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.

Adding insult to injury

I just love that saying– ‘adding insult to injury’–  it feels like that is my life right now.  Things are bad enough without any additional hassles or pains or salt in my wounds.

The latest one is thanks to my insurance company, Anthem BC/BS.  They are denying claims for some of my ultrasounds saying that they are ‘investigational’.  My RPL specialist was using 3D ultrasound to look at the early gestational sacs at 6weeks and now we are stuck with no baby AND a big bill for this.  It’s frustrating enough that our BC/BS out of California won’t pay for this, but then it gets more annoying to find out that the BC/BS in my state DOES pay for it!  So one state covers it no problem and another claims it’s ‘investigational’.  Um, yeah, makes total sense to me.  The kicker-  the OB that Anthem supposedly contacted to review my case is a 75 year old OB.  I wonder how many recurrent pregnancy loss patients he’s treated!  Seriously, you see a specialist because they know more about your condition than a regular physician and then a regular physician says the procedure isn’t warranted.  Sigh.

And then I get the hospital bills, emergency room bills, anesthesia bills, etc in the mail from that horrible day that my baby died.  It costs just as much to deliver a dead baby as it does to deliver a live one.  I know people need to get paid, but it’s just hard to swallow.

I’m ready for the good stuff to start happening, no more insults over here please.