The dreaded conversations about what an agency owner charges… been there, done that, more times than I can count. The difference today is I stand behind why the program fees are non-negotiable and worth every penny.
Any business owner knows that over the years there will be people who question their fees. Surrogacy agencies are always in the hot spot because the topic of surrogacy and egg donation is and always will be debated. Some people feel strongly that there should be no agencies. The comment I’ve heard many times is that we shouldn’t profit from others providing an altruistic service. My rationale is this: Ask yourself who else profits from the altruistic nature of surrogacy and egg donation? Literally everyone. Anger stems from not truly understanding what we do. Keep in mind that I am of the opinion that egg donors and surrogates should be able to profit from the choice they make. Also keep in mind that I will not discuss other agencies in this blog. I am focusing on what I offer and why I defend our right to charge fees for the valuable service we provide.
Like any service you want, it comes at the price the provider values it at. You might pay less for one program, but maybe they don’t manage clinic coordination. Maybe you pay more for another program because they have more overhead and are a larger company. Either way, you have to do your research and decide which agency is for you based on what your needs are and what you can afford. Fertility clinics, lawyers, and counsellors are no different. For most people, the most difficult part of surrogacy is finding a surrogate.
For your information: the monthly costs are vast for what goes into actually finding and screening amazing women who might want to be pregnant for a stranger or perhaps donate their eggs.
- On average $5000 per month for google ad words, including our ad manager salary, plus any social ad strategies.
- On average 10 hours of pay (per potential surrogate or egg donor) for my administrator and myself to do consultations and emailing
- Any costs related to screening like AMH or genetic carrier screening
- IVF Nurse fees for support and medical consults
Never mind the monthly fees once a surrogate decides to move forward, like Intended Parent coaching and support fees, profile building and social media creation time. Plus, my office overhead costs. I have costs to help Intended Parents find someone. I’m not sitting over here just cold calling women I don’t know in the hopes someone will pick up and not think I’m crazy. It costs money to run a business, so why would people think I should be providing a service for free? It’s a bit mind-boggling.
I’ve had three successful surrogate births. I didn’t start any agency for a quick buck at the expense of Intended Parents. I saw a need for personal support in a new way and wanted to be a part of offering something good back into the world. Does it make me money? Of course! I can’t feed my children on hopes and dreams. But when did society decide that making money while doing something good for others was wrong? This isn’t a non-profit, but we can genuinely want to help people while also making a living. Millions of occupations are built on providing services for others that help them better their lives.
I have friends who offer life coaching services. I never really understood this rising niche, but it seems to be exploding on my social media advertising. Regardless, my friends are charging completely different prices based on what they call ‘worth’. So, let’s talk about that word. How worth is defined to me, might be different to you. Your ultimate goal is a baby – that isn’t going to change. My goal is exactly the same. How we get there and what we provide to help you on that journey is designed by me. I provide a service and I’ve decided what my worth is based on what we provide along the way and how we provide it. The biggest hurdle in infertility I identified a few years ago, was the lack of humanity presented by fertility specialists in all fields. This included lawyers, doctors, nurses, counsellors, and agencies. If you’ve been through any fertility treatments, you know what I’m talking about. It is inevitable to feel like a cog in the wheel of a very overloaded system. Infertility is not some hushed, small-peas issue anymore with limited options. It is a massive, million-dollar industry thriving on providing support and solutions for family building in Canada.
So, what am I worth? What are my connections in the industry worth to you? What are my ten years of experience in surrogacy worth when screening and supporting a potential surrogate for you? I don’t pay myself an hourly wage. If I did, I probably would be making the same as someone working at McDonald’s. I don’t log the hours at night that I am texting egg donors about their trigger shot or the hours I put into social media creation. I didn’t log the two hours I was on the phone with a surrogate yesterday and bill her Intended Parents. I just charge a flat rate based on a general idea of what I think is reasonable during the time period that I’m helping each couple. I don’t charge for every time you want me to contact the clinic staff immediately and find out the answers to your non-emergency questions. I do not charge extra for the hours you want to talk to our Intended Parent Coach because you are anxious about the birth of your baby coming up. I know that all these things are a possibility during any journey, and I take the good with the bad, because that’s what I say I will do to ensure that you, your surrogate, and/or your egg donor feel supported. Please do not forget that support looks different to everyone. Some surrogates have an easy journey right off the hop and others struggle through failed transfers and miscarriages. I don’t charge more for the journeys that are more difficult. If I started to charge an hourly rate and bill that way, nobody could afford our programs. Keep in mind that the service I provide is not a guarantee of a baby or of dozens of euploid embryos. This is why fees come at different stages of the journey. The personal service is to help you through the worst of times, but also through the joys and happiness. It’s to give everyone a safe place where they are heard and cared for.
We are here to help you build an amazing relationship with your surrogate so that you don’t necessarily depend on us, but on each other for the ups and downs. We are always here to aid with the logistics and to give you a neutral space to come talk if needed. We also have many different programs depending on what you need. This sometimes is just IVF support from our team and not always the surrogacy program. It’s why we have different service options. In this very cynical world, it is easy to judge others for what they charge or the service they provide. But for the Intended Parents who are now reading stories to their child or swaddling their new baby, it is so worth it.
Please consider the value of our programs and the costs to run our office efficiently before you jump to conclusions that we are making millions over here off the backs of IPs. I assure you we are not getting rich. We are simply finding a way to give back to this beautiful world in a way that is personal to me. I understand the beauty of surrogacy and egg donation intimately. I know how life-changing one choice can be. It’s exhausting and hard on the heart when people post comments or gossip about agencies being corrupt places where we take advantage of IPs who are most vulnerable. Desiring anything makes you vulnerable. The catch is to see the humanity in who we are and the truth behind what we say. Years of experience has taught me many things, but the most important one is to always be truthful, even when it hurts. So, if I don’t think I can help you, I’m going to tell you. I’m not going to pretend and take your money. I would like to look back on my life at the end of my days and feel like I made a small difference in the lives of a few. That’s why I started this in the first place.