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This article is a part of Be Money – The first LGBTQ bank in the USA.

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Surrogacy – An Issue of Money?

Having a family is a basic human right, and has been a massive topic in the LGBTQ+ community for many decades. I don’t want to go into why it is not unhealthy to raise a child as an LGBTQ+ couple, and why love is the only important aspect needed for the healthy development of a child; no matter the sexual orientation of the parents. I recommend watching the documentary series ‘Babies’ on Netflix, if you want to learn more about the research done on this topic.

Today, I want to give a quick look into the financial struggles couples who want to start a family, especially a gay couple, might face. 

Let’s start with options we currently have as LGBTQ+ couples:

  • Donor insemination
  • Co-parenting
  • Adoption or fostering
  • Surrogacy

If we put aside the options that are not naturally possible for gay couples, and where there is a lack of legal certainty, we are left with surrogacy. But for many couples, this option is often unattainable given their financial situation. Why is that? 

How much does surrogacy cost and where does the money go?

The price of an end-to-end surrogacy process may vary based on multiple factors, such as the agency you choose or your location. In general, the price varies between USD$90k-130k. As an example, the price list from West Coast Surrogacy, details what you pay for:

  • Gestational Surrogate Compensation (Base pay for an experienced surrogate in California; Caesarean section; surrogate insurance; unexpected situations as a cancellation; termination of pregnancy, etc)
  • Screening Costs (Psychological screening; criminal investigation; medical screening)
  • Legal fees (Contracts; establishing parentage)
  • Psychological support
  • Other (Medication for the surrogate; monitoring of the pregnancy; life insurance, etc)

The process is complicated, difficult and all the risks need to be covered by agencies, which is reflected in the high price tag. Is it then possible, even for an average (those outside the top 10-20% earners) couple, to go through the process?

Source: https://www.westcoastsurrogacy.com

How to pay for the process

  • Loans – home equity loans; loans from a retirement account; fertility financing loans; agency financing programs
  • Grants
  • Fundraising

Fundraising or crowdfunding are very popular ways of financing personal and community projects. The process is very simple compared to other financial products, but results are very unpredictable and it may take a long time to get the money. The benefits however, are that you don’t have to return the money, you don’t pay interest and you only pay a small share to the platform of your choice. 

Grants are a great opportunity for everyone who really can not afford to repay a loan or do not have enough capacity or skill to set up a fundraising campaign. Grants don’t have to be repaid in most cases. The process varies depending on the grant provider. You should do your research and check what is available. For example, Men Having Babies provides assistance, and there are other similar options. Remember, that the grants are usually sponsored by companies and families. So if you have any financial resources spare, you can support other parents. 

Loans may be difficult to access and difficult to repay. This is especially true when you realize that not only will you have to pay for the loan and its interest, but you also have baby-related expenses and at least one of the parents won’t be working full time for some time. On the other hand, loans represent the highest chance of getting the needed funding. 

In our previous post about the difficulties of gay couples applying for a loan or mortgage, we went through data that shows how couples are still discriminated by banks. You will want to choose the right financial partner – a bank that trusts you and supports you on the way. In the end, you want to enjoy the time with your family and your newborn and not struggle in discussions with old school banks. 

Who is the right partner for you? 

We are building a bank that listens to the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. One of the difficulties the community has is the funding of surrogacy or different ways to start a family. Indeed, there are many challenges you will face in going through this process, however we at Be Money are here to support you. Join us at be-money.com as we are set to launch in the US soon. If you have already gone through the process and are willing to share your story with us, please send us an email at be@be-money.com.