This is one of the hardest things we've ever had to write. Not because it involves discussing fertility (that's hard, but we both believe strongly in the healing power of stories). It's because we both find it really hard to ask for help, especially when we know that we're incredibly lucky compared to many people.
After years of struggling to conceive, Jacquelyn had a hysterectomy in May to treat severe adenomyosis, a condition that can cause infertility. This left us with few options to grow our family; at >$120,000, the cost of surrogacy would normally be insurmountable.
Time is not on our side. We spent precious years trying to do this the old-fashioned way. We delayed trying while we both pursued our graduate degrees (including several years living apart). Jacquelyn faced unnecessary delays as she fought doctors who wouldn't take her condition seriously.
Since the hysterectomy, we've been at a loss, both as we've grieved what might have been, but also as we've struggled to see our way forward. We're running against hard deadlines both for infant adoption (which has age limits) and Jacquelyn's egg reserves (she's 38).
But, there's hope: a dear friend has generously volunteered to be a gestational carrier for us, which means we can essentially create an embryo but outsource the pregnancy part with the help of modern science. By forgoing costly agency and surrogate fees, the price of surrogacy is now much more within reach.
Our friend's compassion and generosity has opened a door we thought was closed: we have a chance to have a biological child together.
Unfortunately, it's not as affordable as a traditional pregnancy, which would have been mostly covered by our health insurance. If we'd known five years ago what we know now, we could have started saving for this years ago. We both come from working class backgrounds and are still paying off college debt. So, at the urging of several close friends and family members, we're asking for help to defray the costs of this procedure:
IVF: The clinic we're using is an affordable option, so we get roughly three rounds of IVF for the price of one. $12,000
Medical screenings: Fertility and other tests for us and our carrier: $1000
Legal fees: This will include the surrogacy contract (which covers both us and the carrier) and the court documents and filings to establish parenthood if we're successful. $6000
Travel: Because our carrier lives in another state, there will be travel for egg retrieval and, if all goes well, to be by the carrier's side during delivery to meet our baby for the first time. $5000
Medications: Drugs to stimulate egg production for retrieval are not covered by insurance. $5500
In addition, we will be paying all costs associated with pregnancy and delivery (and any other necessary medical fees) for our carrier. She has insurance, but not everything may be covered.
This process could cost anywhere from $20,000-$40,000 or more (comparable with domestic infant adoption).
Any funds we collect will be used towards the cost of having a child, either with the help of our gestational surrogate or through adoption.
There are no gimmicks here: no naming rights, no raffles to raise our kid as a fan of your favorite sports team. We don't feel like this is something we deserve -- at least, not any more than any other couple who want to be parents. The economics of IVF and adoption honestly make us both really uncomfortable.
TL;DR Capitalism sucks. Can you help us have a baby?