Intended Parents quickly find that surrogacy is not only an extremely complicated and emotional journey, but it's a very expensive one as well. Choosing the best surrogate and surrogacy agency will help avoid spending money on services you end up not using in the long run if that agency doesn't work out and you have to go to another one.
Along with selecting the right agency for you, there are 12 other ways you can save money on the surrogacy journey. Following many of these tips will help make possible what seems to be unattainable. After you hold your baby in your arms, it will be worth every penny.
Find out what's covered by your health insurance
Ask your agency to help you find a surrogate whose insurance does not exclude surrogacy. Even though many insurance companies are excluding more and more concerning surrogacy in their policies, some plans do allow for surrogacy pregnancies to be covered. Use the insurance for as much as they allow. Understanding coverage can be complicated. Ask your agency for help in reading between all the lines. If you don't have to purchase an entire insurance policy for the surrogate, this can save thousands of dollars.
Run some things through insurance anyway
Although you might think blood tests and medical screenings aren't covered by insurance, sometimes they are. This applies to you and your surrogate. Some medications used for fertility treatments are also used for other ailments and might be covered or even half-covered. It's definitely worth trying to see if you can save some money.
Sometimes Intended Parents can save up to 30% at clinics and pharmacies when they don't process insurance and pay cash. It never hurts to ask when you first arrive.
Use Your Employer's Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account
A flexible Spending Account (FSA) offered by your employer allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible medical expenses. Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are savings accounts that permit employees who have a high deductible insurance plan to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses using pre-tax dollars. These funds in an HSA belong to the individual, not the employer or the insurance company, and travel with the individual. If you or your spouse or partner's employer offers an FSA or HSA, look into the details of the account. You might be able to use that money to cover many of your in vitro fertilization (IVF) costs.
Deduct Expenses from your taxes
Depending on your tax bracket, you might be able to deduct IVF and other related expenses from your taxes. Consult a tax professional and the IRS website for exact details. But be sure to keep receipts for all medical expenses related to surrogacy. It might surprise you how quickly the deductions add up come tax season.
Discount IVF medication programs offer up to 50% savings
Patient assistance programs are designed to provide income eligible patients with savings on fertility medications. Intended Parents who show financial need and have a valid prescription may qualify for 50 to 75% off the self-pay price of fertility medications or money off each prescription after completing a mail-in rebate. Eligible patients can use the program for more than one cycle each year. There are various discount medication programs available for Intended Parents and the savings and details vary according to each program.
Compare pharmacies for medications
Pricing for medications used for IVF can vary greatly at different pharmacies. For Intended Parents without insurance, it's typically wise to steer clear of mainstream pharmacies like Rite Aid, CVS or Walgreens. Normally difficult to find, there are specialized fertility pharmacies that buy their medicine in bulk, which allows them to sell prescriptions at cheaper rates. Online pharmacies, many times, offer the best prices for fertility medications. International online pharmacies sell certain prescriptions for 50% or more off retail price, but they take longer to get so you have to plan a head with your doctor to make this option work.
There are numerous grants available to assist in the cost of surrogacy. While they can be a long process with specific requirements, they are essentially like getting free money. An invaluable resource for Intended Parents who might not otherwise be able to afford the high price tag of surrogacy, IVF grants range from $500 to $50,000.
Choose your IVF clinic wisely
Because prices can vary dramatically between clinics, it might be worth checking out clinics that are a few hours' drive to save a few thousand in treatment costs. Ask your agency about the reputations of the farther away clinics, though, before committing to them. If your surrogate isn't close to the clinic, think about shipping embryos to a clinic closer to her for an easier transfer. Be sure to check into all the details since there are risks and fees associated with this method.
"Natural cycle" (frozen) embryo transfer
For Intended Parents doing a frozen embryo transfer, choosing a natural cycle method will require less medications, which will reduce cost. Not all clinics offer this option.
Shared Risk Programs
Shared risk programs, also called IVF Refund programs, can reduce the financial risk of having to undergo multiple IVF cycles. Offering patients, a flat-fee that will cover a set amount of treatment cycles and, clinics offer partial or full refunds if the treatment is not successful. Beneficial to both parties, shared risk programs allow patients to pay a clear amount that will either get them pregnant or give a refund that they can use to pursue alternate ways to build their family. There is a shared risk since clinics will lose a lot of money if they are unsuccessful and cannot get the couple pregnant. Intended Parents might end up paying a little more up front for their IVF costs, but have the option to cycle several times and even get their money back if all cycles are unsuccessful.
Choose a Local Agency and Surrogate
Working with a local agency and surrogate not only reduces stress since everyone involved is nearby in case of early delivery and ease of doctors' appointments, it also cuts down on the cost. Not having to travel and pay for gas, food and lodging expenses for both the case manager and the surrogate can save funds.