No one likes to talk about money but being willing to do so and having all monetary information at your fingertips will make your surrogacy journey much more enjoyable.
The surrogacy process is very expensive, no matter how you approach it. There are many different areas of costs, but they can be generally grouped into three sections: funds paid to your Agency; who can be thought of as the manager of the process, funds paid to the clinic; the medical facilitator of the process, and funds paid to your surrogate and donor, who are at the heart of the process. Grouping funds in this way can help you to understand what you can do to eliminate cost overruns wherever possible.
Beginning with your Agency, you should have a clear guide on what exactly is included in Agency costs. Are there costs that are not included in the Agency fee that you will need to pay? Those should be budgeted for even if not included in their overall fee. What happens if there is a need for re-matching with a different surrogate, will you have to pay additional fees? Be sure to ask detailed questions when you are interviewing Agencies about anticipated costs paid to the Agency throughout. The Men Having Babies web site is a good resource for price and costs comparisons also.
The second area of payments concerns the payments to the clinic. There are many different price structures at clinics. What may at first seem to be the cheapest option may not include prices for medications, or multiple transfers. Carefully consider if an unlimited transfer plan may offer more of a guarantee and a set amount of costs for your planning. We often see costs rise if there are issues in the medical process such as needing a second donor or second transfer. Planning for that possibility at the outset can help you to have greater ease of mind if things do not go perfectly on the first attempt.
The third area of cost concerns the people at the heart of your journey, the surrogate and donor. The variability of costs here is great, and because we are relying on human beings, there is also a greater possibility of things not going according to a perfect plan. For Egg Donation, the items to consider if you are looking to keep costs low are the donor’s proximity to the clinic, her compensation, and lost wages, and if she is a proven donor. Though you will pay a higher compensation for a proven or experienced donor, there may be savings in the knowledge of how her first donations went. This knowledge can lead to more efficient medications being prescribed, and a better guarantee that her donation will be as successful as the first donation was in terms of eggs retrieved.
For your surrogate, the factors most important to consider if you are trying to keep costs as low as possible are to consider her insurance coverage and out of pocket maxes on her insurance, and her lost wages for bed rest. Another key factor is the transfer of a single embryo rather than two embryos. With the transfer of two embryos, things can more quickly spiral to the more costly range of expenses. Twins pregnancies result in more trips to the doctor, payment of the twins fee and expenses, housekeeping, and in most cases, some bed rest. It is with bed rest that we see costs rise quickly- because if a surrogate is on extended bed rest then paying her salary and housekeeping for non-working hours can quickly be very costly. The best way to mitigate those expenses is to consider a disability or bed rest policy to help cover her wages and to consider the transfer of a single embryo. In the case of Insurance coverage, you will not be able to be choosy, but your Agency should be able to tell you the details of her policy and out of pocket max so that you can plan what expenses to expect for the delivery bills.
Summarily – it is important to have a plan and be detailed when trying to keep costs as low as possible in your surrogacy journey. You should have a clear idea of what you can afford through your regular finances, and also consider areas where you could tap additional funds if it became necessary. Generally, we recommend budgeting 10% of your total budget for an unexpected cost. You would not want to run short of funds in the middle of your journey and have that cause undue stress to you and your surrogate partner in the journey. Over-planning your budget in the beginning can prevent issues and lead to a more smooth journey.