Surrogacy is an alternative to having children for couples who want to start a new life as a family but have conventional childbirth challenges and don’t wish to adopt. Of course, the primary advantages of surrogacy are that couples can get not only a newborn baby to raise if they opt for techniques such as in vitro fertilization, but they can even get a child that is a genetic mix of both hopeful parents, the same as would have been the case in a traditional pregnancy.
However, surrogacy can be an expensive investment, and this becomes even more true when surrogacy occurs outside the country of residence, requiring the additional expenditure of travel expenses. But there are some things that hopeful couples can do to help keep the costs of surrogacy abroad under control.
Currency Differences Matter
At a practical financial level, one of the most immediate ways couples can lower the costs of surrogacy is to be careful about choosing the country where the surrogacy will take place. Different nations have different currencies, and the conversion can work in favor of or against a couple. For example, a hopeful family from the Philippines wanting to undertake surrogacy in the United States would be severely disadvantaged financially. The cost and currency conversion of the Filipino Peso to the American Dollar would drastically reduce the value of their investment due to the dollar’s strength.
On the other side of the equation, strategic choice of countries works well for a currency. For example, Americans who choose to work with a surrogate mother and clinic or agency in Georgia, a European nation, can exploit the strength of the American dollar versus the value of the lari since the country is not a European Union member and is thus not yet using the Euro. This greatly changes the financial equation for some countries as currency conversion can be quite favorable under the right circumstances and create significant savings.
Of course, for surrogacy abroad to succeed, travel is required. However, the amount of travel can be dramatically reduced with today’s technology. It’s still crucial for hopeful parents to meet with a potential surrogate mother and establish a relationship. Still, beyond that, as the pandemic has already shown, many relationships can be easily maintained by touching base online regularly. No longer is long-distance or online communication restricted to text or voice only. Full video interactions in real-time are now easily accomplished, even on smartphones.
With considered scheduling and smart management, the visitations can be kept to a minimum, saving travel costs. Of course, another mandatory travel expense is the actual birth of the baby, uniting that infant with the new parents, and the subsequent return to the country of residence.
Traditional Surrogacy Choices
Another way to keep costs down is to revise ambitions about the type of surrogacy that is preferred. One of the most expensive kinds of surrogacy is in vitro fertilization or IVF. This technique takes a donor egg and sperm, typically from the hopeful parents, and fertilizes them in a lab, then implants the fertilized egg in the surrogate mother. The result is a baby that is, genetically, a perfect mix of the hopeful parents, exactly as what would result from a traditional pregnancy; only gestation and birth occur with the surrogate mother.
This already expensive process can be added on with additional needs. If there is a history of congenital diseases in the family of one of the donors, such as cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy, these disorders can be detected with an additional technique known as a preimplantation genetic diagnosis. This requires multiple eggs to be fertilized so that if any are screened with positive results, they can be discarded, and only the fertilized and tested as “clear” will be used. In addition, if eggs or sperm are cryogenically stored because they were preserved from the ovaries or testes before surgical removal, there is an additional cost in safe transportation and preparation for lab viability.
The less expensive route is when a couple chooses traditional surrogacy. This is where the surrogate mother’s egg is used instead of a donor’s. The sperm is usually donated by the hopeful father, although other low-cost donation sources can also be used. There are significant savings in using this more traditional method, especially if surrogacy is compensated rather than altruistic.
Of course, one of the best ways to keep costs low is also one of the most difficult: finding someone abroad willing to volunteer for altruistic surrogacy rather than a compensated one. With this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother volunteers her body and receives only some compensation for her living and medical expenses.
By not needing to compensate a surrogate mother significantly, major savings can be had, but this is much more difficult to achieve for couples thinking of traveling, and it also severely reduces the range of choice.