At a Glance
Surrogacy is when a woman consents to carry a pregnancy for the intended parent(s) who cannot conceive independently. There are two types of surrogacies: Traditional surrogacy uses the surrogate mother’s egg for conception. In contrast, gestational surrogacy is performed by transferring embryos made through IVF with eggs from the intended mother (or a donor).
According to some estimates, more than 700 babies are born every year using a gestational surrogate. While it is becoming a more popular option for some people who want to be parents, it also can be expensive. Luckily, there are some financing options available.
In this article, you will learn:
Personal loans for financing surrogacy
Costs for surrogacy can vary and be difficult to predict, but knowing the average is around $100,000 can be daunting. For many intended parents’ surrogacy is not something they are willing to compromise on, which is why they may consider taking out a personal loan.
Personal loans are a type of secured or unsecured financing that you can use to cover expenses related to surrogacy. These loans have fixed interest rates and monthly payments, making them predictable and easier to pay off. Terms can vary, and interest rates can be lower for borrowers who have great credit scores, steady income, and a low debt-to-income ratio.
And, with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $100,000, many surrogacy expenses can be covered. Get a personal loan from a bank, credit union, or online lender.
Related: Medical Loans
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What is the average cost of surrogacy?
It is estimated that the average cost of surrogacy in the U.S. is about $100,000, though it can be less or more depending on factors such as your location, age, insurance coverage, the type of surrogacy you choose, whether you use an agency, and others.
What credit score is required for a surrogacy loan?
It’s important to have as good of a credit score as possible when you apply for a surrogacy loan. The better your score, the lower the interest rate you’ll be offered. That said, you’ll need at least a 580 to qualify for a surrogacy loan since most medical and surrogacy loans are just a type of personal loan. You may find more or better options with a score of at least 660 or higher.
Pros and cons of using personal loans for surrogacy
Other ways to pay for surrogacy
When exploring financing options, a personal loan may be best for well-qualified borrowers with good credit who can create and stick to a plan to pay back the loan over the required term. However, there are also other options available:
1. Credit cards
You may be able to pay for some surrogacy expenses using a credit card. If you have a rewards card that offers cash back or earns points or miles, you may want to consider using a credit card when you can. However, credit card interest rates can be extremely high and outstanding balances can accumulate interest quickly. It is important to only charge what you can pay off in full each month.
2. Home equity loans
If you own your home, you may be able to use it as collateral for a home equity loan, which is essentially a second mortgage. The amount you can borrow depends on factors such as your credit history, income, and home value, and is typically limited to 85% of your home’s equity. Repay these loans via monthly payments over a fixed term.
Home equity loans are easier to qualify for and you can use the funds for anything you would like. However, they put your home at risk of foreclosure if you are not able to repay the loan and the interest rates can be high if you have bad credit. Additionally, if the value of your house declines, you could owe more than your home is worth.
Related: Home Equity Loan
3. 401(k) loans
A 401(k) loan is just as it sounds – a loan from your 401(k). These retirement accounts typically allow a person to borrow up to 50% of their account balance or $50,000, whichever is less, but the amount can vary based on provider. In most cases, repayments are made through automatic deductions from the borrower’s paycheck.
While this can be a good option for quick access to funds, especially since it does not require a strong credit score or history, it is important to remember that anything you take out will not be earning, so your overall retirement fund total can stall. Depending on how long it takes to repay the loan, this could put a dent in your retirement plans.
And, if you leave your job, you must repay what you have borrowed in full.
4. Agency financing
Some surrogacy agencies offer in-house financing or payment plans, or partner with organizations that offer fertility loans and grants. These in-house loans function just as any other type of loan, with loan amounts, terms, and interest rates depending on your credit, income, and other factors. Then, you would repay the loan via fixed monthly payments over a certain period.
However, with other types of loans, it is important to compare all your options before deciding. You may find lower rates or better terms elsewhere.
5. Borrowing from friends and family
Not everyone is comfortable asking friends or family for money, but this can be a way to help cover some surrogacy costs. If you go this route, make sure you outline in writing how much you are expected to repay and over what period. Then, it is important to repay them as soon as possible to avoid any negative impacts to your relationship.
6. Surrogacy grants
Grants are another way to secure surrogacy financing and can be an excellent option for intended parents as they are non-repayable. Grants are awarded annually to families who meet certain qualifications and complete the application process, which can vary by organization. Some examples of organizations that offer surrogacy grants include:
- Pay it Forward Fertility Grants
- Baby Quest Foundation
- Family Formation Charitable Trust
- Journey to Parenthood Grant
- Life Grants
While these grants may not cover all the costs associated with surrogacy, they can help ease some of the financial burden.
What are the different types of surrogacy expenses?
Depending on which type of surrogacy you choose, you will have different expenses. But in general, you can reasonably expect to incur medical expenses, legal fees, and compensation to the surrogate. Here are some other expenses involved with surrogacy and how much they may cost.
1. Fertility tests and treatments
Some surrogacies begin with fertility tests for both the intended parents and gestational carriers, as well as additional health screenings completed by the fertility clinic. This usually isn’t covered by insurance and can cost an average of $4,000 to $7,000.
If your surrogacy involves in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, this can add to the cost.
2. Embryo creation
For surrogacy, eggs can be fertilized via IFV or intrauterine insemination (IUI). Traditional surrogacy can use either IUI or IVF, but gestational surrogacy requires IVF.
IVF is more complicated and resource-intensive and typically involves multiple steps including egg collection and fertilization. This means it is more expensive, averaging up to $20,000 or more. IUI is less intensive, so it costs much less, typically ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
While many fertility treatments are not considered “medically necessary” by insurance, you may be able to get some services covered to lower the cost.
3. Egg donation
If you must also pay for egg donation, you will likely need to pay an egg donor fee which can cost up to $7,000 or more. Additionally, you may need to pay storage fees until the eggs are used.
4. Surrogate insurance and compensation
Insurance and compensation for surrogacy can vary significantly depending on a variety of factors. For example, if you use a friend or family member as a surrogate their compensation may be $0, while experienced surrogates may charge $50,000 or more.
Additionally, the parents-to-be are usually asked to pay the surrogate’s insurance premiums during the pregnancy, which could run about $500 to $1,000 per month.
5. Surrogacy agency fees
This is another expense that can have a wide range based on the services offered and received. In general, a surrogacy agency will help match intended parents with a surrogate, offer screening services to ensure everyone is physically and emotionally prepared for the process, coordinate logistics, and more.
Working with a surrogacy agency can help make the process easier, ensuring a smooth and positive journey, but doing so will cost you between $15,000 and $30,000 on average. However, it’s optional to work with an agency, so you can save significant costs by opting not to.
6. Legal fees
Working with a qualified attorney is essential when contemplating and completing surrogacy. The attorney will draft the surrogacy contract, clearly outlining each party’s financial and behavioral obligations, arrange legal custody, and more.
These fees can vary based on the services you need and state requirements, but you can expect to pay up to $10,000.
7. Labor and delivery
Pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care costs about $19,000 on average, though insurance will cover a substantial portion of that. Out-of-pocket costs with insurance are closer to about $7,000 (assuming no complications). However, insurance coverage and hospital charges can vary based on carrier, plan, facility, location, and other factors.
Intended parents will usually be responsible for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance, and if the surrogate does not have insurance, intended parents can choose to purchase a maternity-only or short-term policy to help pay for costs.
8. Other expenses
Having multiple children, a C-section birth or birth complications, hospitalization of the surrogate or infant, travel, and other complications or factors can increase the cost of surrogacy. If you are exploring surrogacy options, make sure you include extra funds to account for unforeseen expenses.
How to save money while opting for surrogacy
Even with financing, intended parents may be looking for ways to save on surrogacy-related expenses. There are things you can do to lower costs or save money:
1. Consider asking a friend or family to be a surrogate. Doing this can cut out agency fees, surrogate fees, and other costs. While this may not cost $0, it will likely be significantly less than going through an agency. You may also be able to get discounted surrogacy services.
2. Compare fertility clinics. You may find one clinic costs less than another or more services are covered by insurance.
3. Shop around for agencies. Surrogate agencies can vary significantly in services offered and costs. Compare a variety of agencies based on services you are looking for and costs that can fit better in your budget. Also ask about financing or payment plan options.
4. Pick and choose what services you need. While intended parents want to do everything possible to ensure the success of a surrogacy, there may be some services you can opt-out of to reduce costs.
5. Consider your insurance options. Evaluate which costs will be covered by your insurance, and research other options that may be better for insuring the surrogate and your baby.
There are several different types of adoptions, and the cost can vary based on a variety of factors. In some cases, adoptions may be completely free of charge, while others may cost up to $60,000 or more. With the average surrogacy journey costing about $100,000, adoption is cheaper in many cases.
Taking out a personal or other type of loan for a surrogacy journey can impact your credit score in a few ways. When you first apply for financing it will trigger a hard credit inquiry, which can slightly lower your score. Making payments on time each month and lowering your total debt can increase your score, but making late or missing payments can significantly hurt your score.
Banks can provide both secured and unsecured loans for surrogacy.
Yes, you can likely find a lender who will approve your application for a surrogacy loan. However, if you have poor credit, you may not be approved for desirable terms and you may have a higher interest rate, so the loan will cost you more over time. It’s better to try to improve your score before applying for financing if you can.