For many intended parents, affording surrogacy is possible with careful advance planning and compromises to make the process more budget friendly. Surrogacy is not just for the rich and famous.
If you are asking “How can we afford surrogacy?”, these tips will help you assess where you might be able to minimize the costs involved with surrogacy:
Tip#1 Consider Available Tax Benefits
For many intended parents, tax benefits are available for the process. Such tax benefits can include the use of flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and other employer sponsored pre-tax savings as well as tax deductions on your federal return. Some intended parents may find it better to spread their expenses across two or more tax years, while others may find it better to group as much as possible into one tax year. These are important issues to discuss with your tax professional so you can best plan ahead for your situation.
Tip#2 Evaluate Your Health Insurance Options
Three kinds of insurance benefits are relevant for every gestational surrogacy journey: IVF benefits, maternity care benefits (for the surrogate), and newborn benefits. If current insurance plans don’t provide sufficient benefits, consider switching plans to ones that have more comprehensive benefits. Simply matching with a surrogate mother who already has a health insurance plan that will cover the surrogate pregnancy can save you thousands of dollars (although it is always prudent to purchase a backup plan just in case her health insurance changes mid-journey). And set up your arrangement so that all care (including that required for the baby after birth) can take place within network, if the insurance policy provides for higher benefits for in-network care. With insurance plans that have high deductibles it might be beneficial to time the pregnancy in a manner to maximize expenses within one plan year.
Tip#3 Consider Alternative Legal Avenues
Discuss with your lawyer whether alternative legal avenues might provide you with sufficient legal protection while also providing cost savings. For example, some intended parents may find that establishing legal parentage via a second parent adoption may provide greater tax benefits than utilizing the typically preferred pre-birth order process.
Tip#4 Request a SET
An single embryo transfer maximizes your odds of avoiding a multiple pregnancy, and all the added costs associated with the gestation of twins and triplets. A singleton pregnancy is less likely to be high risk, which means you are less likely to face expensive medical complications or mandatory bed rest, during which time you will typically have to pay for the surrogate’s lost wages, childcare expenses, and/or housekeeping costs. These costs can quickly accumulate into the thousands of dollars with a complicated pregnancy. Don’t forget that twins are often delivered early, which means NICU time for the baby and missed work/lost income for you. Discuss with your doctor whether a SET is medically appropriate for your circumstances.
Tip#5 Friends and Family
Having a friend or family member who is willing to carry the pregnancy without any fee for her assistance is one of the best ways to lower the costs of surrogacy. Don’t be afraid to spread the word to let people you know become aware that you are pursuing surrogacy, as someone may volunteer to carry your baby for you.
Tip#6 Consider Lower Cost Donor Egg Options
Using frozen donor eggs or relying upon a friend or family member to donate her eggs can provide significant costs savings over working with agency donors and IVF clinic donor pools.
Tip#7 Minimize Travel Expenses
Consider working with a surrogate who lives within reasonable driving distance, in order to reduce travel expenses which can quickly add up, especially for airfare that must be booked at the last-minute.