Rethinking Monthly Expenses

Part of your many traditional surrogate benefits packages includes a monthly “allowance.” For most agencies, this begins once you are issued legal clearance and concludes six weeks after the birth of a surrogate child.

But we’re not most agencies.

The intention of the expense allowance is to cover the day-to-day minor expenses that are incurred as a result of your surrogate journey. Examples of these expenses often include:

  • Meals
  • Administrative costs related to telephone usage, postage, faxing or notary services
  • Childcare for monitoring or doctor’s appointments
  • Non-prescription vitamins or supplements

While that sounds great on paper, it’s not all that great in practice. The likelihood is that there are many months when that allowance will not be used at all, and a few months where that allowance will not cover out of pocket expenses. The end result is confusion at the end of the months were the funds were not exhausted, and frustration in the months where the funds were not enough to cover expenses.

At Growing Generations, we trust our surrogates. We screen our applicants well, and we know that they know how to manage their funds appropriately. That’s why, in 2017, we decided to do away with the monthly allowance concept all together.

Instead, we’ve taken the entire sum of allowance most surrogates could expect to receive, and rolled it into a higher compensation. That compensation, broken up over the months of your pregnancy, is higher as a result, giving you freedom to cover whatever expenses you may incur.

For accounting reasons, we still recommend opening a separate checking account that is specific to your surrogacy funds. When you do this, you’re enabling yourself to treat these funds the same way as you would manage your family budget.

Many surrogates will incur costs that are not explicitly covered in their benefits package. Things like pet sitters, home pregnancy tests, and gas to get to and from doctor’s appointments. These items are not meant to come out of your personal banking account. Establishing a second checking account for your monthly compensation allows the surrogacy to cover these expenses for you.

When done wisely, budgeting also allows for the occasional indulgence. For example, perhaps you’re five months pregnant and absolutely craving a date night to your favorite adults only restaurant. When you’ve budgeted responsibly, you’re likely to find that your compensation can fund these rare indulgences as well.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.