How Much Money Is Needed?

May 30, 2024 by Frank Golden

Surrogacy journey expenses and buying your dream home. Have you ever wondered what these two have in common? Surprisingly, it’s not the start of a joke. There are more parallels between the two than you might think. Just like house hunting, understanding surrogacy journey expenses is crucial. By gaining a clear understanding of the financial aspects involved in surrogacy, you can better prepare for the financial landscape ahead. This will also help you make informed decisions that will help turn your dreams of parenthood into reality. This Surrogacy Talk will guide you through the expected costs, hidden fees, and essential budgeting tips to ensure you’re financially ready for your surrogacy journey. Above all, let’s answer the question “how much money is needed?”

The Dream Home

Picture this: you are saving up for the house of your dreams. While this is a goal that may seem out of reach at first, with careful planning, is entirely within your grasp. You meticulously budget, stash away funds, and even start envisioning what shade of white you want the living room walls to be (eggshell white, duh). Sure, the price tag may seem intimidating, but you’re confident that with dedication, you’ll make your dream home a reality.

After countless hours scrolling through Zillow listings and driving through neighborhoods, you stumble upon it—the perfect house, just waiting for you to call it home. Months and years of financial discipline finally pay off. As a result, you have not only saved up enough, but even have some extra cash to splurge on that backyard pool you’ve always dreamed of. It feels like your homeownership dreams are about to come true. Or so you thought.

The Reality Check

As you sit down with the realtor, who proudly told you that his middle name is “Dealmaker,” you receive some disappointing news. Despite the assurances from Mr. “Dealmaker” himself, you find yourself falling short financially. How could this happen? You thought you had a clear understanding of the costs involved, so why are you suddenly coming up short? You thought you knew how much money is needed.

Now, I’m no realtor. But I do know a thing or two about navigating complex journeys—specially building a family through gestational surrogacy. Surprisingly, the process shares more similarities with buying a house than you might imagine.

Just like the complexities of purchasing a home, the financial side of a surrogacy journey can be incredibly confusing. Estimated costs, actual financial requirements, hidden fees, these are all topics that are critical to keep in mind when embarking on this costly experience. Whether it’s the path to homeownership or parenthood, having a clear understanding of how much money is needed and the financial landscape is crucial. It ensures you are making informed decisions that align with your goals and needs.

But before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, let’s set the record straight. I’m not here to lecture you on how to buy your dream house. Instead, I’m here to help you understand the difference between the estimated costs of a surrogacy journey and the real financial picture you’ll need to bring your family dreams to life.

How much money is needed to start a surrogacy journey?

The Cost Breakdown

Let’s breakdown the typical cost categories associated with a surrogacy journey. If we were to compare this to budgeting for your dream home, these costs would parallel paying the realtor, making the down payment, covering the home inspection, and handling closing costs. Additionally, it would involve accounting for HOA fees. These are the initial surrogacy journey expenses that your budget will need to accommodate as you embark on your journey. These are also often the expenses that surrogacy agencies proudly advertise as the only costs you’ll need to consider. However, as we’ll soon discover, these agencies might be misleading you (remember Mr. “Dealmaker”?).

Now, let’s break down how much money is needed for the primary cost categories:

Surrogacy Agency Fees:

These usually start around $30,000, marking a key point in your financial planning.

Surrogate Compensation:

You will need to set aside an extra $50,000 for your Surrogate’s compensation. Additionally, allocate about $20,000 for various benefits.

Legal Expenses:

Safeguarding your journey legally comes with an average cost of $10,000.

Clinical Fees:

IVF procedures make up a hefty chunk, averaging about $15,000. Let’s assume you’ve already sorted out embryos to simplify the math.

Newborn Insurance:

It’s crucial to account for about $7,000 to ensure coverage for your little one.

In total, the cost breakdown of these categories amounts to $132,000. Returning to our dream house metaphor, these represent the price tag costs. However, as we’ve come to understand, there’s always more beneath the surface (much like that dream pool you wanted).

For a deeper dive into these numbers, be sure to check out the Surrogacy Talk episode, “How Much Does Surrogacy Cost?” Ultimately, whether you decide to work with Golden or another agency, you deserve nothing less than accuracy and transparency.

Gay dads smile while holding their newborn baby.

Escrow Requirements

In addition to much money is needed for those price tag costs, there is one key aspect we cannot overlook: escrow requirements mandated by surrogacy agencies. Before your Surrogate begins her medications, you’ll need to fully fund your escrow account. This includes your Surrogate’s base compensation of $50,000 and the $20,000 in benefits. This also includes an additional $50,000 to potentially cover unforeseen circumstances and incidentals.

You may be thinking, why do I need to cough up cash for something that may never happen?

However, this extra $50,000 cushion ensures that you are ready for anything. Whether it’s rare circumstances or potential lost wages due to situations like a C-section or extended bed rest. Whether or not these circumstances will actually happen, you’ll need to have these funds in your escrow account before starting your surrogacy journey. This may seem unnecessary. However, this provides you and your Surrogate with peace of mind, knowing that should an unforeseen circumstance arise, you won’t have to scramble for funds. Plus, it’s usually a legal requirement.

How Much Money Is Needed?

So, while you might initially budget for the price tag cost of $132,000, the reality of surrogacy journey expenses demands a more substantial financial cushion. To start your surrogacy journey incorporating the scenario I have outlined, you would actually need to have around $182,000 ($132,000 + $50,000) in liquid funds available. Keep in mind, this number has the potential to be higher or lower depending on your situation (agency fees, Surrogate compensation, Surrogate insurance disposition, embryo creation status, and number of attempts).

How much money is needed to meet the escrow requirements for your surrogacy journey?

Golden’s Recommendation

Whether you’re planning to buy your dream house or build the family of your dreams, navigating the financial landscape requires a comprehensive understanding of all the surrogacy journey expenses involved. For your surrogacy journey, this means ensuring you’re well-informed about the financial requirements of your escrow account. This is an essential step for kickstarting your path to parenthood.

Drawing from my experience as both a former Intended Parent and current agency director, I also highly recommend asking your agency whether your surrogacy arrangement will necessitate a lump sum payment or if it can be divided into manageable milestones. This crucial detail will not only shape your financial strategy but also influence the structure of your gestational surrogacy agreement.

While scrolling through Zillow, choosing superior shades of white paint (it’s still eggshell), and discussing potential baby names are great steps towards achieving your dreams, it’s equally essential to understand the financial landscape ahead. Without this knowledge, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and heartbreak. Given the level of planning, saving, and budgeting you’re investing in your journey, you owe it to yourself to be equipped with the insights and confidence necessary to make your dreams into reality.

Seven individuals join hands and form a circle.