LGBTQ Family Building: How much does it cost?

Family building options have come a long way in the last couple of decades, and same-sex couples and “nontraditional” families have more access than ever before to fertility and family building choices. There are many pieces to the family-building puzzle and it can feel overwhelming to start the process! So we’re breaking down the costs for LGBT parents and beyond.

Sperm Donation
There’s a range of costs associated with all aspects of fertility – sperm donation seems straightforward but the costs can vary! At-home insemination may be under $1,000, but sperm donation may exceed $50,000 if you require IUI or IVF. Clinic fees, medications, egg retrieval, embryo creation, and transfer all have varying costs associated. But don’t let the price tag scare you too much – working with your fertility doctor will help you figure out exactly what you need.

How much does Egg Donation and Surrogacy cost?
Many couples use an egg donor or gestational carrier to conceive, and when you’re a two-dad couple, you may end up using both. Again, there is a wide range of costs here. Costs will differ based on what you need, where you are looking, and your individual insurance coverage.

Egg donation financing usually includes the donor costs, legal fees, clinic costs, psychological and medical evaluations, insurance plans, and more, which can cost around $20,000 to $40,000+. Donor Concierge provides intended parents with streamlined support navigating the complexities of this process and can in the end save money by ensuring that intended parents choose an egg donor who is likely to provide optimal results.

Surrogacy often goes hand in hand with egg donation, and is also a complex process, involving many moving parts. Common costs associated with surrogacy include:

  • Agency fees of $20,000 to $40,000 to match parents with a surrogate
  • The surrogate's compensation, which can range from $25,000 to $60,000 depending on experience and location
  • Life and medical insurance for the surrogate can range from $5000 to $30,000
  • The IVF transfer to the surrogate which ranges from $7,000 to $9,000 per cycle
  • The medications at $600 to $3,000 depending on insurance
  • Attorney and escrow fees from $15,000
  • Smaller needs of the surrogate like a clothing allowance and parking fees for doctor's visits
  • Estimates for the entire surrogacy process range from $100,000 to $200,000

Many parents are able to drastically reduce these costs if they find a friend or family member willing to donate their eggs or be a gestational carrier. However, many of us don’t have that option. Luckily, there are ways to navigate these costs and get the best financing options possible.

Health Insurance and Company Benefits:
To finance fertility treatments, first check your insurance coverage in your state.
California and Texas have laws that require insurance companies to offer coverage for infertility treatment. Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and West Virginia have laws around infertility diagnosis and treatment coverage.

Many larger companies are now offering generous fertility benefits through companies like Carrot Fertility, Progyny or Kindbody, hoping to attract people who understand the value of preserving their fertility. Always check with your HR department and see what fertility benefits are offered.

Fertility Financing Options:
Organizations offering these loans include Prosper Healthcare Lending, New Life Fertility Finance, and CapexMD. Many of these plans depend on estimated costs provided by doctors or agencies, and offer access to loans up to $100,000. EggFund and EmBorrow are additional fertility loan matching resources.

Fertility loans can be a good option, but some of these loans can have high interest rates, so make sure you know what you're accepting before moving forward. And if you’re having difficulty navigating the financials of your fertility journey, companies like Seed Coach can help you make a plan.

With awareness of surrogacy and egg donation growing, more options are becoming available to intended parents. Aside from insurance coverage and fertility loans, fertility and surrogacy grants are becoming an increasingly common option. The Tinina Q. Cade Foundation, Baby Quest Foundation, Pay it Forward Fertility, Family Formation Charitable Trust, Journey to Parenthood Grant, Parental Hope, and Life Grants are LGBT-friendly foundations that offer grants to intended parents who are unable to cover costs of IVF or surrogacy. Family Equality also shares a list of additional LGBT-friendly grant resources. Many grants typically cover up to $10,000.

Alternative Routes
Many intended parents save money by using less conventional avenues, from finding egg donors or surrogates through personal connections, fundraising, or comparing costs of medications in other countries. One mother even set up her company as a C-Corporation, so she could run all surrogacy-related expenses through the business, deductible as employee benefit expenses. While the DIY approach may seem like a cheaper alternative, remember that you get what you pay for – experts in the field, like agencies and reproductive attorneys can help you save money by not making common mistakes. Tread very carefully if you try to do this on your own.

In Conclusion
While there are options for parents struggling with infertility, the best way to ultimately save money across the board is to reach out to experts, ask questions, and research. Every family is different and every intended parent’s situation is unique -- some may save money by opting to “DIY” aspects of their journey, while others may save money by finding an agency or organization that can do the work more quickly. Additionally, there are some grants and foundations specifically catered to certain regions, religious groups, and communities.

The key is to communicate with doctors, professionals, and your own support system, so that you can begin this process with as much information about your needs as possible. Luckily, there is a great community of other parents and experts who are eager to offer advice and resources as you start your journey.

And above all, know that you aren’t alone in this process. Many out there are facing the same struggles, and parents, legislators, doctors and experts across the country and world are advocating for more fertility support and access.