Through our podcast we have met so many dads in various stages of the parenthood journey. But whether it's in gay dad Facebook groups or in face-to-face interaction, there's no doubt that the biggest issue gay dads tackle is the cost of surrogacy.
Bringing a biological baby into the world can cost $180,000. For twins it can be around a quarter million. The biggest question is: Can we make it cheaper?
In our season premiere of Daddy Squared we decided to dive into the costs of surrogacy and try to figure out how flexible (downward, we mean) these costs are. The first step for us was to find a surrogacy agency that we can trust and that agrees to be transparent with us on the money issue. Our motto was: no hidden costs.
Yan conducted research by asking gay dads in Facebook groups and dads in the community on our Instagram account. In the research, Circle Surrogacy was the #1 agency that dads were happy with in terms of client service and support. We turned to Circle Surrogacy asked to talk about money, and surprisingly (to us) we were answered quickly and warmly.
According to Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, costs can be flexed up or flexed down based on small choices you can make along the journey. Examples include travel costs, surrogate location, egg donor history, etc.
"When you're going through a journey like this there are, unfortunately, quite a few 'fingers in the pie' with regard to costs," Hyde explains, "and I think that what drives confusion sometimes, or anxiety around the costs, is the different parties that are involved."
"To break it down at a high level, there are a couple of big buckets you'll be looking at when it comes to cost," Sam says. "The first one that I list, just because of my position, is the agency fee. This is the cost associated with the surrogacy or egg donation agency that will help you and holds your hand along the journey."
During our research we realized that some agencies (Circle, for example) include in their fees all the legal costs as well. Other agencies use an outside fertility lawyer that bills separately, so when comparing agency fees make sure you're comparing "apples to apples."
"The second bucket," continued Sam Hyde, "is compensation for the actual women helping you along on this journey. So that's compensation for the egg donor to go through a cycle to produce the eggs that create the embryos, and compensation for the gestational surrogate who carries the child.
"The third big bucket you'll run into is costs around the actual medical care that needs to be done. You'll work with a clinic that you'll pay for the medical work of the journey.
"The last big bucket that you'll run into is about maternity insurance. This is usually a point of confusion for some of our international clients who come from countries with a universal coverage. In the U.S. we need to put insurance vehicles in place for both the egg donor and the surrogate."
There are ways that we think can make the journey easier financially. Most of these ways also affect the amount of time it will take you to have a baby—they will stretch out the "journey." Here are things that you can look at in order to save up to $30,000 or even more in your surrogacy costs:
1. PAUSE between the first stage and the second stage. This pause will help you rest a little bit from the madness and regroup financially. The first stage is easier financial, and very crucial and stressful.
2. Choose an egg donor who is closer to the fertility clinic that you work with (can reduce travel costs for her)
3. Choose a surrogate who is relatively close to you and the clinic, but does not reside in a high-demand state
4. When selecting an egg donor, consult with the fertility clinic before the final choice. Analysis of your semen and the egg donor's medical past can save the costs of PGD testing
5. Negotiate with fertility clinics about waving extra prices (like second sperm analysis)
6. Choose an agency that has an in-house fertility lawyer and includes the attorney prices in its overall fee.
About Circle Surrogacy
Circle was founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to be a parent. To this day, that belief is at the core of everything we do. For over 20 years we've helped straight and LGBTQ+ couples and singles around the world fulfill their dreams of parenthood. We've helped bring more than 1,900 babies into this world… and counting.
We're an agency comprised of social workers and lawyers, accountants and outreach associates, and program managers and coordinators; but, more importantly, we're an agency made up of parents, surrogates and egg donors, who are passionate about helping people build their families, and invested in each and every journey.
Sam Hyde, President, Circle Surrogacy
Sam joined Circle 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 with the help of IVF.