Well, it really depends on how many coupons you've saved up. Just kidding.
Initially, we weren't sure we were comfortable sharing this information as it's quite personal as well as unique to our situation. But it also happens to be a commonly asked question, especially by those who may be considering surrogacy as a way to start their own family. So, here it is.
Surrogacy-related costs can vary dramatically for Intended Parents. For a gay couple, we’ve used the analogy of someone who wants to bake a cake but only has flour in the house; it’s the easiest ingredient to find and certainly the cheapest. All we started with was two bottomless bags of flour. The rest we needed to find.
As we went the private agency route to find an egg donor, that comes with additional costs. For the agency and reimbursements for the donor (paying donors and surrogates is illegal in Canada) was about $10,000. The egg retrieval and embryo creation (and associated tests and procedures) was about $20,000.
For the surrogate, we also used a private agency to help us find our match. For the agency, their fees were about $10,000 (all agencies are around the amount). For our super-awesome surrogate, we reimburse her for all related costs associated with the embryo transfer and pregnancy and these total about $24,000. The reimbursements include things like childcare (for her own kids), food, transportation, clothing, travel costs (she had to come to the clinic multiple times for appointments, etc.).
Fertility medications for both our donor and surrogate run about $15,000. After relentless phone calls to our insurance company, some of these costs were reimbursed.
Legal fees and other associated costs are about $10,000. Legal fees include the writing and review of all contracts for both donor and surrogate.
All told, our surrogacy journey will cost approximately $85,000. This is a lot of money and that fact is not lost on us. We feel very fortunate to be in a position to do this. Many would-be parents cannot withstand the financial burden of surrogacy and that feels unfair. We believe that having a family through surrogacy should not be exclusive to only those with means to do so. The other piece of this puzzle is that very few of the associated costs are covered by government-funded programs or private health insurance. For example, to access the IVF funding through the Ontario government (currently Ontario funds one cycle per couple), there are so many eligibility requirements that a couple would need to have in place in order to qualify. For a gay couple, it can feel nearly impossible to access any or all of the available funding.
The good news is that we are starting to see a shift in some policies. For example, the federal government is starting a new program in June 2019 that will entitle a second parent to five weeks of EI. Hurray!