Cost Of Surrogacy With Family Member
A few years ago I read an article about a couple in India who had been trying for over two decades to conceive naturally and were now considering using an Indian surrogate mother to have their own child. It was heart-breaking to read about such a long struggle to become parents. The husband had decided not to pay any money toward the surrogacy because he felt it would just deplete his savings. He didn’t want to spend money on anything that might fail or disappoint him later. So they hired a local woman at home to carry their child — but she miscarried after only six weeks. And even though they’d already spent tens of thousands of dollars, they still hadn’t gotten what they wanted.
The same scenario could play out here in the U.S., especially when we consider how expensive the process can be. A person seeking a surrogate through a fertility clinic in New York City can easily end up paying upwards of $100,000, plus expenses. That’s why many people are turning to alternative methods like gestational surrogacy, where one egg from the intended parent is implanted into the womb of another woman (usually the surrogate) as a pregnancy partner. This method often costs less than traditional surrogacy, since there is no need for IVF procedures, medications or lab fees. But even so, this option can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $60,000 per birth.
Surrogacy also involves risks, including high medical bills, complications during delivery and rejection by the surrogate. For these reasons, some intended parents decide to use a third party instead of hiring someone directly. They do this by choosing a family member as their surrogate. In order to make sure the relationship works well, however, the intended parents should first understand what their options are.
There are several different ways in which a person may find a family member willing to carry her baby. One way is to search online. You can browse sites like www.surragymatch.com and www.fertileamerica.net, both of which provide links to donor banks and other resources. Another option is to contact your doctor and ask whether he knows anyone who would be interested in carrying your child. If none of these avenues produce results, you might try posting a request on a message board or bulletin board at your church.
In addition to finding a surrogate, you’ll also need to determine how much money you’re going to put down. Since the total cost of surrogacy varies widely depending upon factors like location, number of embryos transferred and length of gestation, it can be challenging to estimate exactly how much it will cost. However, most programs require a deposit of at least 10 percent, with the balance due upon completion of the procedure.
It’s important to note that although working with a relative as a surrogate has its advantages, it isn’t right for everyone. People who opt to go this route usually prefer someone close to them; otherwise, they worry that their emotions might get in the way of making sound decisions. Additionally, if you don’t live near your chosen family member, arranging travel to see her every day can be difficult. Lastly, it takes time and energy to build a strong relationship, and sometimes it doesn’t develop quickly enough to ensure healthy pregnancies.
To learn more about the potential benefits and drawbacks of family member surrogacy, talk with your physician or attorney about your situation.
Although it appears that family member surrogacy is becoming increasingly popular, according to recent estimates, only 0.1 percent of all births took place via this method in 2007. Despite this low number, the trend seems set to grow. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, nearly 40 states currently allow gestational surrogacy, while 12 states specifically permit related parties to act as legal parents.
Costs Associated with Gestational Surrogacy
According to the 2005 National Survey of Fertility Practices, the average fee for a standard IVF cycle is roughly $7,200. By contrast, IVG cycles typically charge an average of $4,500. These prices include everything except the surrogate’s salary, which comes from the intended parents’ pocket.
Gestational surrogates earn higher wages than donors, mostly because they receive health insurance coverage. Donors, on the other hand, must purchase private health insurance. Although the price tag is generally lower for gestational surrogacy, the difference in earnings is minimal. In fact, the extra expense may actually encourage some women to pursue the program.
In addition to monetary compensation, you should factor in various nonmonetary incentives. For example, the surrogate needs to take time off after giving birth to bond with the child. Some programs offer financial assistance, allowing the surrogate to keep part of her payment until she begins to show signs of attachment to the baby. Finally, if the surrogate becomes pregnant again, she gets additional compensation based on the number of babies born.
Another potential benefit of working with a close friend is reduced stress levels and anxiety. Many couples agree that having a biological connection helps minimize feelings of jealousy and insecurity. Some women feel better knowing their children will look like them, whereas men may experience less pressure to succeed professionally once they have kids.
On the downside, friends and relatives rarely possess the expertise required to successfully complete a pregnancy. Therefore, if things go wrong, the intended parents could face steep medical bills. In addition, the emotional toll of raising a child can weigh heavily on relationships. When the surrogate refuses to accept full responsibility for the mistake, conflict inevitably arises. Other problems that arise include disagreements regarding parenting styles, communication issues and money management.
With those considerations in mind, let’s explore the pros and cons associated with family member surrogacy.
Pros and Cons of Using a Close Relative As Your Surrogate Mother
Family members aren’t always the best candidates for surrogacy. First, it’s important to recognize the inherent limitations of family bonds. No matter how close you think your mom or dad is, they probably won’t match your ability to handle the stresses involved with childbirth. Even if they seem calm on the outside, your loved ones may harbor doubts about their abilities and become overwhelmed by the responsibilities of parenthood.
Additionally, your surrogate mother may not be emotionally prepared for the level of commitment required to raise your child. She may lack the maturity to assume caretaking duties. Also, she might not be able to afford to quit her job to devote herself exclusively to your family.
Finally, although it may be comforting to have a familiar figure nearby, it’s possible that your cousin or aunt will resent having to shoulder so much responsibility. After all, she’s used to living life on her terms.
Despite these disadvantages, family member surrogacy can be an effective strategy for many families. Before embarking on the journey, you should meet with your physician and discuss your expectations. Once you’ve come to a decision, speak with an attorney experienced in the field.
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