Updated April 2023
Becoming parents through surrogacy involves multiple constraints for gay men, including social and biological obstacles. Growing a family for a gay individual or gay couple involves overcoming some significant emotional and financial hurdles. Even though the cost of having a child using a third party can be daunting for any couple or individual, gay men tend to face higher expenses than others.
We’re proud of our track record at Circle Surrogacy and Egg Donation as the most successful agency for LGBTQ+ couples and individuals growing their families. The only option for gay intended parents to build a biological family is gestational surrogacy, which involves the help of an egg donor and gestational carrier. It’s a process that requires medical and legal expertise, as well as a strong support system throughout the journey.
What’s Involved in the Cost of Surrogacy?
How much is surrogacy, really? Each step of the journey to becoming parents involves multiple professionals whose needed expertise boosts the cost of surrogacy to above $150,000 in most cases (up to $200,000 with egg donation). A survey conducted by the non-profit organization Men Having Babies found that gay parents spend an average of nearly $130,000 to become parents through surrogacy. Many of the gay intended parents, the organization said, underestimate the necessary costs by about $20,000.
Besides the professional fees involved, there are 3 other categories of costs incurred during a surrogacy journey:
- Gestational Carrier (i.e., surrogate) and Egg Donor Fees
- Medical & Insurance Expenses
- IVF Expenses
The financial demands, coupled with social constraints, represent sizable hurdles for gay men who want to become parents. The good news is that gay intended parents can either offset these costs or make them more manageable through specialized financing products, such as the one Circle Surrogacy and Egg Donation recently developed.
Making Surrogacy More Affordable for Gay Intended Parents
1. Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP)
This program created by Men Having Babies helps gay intended parents gain access to free or discounted services during their surrogacy journeys. These include participating surrogacy agencies as well as IVF, egg donation, and legal services. GPAP is a two-tiered program designed to offer some level of assistance to all qualified applicants in addition to providing more substantial aid to a select group identified by the program’s grant committee.
2. Personal Loans or 401K for Surrogacy
Three additional options for financing your surrogacy journey are:
- Personal Loans
- Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
Personal loans through a bank or credit card may be available to you. These loans would then be paid back over time to the lender.
Home Equity (HELOC) loans are when you borrow funds against the equity of your home.
Some intended parents choose to borrow against their 401K plans. If you choose this option, it’s important to speak with a financial advisor to understand any risks or penalties in doing so.
3. Crowdfunding Your Journey
Many intended parents look to family and friends to help cover the costs. This can be done privately or by sharing their stories on crowdsourcing platforms to help raise money for their journeys. GoFundMe is the most popular crowdsourcing option for personal fundraisers. It’s a good choice because GoFundMe doesn’t charge a “platform fee”—the percentage a crowdfunding site takes of all the money you raise through your fundraiser.
If you choose to use a crowdfunding platform, check if there’s a sign-up or subscription fee or a fee charged by third-party payment processors. GoFundMe, for example, charges 2.9% plus 30 cents per donation for processing fees. Other platforms may charge anywhere from 6% to 10%. It’s also important to avoid crowdfunding sites that have an all-or-nothing model, meaning you only receive the money you raised if you meet or exceed your goal.
The best advice we have is to do your homework before choosing a platform and launching your fundraising appeal.
4. LGBTQ+ Family Building Grants
Multiple grant opportunities exist from various organizations that can help defer or offset the surrogacy and egg donation costs. Family Equality, whose mission is “to advance legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them,” features a list of LGBTQ+-friendly grant programs on its website.
Circle Surrogacy’s Experience Working with the LGBTQ+ Community
We were founded by a gay man who aspired to have his own family, and the strategic programs and partnerships we have in place are designed to make gay surrogacy possible. We’ve helped gay individuals and couples become parents for over 27 years, and about half of the parents through our program are part of the LGBTQ+ community. We have strong ties within the LGBTQ+ community and partner with many groups focused solely on building families for gay men, including Men Having Babies, Gays with Kids, Gay Parents to Be, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Financing and Grants
Q: A financing program simply means that we must pay the money back. Are there any options where the money is granted or the service comes at a discounted rate?
A: Yes! The GPAP program provides legal and escrow services at a discounted rate as well as other services. There are also pro bono journeys done through this program as well. Men Having Babies is one of many organizations that have programs that help shoulder the cost through grants or sponsorships. You may have to do a little bit of research to find them, but they exist!
Q: Are there any assistance programs available for LGBTQ+ folks that are HIV+?
A: Yes! Thanks to the Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR), intended parents who are HIV+ are able to grow their families with surrogacy. Through a sperm washing technique and HIV testing, it is possible for HIV+ men to safely father a biological child of their own with no risk to the baby or surrogate. For more information about surrogacy for HIV+ intended parents, review our HIV+ Parenting page. There are programs to help with the cost of this as well that can be found through medical professionals who work closely with the HIV+ community. Privacy concerns can make it difficult to find resources specific to this community, and it may be helpful to reach out to your fertility clinic or doctor directly.
Q: Are there programs that help with the cost of egg donation?
A: Circle is not affiliated with any groups that provide grants or sponsorships exclusively for egg donation, but there may be options available. Many LGBTQ+ people opt to use an egg donor that they know to decrease the overall cost, but there are still costs associated with the medications and retrievals that the intended parents would be responsible for paying. Sometimes clinics will offer packages as well, so reaching out to IVF clinics is also another great place to start.
For more information about our personalized family planning services and resources at Circle Surrogacy and Egg Donation, contact us today. If you’re ready to move forward with a free consultation to become a parent through surrogacy, you can fill out our intended parent form and begin the conversation today!