Some people that decide to start a family face considerable obstacles right from the start. Where many couples take the traditional journey of having a woman become pregnant and then giving birth to a baby nine months later, others don’t have this option. Medical circumstances, such as a woman has had her uterus surgically removed to fight cancer, leave her unable to conceive of and carry a child to term traditionally.
Fortunately, in addition to adoption, surrogacy is another well-established alternative. Surrogacy is the process of another woman, medically evaluated to be suitable, volunteering to allow her uterus to be implanted with a fertilized egg. Once she goes through the pregnancy and gives birth to a child, she then allows the new would-be parents to meet their new baby and start a new life together as a family.
However, the cost of surrogacy can be high. Depending on the type of surrogacy chosen, the investment in surrogacy can be close to or even over $100,000. There’s no getting around the fact that some significant investment is required in surrogacy. Still, there are ways to reduce this cost. Here’s how.
The Most Expensive Scenario
First, let’s take a look at the “worst-case scenario” of a very expensive surrogacy. What is involved in this type of surrogacy that drives the cost up? Three factors can add to the cost of surrogacy.
The initial cost is whether surrogacy is compensated. “Compensated surrogacy” means the surrogate mother is paid for her role in the process. So, on top of the living expenses, she receives when she can no longer financially support herself, and the medical costs to care for her as the pregnancy progress, she gets money herself. This compensation is often in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Next is the specific medical technique used in surrogacy. The most expensive type of surrogacy is known as “gestational surrogacy.” It involves the use of both donor sperm and donor egg. The samples are fertilized in a lab, and it’s not unusual for more than one egg to be fertilized. Once fertilization is confirmed, there is an additional cost for something known as Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. One or both of the donors may have family disorders that may be transmitted to the next generation, such as Down’s Syndrome or cystic fibrosis. PGD evaluates every fertilized egg to ensure these disorders aren’t present. If they are, that fertilized egg isn’t used, and one of the others in the collection is picked instead.
Finally, there is an additional cost that may come from travel. In some cases, a would-be family has no choice, because surrogacy is illegal in their country of residence. France and Germany are examples of this. In other instances, it may be because the would-be family would like the higher range of choice that comes with compensated surrogacies. Still, only altruistic surrogacies are allowed in their country of residence. The multiple trips involved to organize surrogacy in another country can add to a surrogacy’s total cost.
Here’s how to keep the costs down.
Conceive With A Surrogate Naturally
To eliminate the cost of fertilization, one way to drastically reduce expenditures is to “go traditional.” Modern surrogacy, even without gestational surrogacy, usually involves artificial insemination to impregnate the surrogate. This is both more efficient for ensuring successful fertilization and less emotionally awkward for the participants.
However, before artificial insemination, and as recently as the 19th century, surrogacy was widely practiced by having the male in the relationship have sexual intercourse with the intended surrogate mother. While far less common a practice today, would reduce the cost of fertilization to “free.” However, this comes with its own emotional complications and is far less efficient for maximizing the chances of impregnation.
Find A Friend Or Relative
Finding a surrogate, even in altruistic surrogacy, can be an investment. You should always expect to provide financial assistance for the surrogate in terms of living expenses and medical care. These factors are non-negotiable if you’re interested in the health of the baby. However, finding a suitable surrogate, even for altruistic surrogacy, often involves working with an agency to find a candidate. If it’s a compensated surrogacy, there’s a high additional cost for her payment.
If you can convince a friend of the family, or another relative to agree to be the surrogate mother, and she is medically fit, this will be another massive cost reduction. Now you don’t have to pay compensation or engage the services of an agency.
Cost Vs. Choice
There is a clear cut relationship between investment and choice. The more money you are willing to invest in surrogacy, the more opportunities are available to you. The less you are ready to spend, the more limited your options become. It’s up to each would-be family to decide where the comfort zone is between finance and freedom.