Using your own eggs, or the eggs of a known donor whom you are not compensating or paying an agency, can often save you $16,000 to $20,000 or more. But if you are using eggs over the age 35, it might take you longer to achieve pregnancy.
A 2012 study from the Center for Disease Control on IVF success rates reports that over 56% of transfers using eggs from an egg donor younger than 35 years resulted in a live birth. This is compared to 37% for women aged 35-37, 28% for women 38-40, 16% for women 41-42, and 6% for women 43-44. Women over 44 years of age had a 3% chance of achieving a live birth.
Based on these statistics, we recommend understanding and budgeting for the costs related not just to one attempt at pregnancy, but also to attempts two and three. Further, if you are implanting two or more embryos, you want to consider the costs for at least having twins.
Let’s take a closer look at the figures:
- One attempt at pregnancy/One baby (US-based intended parents): if your surrogate got pregnant on the first attempt, your costs would range between $134,000 and $138,000 on average. Note that only $25,000 is the Growing Generations agency fee, meaning that the remainder of the expenses for the surrogacy and egg donation process are standard expenses you will incur no matter where you go. In fact, a study of 20 different surrogacy agencies in the United States showed that the total ROUTINE costs of this process vary by 2% from agency to agency.
- Additional attempt using frozen embryos: if your surrogate did not get pregnant on the first attempt, but you had embryos remaining from the first attempt, you can do a “frozen” cycle, which is usually an additional $12,000 to $17,000. This takes into account the medical fees to the IVF doctor, the medications for the surrogate, her travel to the IVF clinic and several other ancillary costs that need to occur for a frozen cycle to happen.
- Additional attempt using fresh embryos: imagine that you did not get pregnant on the previous attempt(s) and are now out of embryos. This means you have to do a second “fresh” cycle, adding approximately $38,000-42,000 to your costs. Some doctors have special IVF packages that will save you money if you have to do additional attempts, and so can lower this amount significantly.
- Twin pregnancy: if your surrogate is pregnant with twins, this adds $7,750 to her compensation package. Depending on her health insurance, there might be an increase in her deductible (i.e. out-of-pocket limit required to be paid by the insured before the insurance company pays 100% of covered services). Additionally, the surrogate’s doctor may limit her physical activity, requiring the need for paid help at home. This is a tough cost to estimate because each pregnancy is different, but we recommend budgeting $10,000-$20,000 for this item.
A major gripe we have with professionals in the surrogacy industry is that they do not accurately quote the costs of the process. For instance, at the time of this writing, there is an agency on the East Coast of the U.S. that estimates that costs of this process at $85,400 “TOTAL Excluding 3rd Party Medical and Insurance Services”. Sadly, those excluded costs, and the ones not mentioned, can amount to another $65,000-$70,000. That’s a pretty big exclusion.
Budgeting correctly for the surrogacy costs at the beginning of the process could be key in you completing your journey with a baby (or two). It is not uncommon for an intended parent to need to pause or stop the process completely because he is unable to access the funds needed to continue.
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