet.  There’s nothing my husband and I want more- any child is worth far more money than we could sink into this process.  The flipside of this is that this is money that would have been put away for my children’s college or other expenses while growing up that they will not have anymore.  It also makes my decision to stay at home with Sweetie that much harder, because trying to do this on my husband’s income (and our savings) is just scary.  So I may have to go back to work sooner rather than later and Sweetie will no longer have me stay home with her because of needing to pay for surrogacy to grow our family.  Just not fair, but at least it’s within our grasp to be able to try this.   I am vowing to not let the money side of this make me more bitter.  It’s just money.

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4 thoughts on “Surrogacy Battles: Part 3 (the cost)

  1. The costs really are staggering, and I admire your courage going into this. I had to smile at your Scarlett O’Hara comment because I just wrote that in an email to a friend yesterday–I said I’m in Scarlett O’Hara mode, telling myself “I won’t worry about that now, I’ll think about it tomorrow.” I guess our minds are thinking alike!

    You are right that in the end, it’s just money. Having your family is what matters. I know it’s a bitter pill to swallow though and it truly isn’t fair. You have a great attitude about all this and I believe your story will have a happy ending 🙂

  2. Wow, that is shocking. I figured it would be expensive, but not that expensive. I guess you could look at it as being really unfair (it is), but I see someone who is lucky to be able to do it at all, truly.

    • I think we should agree to disagree, because I have a very different definition of ‘lucky’ that I follow. From Wikipedia: “Luck is an event which occurs beyond one’s control, without regard to one’s will, intention, or desired result”

      I feel most everything that has happened along my journey with trying to have children could be defined as ‘bad luck’. (other than having my Sweetie). I did nothing to cause the death of 6 babies in my uterus- it was beyond my control and thus bad luck (if you choose to view it in terms of luck, I don’t generally view it as such).

      But after getting through all that bad luck and then a surgery that left me unable to even attempt to carry a child anymore, I honestly feel it’s pretty impossible to view any portion of my situation as ‘lucky’ (as in, the positive luck) to be able to do surrogacy. I may sometimes try to make lemonade with the lemons that have been handed to me, but there’s lots of blood and tears in there and there’s no way it will ever be sweet.

      Maybe I was trying to be too positive in this post about the financial hit that this will cause to my family, but any money that we use for this surrogacy will be money that my husband and I worked hard for. None of this came as a result of a trust fund or inheritance, none of this is money we won at Vegas or on the Price is Right or that the government is giving us because we’ve been through so much shit. Perhaps if I had my money from one of those sources, I may find it ‘lucky’ to be able to use that money for surrogacy.

      This is retirement funds (which we are probably unwisely cashing out) and savings and sacrificing and possibly a loan against our house, nothing that applies to the ‘luck’ category. Neither of us have regular or expensive habits (daily Starbucks, expensive cable packages, eating out, smoking, etc) so we have saved. That’s 100% choices we made in living our lifestyle and being savers rather than spenders (and even that is not quite enough to meet these expected costs), thus I see no luck in this. And it’s certainly not lucky for Sweetie who is (hopefully temporarily) losing her college fund. /MMB

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