Tips for saving money on your surrogacy journey
Now that January is here, many recipients will make it their new year’s resolution to make their dreams of parenthood a reality through surrogacy. Achieving this task can be daunting due to the high cost of the entire surrogacy process. Here are a few tips for keeping those costs down a bit and ensuring a positive surrogacy journey with more predictable budgeting:
1. Don’t pay your surrogate a monthly allowance and just pay for individual expenses as they arise during the course of any given month. Often times, surrogates request a flat monthly allowance to cover expenses. Usually, it’s around $200, and it covers parking, faxing, vitamins etc. Unless your surrogate mother lives in a large metropolitan area, it’s unlikely she will really need a monthly allowance. You will save money by just reimbursing her for expenses as they arise during the course of the pregnancy. Yes, you will write more checks during the month, but it will save you money to just reimburse the surrogate only for those costs as they arise.
2. Avoid selecting a surrogate who has had a previous c-section. Surrogates are always provided additional compensation for undergoing a c-section procedure. Even though there is creditable evidence that VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesearian) is safe, it is still very difficult to find a doctor or hospital that allows VBACS. So if you match with a surrogate who has had a previous c-section, It’s almost certain that your surrogate will have a repeat c-section. C-sections also come with increased hospital time, housekeeping and childcare expenses.
3. Make sure your selected surrogate is not just fertility healthy, but physically healthy. I can’t stress the importance of making sure your surrogate mom is healthy enough to become pregnant. Make sure she has a pre-conception physical by an ob-gyn or general practitioner checking her blood pressure, any signs for early diabetes or other possible health conditions that could arise during pregnancy.
4. Don’t dismiss the option of having a midwife should your surrogate want one. Midwivery has come along way. Midwives are often more personable and care more about nutrition during pregnancy than traditional physicians, and are also very proactive in ensuring the pregnancy starts and remains healthy. Their care is often less expensive yet they offer the same medical testing a doctor does. Nowadays, they often work in tandem with doctors so care can easily be transferred should an issue arise during pregnancy requiring an OB-GYN to manage care through delivery.
5. Match with a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM). Lost wages and childcare expenses can really add up. Stay at home moms help minimize these types of expenses because should unforeseen circumstances arise requiring frequent visits to the doctor, you are responsible for all lost wages and childcare expenses which may be incurred.
6. Hire an attorney familiar with surrogacy laws in the state where the surrogate lives and where the surro-baby will be born. Surrogacy is a very complicated matter. If you don’t have all of the legal paperwork done right the first time, it will have to be done again, costing you more money and lots of headaches.
7. Create a realistic budget and be upfront about it with your potential surrogate mother. Instead of starting a conversation with “how much compensation are you looking for?” instead tell the surrogate “I have budgeted $X for a base compensation fee, and $Y for expenses, and stick to it. You also need to have at least $20,000 in savings for any unanticipated expenses in case expenses arise such as extensive child care due to bed rest, issues with insurance coverage, or other costly items. Keep in mind you are asking a surrogate to carry a pregnancy 24 hours, 7 days a week, for 9 months. Make sure your budgeted base fee is a reasonable amount for this length of time.
8. Consider a second time surrogate. Even though a surrogate has previously become pregnant with her own child by having sex doesn’t mean she will become pregnant through IVF. Second time surrogates have a proven track record of success.
9. Look for a surrogate whose health insurance is covered by an employer. Their premiums and co-pays are often less than on plans purchased individually.
10. Minimize surrogate mother travel. Travel is one of the quickest ways to drain an escrow account. Between airline tickets, hotel accomodations, food costs, childcare, companion travel, car rentals, and other related costs, these costly expenses add up quickly. Hold out for a surrogate who lives in close proximity to your chosen fertility doctor.