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9 tips and tricks to finance your surrogacy journey

Eran Amir
December 28, 2020

It’s no secret that surrogacy requires a substantial investment - but there are ways to make it an achievable one. 

Just a few short years ago - in 2016 - I was an intended parent myself completely new to egg donation and surrogacy. All I knew was that I needed both to build my family in the way I had always imagined.

Today, I'm a proud father to my amazing two-year-old Ariel and founder of GoStork.com, an online platform inspired by my own journey - which makes it much easier for intended parents to find, compare, and connect directly with top fertility providers across the US.

I know what it’s like to pursue surrogacy when you don’t have any prior experience or much background information to start with. This is why I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned along the way. In this article, I’ll be addressing financing - an important element in any surrogacy journey.

9 ways to finance your fertility journey

At $75,000 to $140,000, the surrogacy price tag can feel like a deal-breaker. However, options like loans, grants, and company fertility benefits, as well as more creative approaches, such as fundraisers, can help you finance your surrogacy journey. Let’s start with loans.

Loans that can be used for surrogacy

Banks provide a number of financing options that can be utilized for surrogacy:

  • Secured Loans – tied to collateral, such as your home or retirement savings. Because of this, it has lower interest rates but you must ensure you’re timely with the repayments to avoid losing what you tied to it.
  • Unsecured Loans – if you have excellent credit, a good salary and a low debt-to-income ratio, this type of loan is a viable option
  • Home Equity Loans – using your home as collateral
  • 401(k) Loans – you can use your retirement funds by borrowing up to 50% of the account balance and repay it within the stipulated time
  • Credit Cards – due to high-interest rates, this option should only be utilized as a last resort or for minor payments
  • Family Members – they may have been with you on the journey from day one, so it may make sense for you to ask for a personal loan (only if you’re comfortable, of course – this is a very personal decision). Chances are they’ll offer you better terms than a financial institution would, saving you money along the way.

It should be noted that this is only a brief overview of the different lending options available for intended parents pursuing surrogacy. You should consult your bank and accountant to better understand your options as they pertain to your specific situation. 

Fertility financing loans 

There are companies who offer fertility-specific financing loans, such as:

To complement this, you can also check out Resolve’s extensive list of fertility financing programs.

Company fertility benefits

Companies in competitive industries often offer fertility benefits to their staff in a bid to attract and retain talent. Some of these benefits are also available for surrogacy.

Fertility packages are becoming more popular, with 31% of US employers with 500 employees or more offering such benefits in 2018 when compared to 24% in 2016. While your employer will not cover the whole cost of your surrogacy journey, fertility benefits can get you off to a good start. 

If you haven’t already, look into your benefits or speak with your Human Resources / Benefits contact about options available to you. It doesn’t hurt to encourage your employer to look into adding fertility treatment coverage if they’re still not offering it – fertility benefits are becoming more commonly expected by employees, regardless of industry.

Grants

There are multiple fertility and surrogacy grant programs that you can apply for to assist you along the way. While they can be more difficult to obtain than loans; if you’re accepted, grants can help you cover some expenses without having to worry about repayments.

Different grants are geared towards different people/situations and cover different portions of the overall process, so it’s best to research which criteria best meet your specific case and apply accordingly. Some grant examples are: 

In-house financing

Some surrogacy agencies offer in-house financing in the form of loans with partner companies or the option of payments in monthly installments. These financing options usually come at lower interest rates when compared to other commercial options, and are a good option if you’d like to manage every element of your surrogacy journey in one place. At GoStork we list if the agency offers financing options, even allowing you to sort agencies by this feature.

Fundraising

A more creative option, fundraising can take many forms. Online fundraising campaigns can help you get the word out among your family and friends. It can admittedly feel strange to be asking for money, but it’s for a great cause and you’re also giving them a chance to get involved in and excited about your journey to parenthood. Maybe just tell them not to get you birthday or other holiday gifts for at least a few years!

A garage sale, selling handmade or unwanted items online or a (safely socially-distanced) fundraising BBQ, can get you extra cash to add to the surrogacy pot. 

Insurance 

Insurance policies on surrogacy coverage vary greatly from one provider to another, so there’s no straightforward answer as to what’s covered and what isn’t. That said, it pays to get smart with your insurance. Ask which medical costs insurance will cover for the surrogate and the baby — not all providers will cover a surrogate pregnancy, but they may still cover other fertility costs and procedures, like IVF. The ideal way forward is to review your policy with a specialist to find out which costs you’ll have to cover out-of-pocket. 

Savings

It’s never too early to start saving. Set up a dedicated savings account just for this purpose – soon enough, the numbers will start adding up. With outings curbed, commuting cut, and less money spent on eating out, the (very faint) silver lining of Covid-19 is that it’s given us more saving opportunities. 

My article How Much Does Surrogacy Cost? A Breakdown for Intended Parents contains helpful insight into the actual cost of surrogacy – broken down into each component – to help you plan better.

Tax deductions

There are many questions when it comes to surrogacy tax laws – at both a federal and state level, there are no firm answers as to whether gestational carrier expenses are deductible as a medical expense.

According to Client Whys, “medical expenses paid for a surrogate mother and her unborn child would not qualify for deduction under § 213(a)”. That said, there are elements of the process which may fall under personal medical care in the case of an infertility diagnosis, and also the option of taking the Private Letter Ruling (PLR) route. Given these ambiguities and possibilities, it’s best to consult with your accountant and tax professional to go over your specific case.

Start planning for your future family with Hatch and GoStork

The financial aspect of surrogacy can easily feel overwhelming. However, as Candace Wohl, co-writer of the award-winning blog Our Misconception, mom of two, and infertility advocate notes in an interview with GoStork, while surrogacy is expensive, it is also doable: “We are not independently wealthy, I can’t sing like Beyoncé, and we financially survived two successful surrogacies. It is possible.”

With the right preparations and some assistance along the way, you, too, can survive the financial commitment surrogacy entails. Go through your options, apply for funding, save wisely and, more importantly, stay positive! 

About the Author: Eran Amir

With more than 20 years of experience, Eran Amir has worked as both a software development and product management executive in Israel and the Greater New York Area. The development of GoStork combines his professional experience with a personal mission. After undergoing a long, difficult, and costly process to expand his family via surrogacy, Amir vowed to help other intended parents avoid the complexity and confusion he experienced. His passion led to the creation of GoStork, which proudly names Amir’s two-year-old daughter as its co-founder.

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