Surrogacy money, that is, the money a surrogate mother will need to carry until she is reimbursed can be quite large. Video diary about the money a gestational surrogate must have available.
Hi. Rayven from Information-on-Surrogacy.com here. And this is the next installment of my gestational surrogacy video diary. Today I want to talk to you about something that I don't like talking about at all during the surrogacy journey and that's money.
Specifically, today I want talk to you about the money that a surrogate mother must be able to carry from one month to another, especially in the very beginning of surrogacy, before she is going to be reimbursed or have any money coming to her in the form of compensation. (surrogacy money)
This is one of the reasons why it is not a good idea for somebody who is need of money or who is living from paycheck to paycheck to pursue surrogacy, because there can be quite a substantial amount of money the surrogate mother must have available in her own funds to cover before she is reimbursed.
Before we get started I really want to say, it's very important that before a surrogate mother outlays any of her own cash that she has a contract in place. I did make the mistake the first time that I pursued surrogacy of not having a contract in place. When medical bills started to pile up in my name and the intended parents and I could not come to an agreement in the contract phase, (and it actually had nothing to do with money but another issue in the contract) and they walked away, I was left with over $2000 of medical bills in my name.
My lawyer did eventually get that money back for me but that just goes to show you how important it is that you have a contract in place before you outlay any cash, even cash as low as $40 - $50 for birth control pills that your clinic might require you to take.
So, without further ado, what types of things is a surrogate mother going to be responsible for paying out of her own pocket and getting reimbursed for later? Each contract is different and each situation is different, but commonly you're going to have prescriptions. Usually this would not be the IVF medications themselves because those are usually put on a credit card by the intended parents and shipped directly to your house.
It would most likely be a medication here and there or maybe a refill but not the entire IVF protocol. It can be quite expensive for IVF medications.
Travel expenses, a lot of times your plane ticket is covered but maybe your day to day travel expenses while in a different town are not until you get home and submit your receipts.
Medical bills again, they're all in the surrogate's name. The medical providers don't care if it's you that decided to have this medical procedure done or if it's somebody else that's supposed to pay for it. They don't care. It's your name on the bills. You're the one that's going to end up paying for them.
And even child care, for your own children. If you're going to be gone for an extended period of time for a transfer, you could be talking 3 to 4, or even 7 or 8 days. If your kids are small and you have childcare expenses of your own, that money may not be reimbursed to you until after you get home. It can take up to a month or more to have some of these expenses reimbursed. Let me give you a few examples:
For my first surrogacy I was required to fly to Las Vegas for 8 days. They paid for the plane ticket and my hotel room was covered, but I did not have any day-to-day money to spend on food and transportation. It was $30 cab rides everywhere in Vegas.
I had to actually get to Vegas, find my way to the agency that I was working with, pick up a check for my expenses, and then go to their bank to cash it.
So it was quite an interesting thing that I had to go through all that just to be able to get the surrogacy money that I needed for the traveling expenses that should've been paid before the travel had started, but you know, that happens.
You have to be prepared for that, even though it wasn't supposed to happen that way.
I was supposed to get my money a week in advance of travel so that I had the money and I wouldn't have to spend it out of pocket, taking it out of my savings account, but that's just the way that it ended up being.
For my second surrogacy, I went back to Vegas again for another 8 days. For this journey I was working directly with the intended parents (no agency) and it was decided that I would pay for the plane tickets and be reimbursed. It was for myself and a companion. I also paid for the hotel room, and all of the transportation and all of the food. And then submitted the receipts to the intended parents to get reimbursed later. This was over $1800 out of my own pocket to do all of this, for two people.
(Edited to note: When I made this surrogacy money video, I forgot to add in the cost of airfare for the two of us to the $1800 total. That was $1800 PLUS two plane tickets. My mom's ticket cost me $600 out of pocket)
Another thing I might mention here is that I hate giving myself shots. It's uncomfortable; it can take me hours to do it. My first trip in Vegas, it was horrible! I was there by myself, in a hotel room trying to give myself shots. I pricked myself with the needle probably 20-30 times just trying to get the needle in.
And it's not that it hurt; it was just a psychological thing for me. It was very difficult. So I wanted to make sure that the second time that I went to the transfer that I had a travel companion with me. Unfortunately I didn't think of that during the contracts. Consequently, I did not ask that my travel companion's expenses were paid as well.
After contracts I decided to bring a travel companion, and I actually brought my mother. I felt bad about asking for her expenses to be paid because, again, I hate talking about money. So I paid for my mother's expenses out of my own pocket. I am pretty sure she'll never watch this video because I lied to her, and told her the intended parents paid for her trip. Otherwise she probably would not have gone.
So I paid for her expenses out of my own pocket.
I paid for her plane ticket; I paid for all of her food when we were there.
The hotel room would've been the same amount of money if it had been one or two of us there.
But it's something you have to think about and again it took more than a month for me to get the portion of $1800 that was my portion reimbursed.
My third surrogacy journey, I did have the common sense to ask for a companion's airfare to be paid as well. And I also had the common sense that instead of taking all of the receipts and turning them all in and waiting for reimbursement, that I was just going to have a flat, this-is-how-much-to-give-me-per-day for travel expenses. This flat rate took care of the hotel, all the food and the transportation.
It came out a lot easier that way, even on days that we spent a little bit more than what was in the budget for that day, we made up for it on other days.
So it worked out and I highly suggest you do that.
Just a flat fee per day that covers hotel costs, transportation costs, any childcare you might have, and that covers your food.
So I did have the common sense to do that. I also had the common sense to ask for my travel expenses several weeks in advance of travel, but unfortunately it did not happen that way. For whatever reason, I did not get my travel expense money until about five days before the trip. Which meant that I took money out of savings to pay for my plane ticket and my companion's plane ticket and our hotel room. So that was a little uncomfortable.
But then, at the last minute, my companion, who was a friend of mine, her plans changed and she unfortunately could not make it. She had a family emergency that took her and her husband away from town and her husband was supposed to be watching my children during the day. So literally the day before we were supposed to travel to Vegas I had to switch her plane ticket out for two plane tickets, one for each of my children. My husband had to work unfortunately during that time.
I had to bring both kids with me and that cost me $1700 dollars out of pocket for the tickets.
And there is no way on earth that I felt it had anything to do with my intended parents, so of course I paid that all by myself.
That wasn't an expense that I would have paid had it not been for the surrogacy, but it wasn't their problem.
It wasn't their fault and in fact, I never really even told them.
I'm telling you for the first time here because again, I don't like talking about money. It's always been an uncomfortable topic for me. But something you have to understand is that there could be unexpected expenses.
And then we arrive at this fourth and final journey. And I have been matched with the intended parents for more than a month now. Now I wanted to make sure I was staying on top of things this time, and I hate talking about money. So I made sure everything was clearly written out at matching so that there would be no unexpected surprises. I didn't want to take any more money out of savings to pay for surrogacy expenses.
I hate taking money out of savings to use for surrogacy because half the time it never actually gets back in the savings account. So this time I very clearly stated that the retainer that I had asked for, for becoming their surrogate, was due immediately upon matching. Now, I say immediately upon matching because that's when they pay the agency to match us. That's when they pay their lawyer, and that's when they pay the clinic.
And a month later, the agency has been paid. The lawyers have been paid. The clinic has been paid, but I still have not. And I don't exactly know why. I think it's just, you know, an oversight, just one of those things that they're probably thinking something like, "OK, we will just take care of that when the contracts are signed" which should be in another week or so, but at the same time it's kind of like, "Are they not paying me because they don't feel like they can trust me with the retainer?"
I think that's kind of silly because if you can't trust me with the retainer how on earth are you going to trust me to carry your child? But again, I'm just assuming it is an oversight. It has happened before as you can see with the other three journeys that I have. And the point I am trying to make is not that anything is necessarily wrong with that, it's just that the things that you expect to happen in a journey don't necessarily happen.
And that's going to be the way it is throughout the entire surrogacy journey. The way that you think it's going to go, and the way that it actually does go are two totally different things. So, with that, again, it can take over a month for you to get reimbursed for things, and you need to remember that. And remember, don't ever outlay your own cash, even your name on medical bills, unless you have a contract in place. And with that I will conclude this very fun video on money. See you next time.