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Posted By YouMeMine on 04/09/2021

How to Pay for a Surrogacy Journey – Including the Bumps in the Road

How to Pay for a Surrogacy Journey – Including the Bumps in the Road

Surrogacy is a compassionate family-building option, that provides a path to parenthood for people who might not have one otherwise. Even so, it can be breathtakingly expensive. According to Family Equality Council, a nonprofit organization that serves the LGBTQ+ community, gestational surrogacy can cost anywhere from $60,000 - $150,000, or more

Most surrogacy journeys today are defined as gestational surrogacy. This means that the person carrying the pregnancy did not conceive with their own eggs. If you use a gestational surrogate, you will either use yours or your partner’s eggs, or a donor’s eggs. 

To unravel the costs of surrogacy, and to get tips for budgeting, we turned to Sam Hyde, the President of Circle Surrogacy, and a parent through IVF. 


YMM - When intended parents first consider surrogacy, they often feel overwhelmed by the fees they are quoted. Can you condense these down for us?

SH - Yes, there are four buckets of costs:


YMM: How do intended parents fund a surrogacy journey?

SH - There are multiple avenues that people use to procure funding for family building options such as surrogacy. Many people use several, instead of just one. They include: 

Accumulated savings 

If you know you will need a surrogate to carry a pregnancy for you, start saving early. Many gay men begin putting aside earnings for surrogacy when they’re still in their early twenties, with or without a significant other.


Family network 

We’ve found that potential grandparents are often happy to help fund surrogacy, when they are able to afford to do so. 


Home equity line of credit 

If you are a homeowner, a HELOC loan is a low-interest way to tap into the equity you have built into your home. 


Financing companies 

There are several financing companies that intended parents may consider. They include:  CapexMD, Best Egg, and Prosper.


In-house Financing 

Circle Surrogacy has our own in-house financing arm, called Origin, that our intended parents can access. Through Origin, you can acquire a $65,000 unsecured loan that is repayable over three or six years, at an interest rate of between 6-7%. 


Fund raising platforms 

People also run financing campaigns on platforms such as GoFundMe.

YMM - What helpful hints do you have for intended parents to help them budget for their surrogacy journey?

SH - 

Generate a timeline of what you’re trying to achieve. Build that timeline with your budget side-by-side, so you know what payments will be due when. 

From a budgeting perspective, take a very deliberate, planned approach to the timeline of your journey. These journeys are very easy to slow down at multiple points, but they are difficult to speed up. 

For intended parents with a solid plan in mind, who know that they would like to have their baby come home by a specific time, budget out the cost per month, so you can build in pauses during which you can replenish your savings. Build in a buffer for bumps in the road. Understand the sources of variability.

It’s OK to start the process and take breaks. For example, you can choose your egg donor, create embryos and freeze them to use in several months or later, rather than going through with the transfer and pregnancy immediately. Once you’re ready, you can match with a surrogate and proceed.

Most Importantly, have a good understanding of the variability of the surrogacy journey, and the program structure you’re signing up for. People don’t realize how quickly the costs can get out of control. If you hit a bump or two in the road, like a failed transfer, miscarriage, or the need for a new surrogate, those costs can spiral quickly. 

Intended parents who hit a bump in the road may say that they had a one in a million bad thing happen to them on their journey. The truth is, there are millions of things that can go wrong, some that are not entirely uncommon, during a surrogacy journey. 


YMM - What questions should IPs ask an agency regarding financing and cost?


1. Ask them which costs are fixed and what costs are variable.

When you’re choosing an agency, require cost transparency. That’s rule #1. 

A lot of agencies have fixed costs for their professional fees, but costs such as the surrogate’s fee, travel, bedrest, insurance, and contingencies (e.g., if the surrogate needs a c-section) are not fixed – the parents simply pay whatever the actual costs are for their specific scenario. 

For the variable costs, you want to know the range of variability. For instance, two sources of variability in travel are the airfare and hotel. But what if the surrogate or egg donor needs to travel again? Know how many trips the agency is budgeting for – for example, a single transfer may require two trips to the clinics – once for screening, and once for the transfer itself. If you have a failed transfer, the surrogate will need to travel back yet again to the clinic. 

2. Find out if insurance is ever denied and if so, who pays the cost?

One of the biggest sources of variability in cost is insurance coverage for maternity care during the journey. The different ways that agencies choose to insure surrogates varies tremendously – some are more reliable than others, and it is important to understand these. Often parents will want to use the surrogate’s existing health insurance to cover those maternity costs – but insurance companies may end up denying those claims. In that instance, who is responsible in your journey? At Circle, we’re the only agency to have implemented a fixed fee price for all insurance coverage, regardless of the scenario. 

3. Ask what are your success rates for a take-home baby?

Also keep in mind that most agencies don’t publish their success rates. Always ask an agency what their take-home baby rate is. 

As far as I know, the overall success rate from gestational surrogacy is around 80-83%. Twenty percent or so of people who have paid an enormous amount of money for a service, go home without a child because of the bumps in the road. The established agencies in the field have success rates much higher than the numbers above, driven by their ability to control and/or mitigate the myriad of issues that can arise during a journey. 


Sam Hyde joined Circle Surrogacy in 2017, after spending 10 years advising and building a variety of businesses. Having experienced fertility challenges when starting his own family, Sam understands firsthand the importance of support and help to fulfill dreams of parenthood. Sam and his wife are now blessed with two beautiful girls through the help of IVF.

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