Affording Surrogacy: 9 Tips for Intended Parents
Surrogacy is exciting and life-fulfilling, but it’s also expensive. We get it. There are IVF fees, legal fees, agency fees, and insurance costs, not to mention the surrogate’s compensation. These costs of surrogacy do add up.
Cash is "King" and is certainly the easiest way for intended parents to pay for the surrogacy process. But most of us don’t have that kind of ready cash available. Fortunately, there are some creative means available to intended parents who are feeling the financial squeeze while trying to pursue surrogacy.
Let's take a look at some potential options.
Tip #1: Home Equity Loans
Do you own a home? If you do, and there is some equity beyond the existing mortgage balance, then a home equity loan may be a good option for you.
Tip #2: 401(k) Plans
Most people have been trained to believe that 401(k) money can only be withdrawn at the time and age of retirement status to avoid high penalty charges. However, did you know that you can actually borrow from your existing 401(k) plan and pay yourself back overtime, with interest, without any penalties being assessed? This method does exist, and your financial advisor can be your advocate on this.
Tip #3: Agency Payment Structures
Many agencies, including New England Surrogacy, work with their intended parents to break down payments into more manageable segments that are paid over time. A certain amount may be due up-front additionally, but future payments do not become due until further along in the surrogacy process in order to somewhat ease the financial burden. At New England Surrogacy, our program is structured so that you can sign on as an intended parent at no cost. The first agency installment payment is not due until you accept a match with a specific gestational carrier. And the second installment payment is not due until the legal contract with your gestational carrier is completed.
Tip #4: Grants & Scholarships
There are several grants and/or scholarships available to assist intended parents in building their families. Grants rely heavily on donations and as a result, not all grants are fully funded all of the time. Timing is an important factor during the application process and it is important to do thorough research on all available grants and scholarships before applying. Learn more about specific grants and scholarships on our surrogacy resources page.
Tip #5: Low Interest Credit Cards
You may be fortunate enough to receive an offer for a low-interest credit card. Credit cards can be used to pay for a lot of the medical and travel expenses associated with surrogacy. Most IVF clinics accept credit cards. This means you can cover the surrogate’s screening expenses and embryo transfer related costs with a credit card. Credit cards can also be useful for medications and for co-pays associated with prenatal care (just have the OB/GYN’s office keep your credit card information on file). Certainly you can place all of your travel expenses on a credit card, but also check if your agency will allow for the surrogate’s travel to also be booked on your credit card. And, finally, most lawyers accept credit cards so use the card to pay for your own legal fees. Also, inquire if the gestational carrier’s attorney will let you pay with a credit card in lieu of going through the escrow account.
Tip #6: Fertility Financing Options
Again, on our surrogacy resources page, we have a list of financing options geared toward IVF and surrogacy. For some intended parents, a private loan makes sense as a way to fund the journey without tapping into your home’s equity or into your 401(k).
Tip #7: Ask for Discounts
If you are a cancer survivor or a member of the military, make sure you ask for discounts. Many IVF professionals offer these kinds of discounts but don't publicize them. So be sure to inquire. At New England Surrogacy, we are proud to offer a 20% discount on our agency fee for active-duty military personnel.
Tip #8: Maximize Your Insurance Benefits
If your current health insurance plan does not provide coverage for IVF, consider switching to a different health plan during open enrollment. You will want to check with your employer for open enrollment dates that apply to insurance received through your job. There is also the option of signing up for an individual Affordable Care Act plan, which may provide better coverage than your existing plan through your job. This may be of particular benefit to intended parents who live in states with infertility coverage mandates, but do not receive the benefit of such mandates because their employer provided health plan is self-funded. Open enrollment for these ACA plans takes place during a very limited time period, so you need to act within that window. Contact our friends at ART Risk Solutions for more information on how to sign up.
Additionally, if you feel your health insurance plan is inappropriately denying your claims or benefits for IVF, consider whether you should appeal that decision. A successful appeal may save you tens of thousands of dollars in IVF costs! Learn more about navigating the insurance appeal process.
Tip #9: Freebies
Finally: Attend the RESOLVE New England Conference and enter the raffle to win some IVF-related freebies. In the past, this has included free legal services and free egg donation agency services. Don’t forget to stop by our table to say “hi”.
Ready to learn more about becoming an intended parent through surrogacy? Contact us today to schedule your free consult.