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 LBGQT+ 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?
Each step of the journey to becoming parents involves multiple professionals whose needed expertise boosts the cost of surrogacy to above $100,000 in most cases. 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 there are multiple ways to either offset these costs or make them more manageable through specialized financing products, such as the one Circle Surrogacy and Egg Donation recently developed.
Circle Surrogacy and Egg Donation Financing Plan
Our leadership in helping people become parents through surrogacy and egg donation now includes developing the first financing plan specifically for intended parents to defer about half of the cost. This plan enables intended parents to spread payments out across 3 to 6 years, making the possibility of growing a family more accessible. This is a groundbreaking development in the fertility industry, with the financing plan now available to qualifying intended parents who are residents of certain U.S. states. The introduction of this unique financing tool gives gay intended parents a significant additional option to help pay the staggering costs of surrogacy and egg donation.
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 IVF, surrogacy, 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.
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. Typically, crowdfunding platform fees range from 5% to 12%. For example, Fundly charges a 4.9% platform fee (also called a fundraiser fee).
Besides platform fees, 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.
Some of the crowdfunding sites other than GoFundMe that don’t charge platform fees include:
- Crowdrise (owned by GoFundMe)
- Mightycause (formerly Razoo)
- YouCaring (owned by GoFundMe)
The best advice we have is to do your homework before choosing a platform and launching your fundraising appeal.
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 25 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: If you’re able to obtain GPAP assistance, are you still eligible for the new financing program at Circle Surrogacy?
A: Yes! The GPAP program, or any other grant program, has no connection to the Circle Surrogacy financing program. If you are approved for a sponsorship or grant, you can still apply for financing at Circle if you live in an approved state.
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, click here. 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: In which states is the Circle Financing Program available?
A: Currently, Intended Parents must be US citizens with residence in one of the following states in order to participate: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington DC.
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.
Q: I want to apply for the financing program, but I don’t have great credit/a high income. Are there other options?
A: Yes! Intended parents can apply jointly or singularly for financing if it allows for a better opportunity for being approved. You can also file with a co-signer to increase your overall credit standing, and the co-signer does not need to be related to the intended parent.
Q: What if I do not live in one of the approved states for Circle’s new financing plan? What are my financing options?
A: If you are not eligible for Circle Surrogacy’s exclusive Financing Program with Origin Finance, we also offer lending options with Prosper Healthcare.
With simple financing options of up to $100,000 toward all surrogacy expenses for U.S. residents and with over $5 billion funded and more than 300,000 applicants serviced through their lenders, Prosper is the premier financing company in the fertility industry.
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!
Written by: Kristin Marsoli
Kristin joined Circle Surrogacy in 2017 as Marketing Director. Prior to this role, Kristin worked at advertising and marketing agencies creating successful brand, digital and social campaigns for clients. Her personal experience brought her to Circle Surrogacy: Kristin and her husband are proud parents to their son thanks to Circle Surrogacy. Having been through the process, Kristin brings an experienced perspective to all of Circle Surrogacy’s digital and social marketing, and is excited to use her marketing expertise for something for which she has so much passion.