First, it's important to consider the costs involved in surrogacy. Intended Parents typically cover the following expenses:
• Medical Procedures: This is likely the most expensive facet of surrogacy. Surrogacy includes in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination, as well as the medication costs that accompany these procedures. Additional expenses include tests, monitoring, and pregnancy care (if the embryo transfer is successful).
• Mental Health Expenses: The Intended Parents and the Gestational Surrogate typically undergo mental health assessments prior to entering into a surrogacy arrangement. Many gestational surrogacy agreements also provide the Gestational Surrogate the option to attend several counseling sessions throughout her participation in the surrogacy arrangement.
• Legal Expenses: Surrogacy involves two legal processes. The first is a gestational surrogacy agreement that delineates the obligations, rights, and responsibilities of each party. The agreement also contains a payment schedule if the Intended Parents are paying the Gestational Surrogate for her services. Intended Parents also pay for an attorney to review the agreement on the Gestational Surrogate's behalf, unless she chooses to waive this right. Both parties negotiate the terms of the agreement until they are comfortable signing it. The second legal process is the establishment of parentage. This involves petitioning the court to issue an order stating that the Intended Parents are the child's legal parents.
• Agency Fees: While not required, Intended Parents may choose to navigate the surrogacy process using an agency. Agencies provide a multitude of services to facilitate the surrogacy arrangement. Agency costs vary depending upon the agency.
• Gestational Surrogate Compensation: Intended Parents may enter into a surrogacy arrangement where they compensate the Gestational Surrogate for her services. Intended Parents should first consult with an attorney to ensure surrogacy compensation is legal in their state. The amount Intended Parents will pay the Gestational Surrogate is typically negotiated by the parties during the agreement drafting phase or by the agency.
Second, Intended Parents should reflect upon the available financial options, including those listed below:
• Agency Payment Plan: Some agencies provide financing programs where Intended Parents can create payment plans and make payments in intervals.
• IVF Grants: A quick Google search for "IVF Grants" will reveal various grants and scholarships that Intended Parents can apply for to help fund their surrogacy journey.
• Infertility Loans: Financial providers exist that offer loans specifically for fertility treatment. Eligibility for these loans is based on the Intended Parents' credit history.
• Home Equity Loans: Intended Parents can obtain a loan based on their home's equity. Keep in mind that a default on the loan may result in the loss of the home.
• 401(k) Loans: Financial Analyst Mike Anderson of NerdWallet states the following about borrowing against your 401(k) for surrogacy purposes: " Borrowing against your 401(k) is not recommended unless in dire need. The Internal Revenue Service considers it a hardship withdrawal, and financial experts advise that you only borrow against your 401(k) if your financial need cannot be met by any other means. Technically, this financial product is not a loan, and it has no impact on your credit history. However, it can inhibit your contributions to retirement until you've repaid the entire loan."
• Crowdfunding: This recent phenomenon permits Intended Parents to create fundraising websites to help offset the costs of surrogacy. Crowdfunding is gaining popularity among individuals seeks fertility treatment, as this article indicates.
The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients throughout the Indianapolis area and the state of Indiana in all areas family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy and other areas of assisted reproductive technology law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.
Remember, these blog posts are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult a family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.