Photo by Mercedes Mehling
While the Respect for Marriage Act passed in December, there is still more work needed to ensure equitable access to family building for all types of families. Below are suggestions unique to the LGBTQIA+ community as it relates to financially planning for parenthood.
Financial Planning for LGBTQIA+ Intended Parents
1. Plan for the total cost
For individuals or couples that do not have a sperm and egg source and/or womb in their relationship, family building can be prohibitively expensive. The first step towards affording the full journey is understanding the components, and working with intended parents (IPs) to break each step into affordable phases.
At Sunfish, we offer a cost calculator to help IPs project the cost of their particular journey, with and without embryo creation. We estimate $150,000 – $220,000 for embryo creation, medical costs, and surrogate fees for a same sex male couple.
2. If you need financing, understand the details
If existing resources can’t cover the cost, we at Sunfish offer access to a number of loan options and lines of credit. For many households, rising interest rates have made loans more expensive, which is why we work to ensure the loans they withdraw are appropriate for their household. There are three main levers that influence monthly payments:
- Loan Term (time to repay the loan)
- APR (Annual Percentage Rate)
- Total Loan Amount
So for example, a household could borrow twice as much for the same monthly payment by changing a few levers:
- $19,150 loan, 15% APR, 3 year term – monthly payments of $664
- $40,000 loan, 10% APR, 7 year term – monthly payments of $664
Take Andrew and Akeem, for example, based in Los Angeles. They were able to qualify for a loan of $40,000, which allowed them to put down a deposit with a surrogacy agency. If they had worked with a different lender, for the same monthly payments, they would have qualified for less than half the amount.
This understanding of how to adjust monthly payments can also help households apply for loans that are a better fit for them.
3. Reduce total costs
The final step is to help intended parents find any available financial resources to lower the total cash cost. At Sunfish, we’ll walk them through four options:
Loans and Grants – Many providers offer discounts and grants specific for same-sex or LGBTQ+ couples. Sunfish offers a grant and discount database to help intended parents find all available options.
Health Insurance Coverage: Unfortunately in the US, most healthcare benefits require a ‘diagnosis of infertility’, which typically doesn’t apply to same sex couples. However, we encourage couples to check with their provider as specific cases may vary.
Workplace Benefits: Some employers offer family building as part of their employee benefits, on average about $15,000 in lifetime benefits. If an intended parent learns that their employer doesn’t currently cover surrogacy, we encourage them to ask about it: employers most often add benefits in response to an employee’s request.
HSAs and FSAs: Health savings accounts (HSA) and Flexible spending accounts (FSA) are two types of pre-tax accounts that can be used for healthcare expenses. Unfortunately, current laws make it rare for same-sex male couples to be qualified to use these accounts to pursue a surrogacy journey.
A Sunfish Financial advocate can set up a complimentary consultation to help guide IPs through the financial planning process.
We are not a financial advisor and do not intend this email to be taken as financial advice.
Sunfish’s mission is to make the journey to parenthood financially attainable for everyone. Our goal is to democratize access to the family building resources that historically have only been available to those with large financial resources.