There’s nothing more exciting than growing your family. But the costs related to adoption and surrogacy can quickly add up, depending on the path you choose. Thankfully there are ways to finance the arrival of a new child through surrogacy and adoption, which you can learn about in this guide.
Surrogacy can be a huge expense and even with government help for IVF it doesn’t make it any more affordable. Costs can be difficult to predict — you can’t control how many IVF cycles your surrogate will need or whether they will have complications.
Prices depend on whether you use your own eggs, how many rounds of IVF are needed, how complicated the pregnancy is and the legal hoops you need to jump through. Typically domestic surrogacy arrangements can cost upwards of $10,000 for fertility clinic fees and $4,000 for legal fees.
Two IVF treatments are funded by the New Zealand government for women under 40 if they meet certain health criteria.
Is surrogacy legal in New Zealand?
Commercial surrogacy is illegal in New Zealand. The surrogate mother must be acting altruistically and not receive compensation for anything other than reasonable expenses. Reasonable expenses include: fertility clinic fees, medical costs, lawyers’ fees, maternity clothes, meals, travel, vitamins and other costs.
New Zealand is strict on its surrogacy laws but some overseas countries are more relaxed about commercial surrogacy. For desperate parents it can be a solution, albeit a risky one.
Keep in mind that countries have different levels of regulation, which could affect how well your surrogate takes care of their health — and the health of your unborn child — while pregnant. You are responsible for paying all overseas costs, including unexpected medical treatment and neonatal care.
A child born outside New Zealand will also not legally be able to enter and live in the country unless formally adopted.
In New Zealand the cost of a domestic adoption through Oranga Tamariki involves paying the legal costs for the adoption application, plus legal fees for yourself and the birth parents. Legal fees vary but range between $2000 and $5000. It’s best to use a family lawyer who specialises in adoption. You can search for one on the New Zealand Law Society website.
Can I pay for surrogacy or adoption costs with a personal loan?
Yes, most personal loan providers allow you to use your approved funds for any legitimate personal expense.
Personal loans offer either secured or unsecured financing. Unsecured loans are best for borrowers with good credit, a low debt-to-income ratio and a high salary. But even so, for the lowest rates, consider secured loans, which use personal assets like a car or a home as collateral.
Online peer-to-peer lending platforms connect borrowers with investors who can fund your loan. Your credit score plays an important role in finding an investor. It also helps determine the interest rate you get.
How can I get a competitive loan for surrogacy or adoption costs?
The best way to get a competitive rate is to shop around and compare your options. Think about what you want to use your adoption loan for and how much you need before going in so you know which points to prioritise.
Interest. If you’re concerned about your overall loan cost, you might want to look into low-interest providers. That’s because interest is often the largest contributing factor to your loan’s cost — though sometimes fees come into play.
Fees. Fees your lender may charge include application fees, disbursement fees, prepayment fees and late payment fees. Some interest-free adoption loans also come with monthly fees.
APR. Your loan’s APR is an expression of its interest and fees as a percentage. It’s the easiest way to compare the cost of two loans — as long as they have the same term length.
Eligibility criteria. In most circumstances, you need to have good credit to qualify, although some lenders will consider those with bad credit. Other requirements include having a minimum income amount and being a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
Turnaround time. The loan processing time can vary depending on which option you choose. If you apply for a personal loan or a peer-to-peer loan, you can receive the approved funds within days.
Loan term. Your loan term is the amount of time you have to repay your loan. A longer term gives you lower monthly repayments, but you’ll pay more in interest. Short loan terms translate into higher monthly repayments but an overall savings on interest. Make sure you consider your current financial circumstances and the size of the repayments before requesting a specific loan term.
Personal loan requirements
Good credit. While not always necessary — there are bad credit financing options — you’ll need to have at least good credit to get the lowest rates.
Income. You’ll need to make a high enough salary to prove to your lender that you’ll be able to afford your loan.
Low debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Some lenders also compare your monthly income to your debt obligations when determining whether or not you can afford a loan.
NZ citizen or permanent resident. Most lenders require borrowers to either be a citizen or have residency when they apply for any type of financing.
Age. You’ll need to be at least the legal age of 18 to take out a loan.
How else can I pay for surrogacy or adoption costs?
Foundation grants. Some foundations may offer grants to intended parents who can’t cover the cost of surrogacy themselves. You might need to provide proof of infertility or meet other criteria. Your grant also might not cover the entire cost.
Crowdfunding. Because surrogacy costs are so high, you might have luck crowdsourcing from your family, friends and social network than just asking a few relatives for funds. Look for a platform that allows you to keep whatever funds you raise (minus fees, of course).
Credit cards. For a smaller, unexpected expense — like an emergency C-section — your credit card might more easily cover the costs. Consider applying for a new card with a 0% intro rate once your surrogate is pregnant to take advantage of no-interest financing as you need it.
5 tips to make surrogacy affordable
Publicly funded maternity services. If your surrogate is a New Zealand citizen, Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident for 2 years or longer, she will be eligible for free and subsidised maternity-related services. Check the Ministry of Health website under ‘pregnancy services‘.
Get a single embryo transfer (SET). Using one embryo lowers the risk of multiple pregnancies, which can increase complications and costs (not to mention the cost of raising an extra child or two).
Find a surrogate nearby. Getting a surrogate near you can cut down on transportation costs, especially if there’s a chance you’ll need to hop on a plane at a moment’s notice.
Consider friends or family. It’s a weighty request, but you can avoid agency fees by asking trusted loved ones to carry your baby for you. Depending on your circle of support, they just might agree to do it for a lower fee — or none at all.
Know your legal options. While it’s common to establish your legal rights to parenthood before your child is born, other legal options out there might be less expensive. Speak with a lawyer to find a choice that’s best for you.
A couple of ways to keep adoption costs down
Once you’ve browsed through the ways you can pay for an adoption, you might be thinking: how else can I save money? Adopting a child may be expensive, but you can lower the cost or make a large loan a little more manageable.
Build your credit. This may seem a little odd, but remember: the better your credit, the lower your interest rates when you apply for a loan. While you’re working on saving for your adoption, see if you can improve your score to increase your chances of scoring a good interest rate.
Adjust your budget. This won’t necessarily keep adoption costs down, but it will help maintain your budget. If you can cut out things you don’t need, like changing that Netflix subscription into a library card, you can put that extra money towards your adoption fund.
What to look out for when applying for a personal loan
Payments you can’t afford. If you think you might have trouble repaying the borrowed money on time, avoid taking a loan in the first place.
High rates. Be wary of taking a loan with a high-interest rate, which increases the overall cost of the loan. Instead, check if you qualify for any grants or subsidies.
Predatory lenders. Stay away from lenders that try playing to your emotions or promising low rates for bad credit without offering much evidence. Look out for companies that try to guilt you into spending more than you can afford.
Paying out of pocket for a surrogate or adoption costs is untenable for most people, but plenty of financing options are available. From government help, to personal loans, you might be able to piece together a way to cover the cost of a priceless new addition to your family.
You can reduce adoption costs significantly by adopting a waiting child currently in foster care through a public agency. In this case, the public agency would complete the home study section of the process at no extra cost. If you and the child live in the same city, the agency may also cover post-placement supervision costs.
Adoption agencies normally offer payment plans to adoptive parents. For example, you may be able to pay one-third of the fees when you apply, one-third when the home study process is complete and the remainder upon the child’s placement.
Yes, you can use a personal loan to cover the costs of in vitro fertilisation. The government will also pay for 2 rounds of IVF if you are under 40 and meet the health criteria.
Yes. It requires more work, but you can potentially save a significant amount of money by doing your own research to find a surrogate. If you have the money but not the time for serious research, find a lawyer to navigate the legal process for you.
It’s said by the medical community that a tiny amount of DNA is transferred between a surrogate and a child in the form of a few cells that aren’t scientifically significant. But speak with a geneticist if you’re concerned.
They could as under New Zealand law the birth mother is recognised as the legal parent. You’ll need to apply to adopt the child in the New Zealand Family Court. Consult with a lawyer to make sure you’ve done this step right.
The government will pay for two rounds of IVF if the surrogate mother is under 40 and meets the health criteria. Outside of this you can get a personal loan for IVF financing through online lenders and banks.
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
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