BY ANNABEL MONAGHAN
The cost of college is so high that many people are afraid to pursue a college education without a practical plan for how they’ll pay for tuition. This has led many to pursue creative, out-of-the-box ideas – including surrogacy.
The Cost of a College Education
Obtaining a college degree isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s downright unaffordable for most people. Even after accounting for inflation, college tuition prices have risen dramatically over the last couple of decades.
According to data curated by U.S. News & World Report, from the 2008-2009 school year to the 2018-2019 school year, in-state tuition among public universities grew by 68 percent. Without any intervention, it’s expected to increase even more in the coming decade.
For the 2018-2019 school year, the average cost of tuition and fees was $35,676 at private colleges and $9,716 for state residents at public colleges. For out-of-state students at public college, the average tuition was $21,629 per year.
In addition to rising tuition costs, students and their families also face stiff increases in fees. Schools that don’t want to advertise tuition hikes will increase the fees that students are required to pay in order to enroll and sign up for classes. These can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars per semester, and leave very limited budgets for other college essentials like books or sleeping mattresses.
As one would anticipate, the high cost of obtaining a college degree means many students are graduating with significant amounts of debt. According to the latest reports, there are now more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in unsettled student loan debt. This makes it the second-highest debt category (behind mortgages, but ahead of credit cards and car loans).
Borrowers from the class of 2017 owe, on average, $28,650. The delinquency/default rate for student loan debt is 11.4 percent (despite a booming economy).
While some students have their college paid for by grants and/or loans, most students end up with an expensive estimate of what it will cost (with no guarantees that tuition will remain the same from year to year). This puts them in a situation where they have to choose between going to college and taking on enormous amounts of debt, or skipping college and minimizing their career potential and future earnings.
Students would be wise to first consider whether they qualify for grants or loans. However, for those who don’t have access to these resources, there are other options. These include creative and unconventional ideas. For female students, surrogacy could be an option.
How the Surrogacy Process Works
Gestational surrogacy is the process by which in vitro fertilization (IVF) is used to gather eggs from the mother, fertilize them with the father’s sperm, and place the embryo into the uterus of another woman who is willing and capable of carrying and delivering the baby. This individual is known as the surrogate mother.
Surrogacy has become increasingly common over the last few years. It’s commonly used when a birth mother is unable to carry a baby to term, or when delivery could pose serious harm. It’s also used in situations where two males want to have a child together and need a female to carry the baby. (Though an egg donor will also have to participate.)
The nature of surrogacy – and the circumstances surrounding it – create an opportunity by which the surrogate mother can earn a substantial sum of money for her participation. Depending on certain lifestyle factors, health information, and experience, a surrogate will earn at least $30,000. In many cases, surrogate mothers can earn $50,0000 to $80,000 per pregnancy. This does not include medical expenses and other accommodations, which are also compensated for.
The surrogacy mother process looks like this:
- The mother begins by filling out an online surrogate mother application in which detailed questions are asked about lifestyle, pregnancy, work history, medical history, etc.
- If the application is accepted, the mother is placed into a pool of surrogate mothers and matched with intended parents.
- Once a tentative match is made, medical records are pulled, and evaluations are conducted to verify a good pairing.
- Next, the IVF process takes place, and the embryo is placed inside the surrogate mother.
- The final stage of the process is pregnancy and delivery.
The Pros and Cons of Surrogacy
Whether it’s $30,000, $80,000, or somewhere in between, a single surrogate pregnancy has the potential to pay for three or four years of college and still leave money in your pocket. But this isn’t a trivial undertaking. It’s a serious matter with real consequences for everyone involved. If you’re considering it as an option to help you pay for college, consider the pros and cons:
- Carrying a child for someone who is unable to do so on their own is a fulfilling experience that brings a sense of purpose and meaning. It’ll make you appreciate the beauty of nurturing a human life.
- Surrogate mothers are legally protected, which means you don’t have to worry about paying for medical expenses, responsibilities after birth, etc.
- As previously mentioned, the financial payout can be quite large. Regardless of whether or not you’re paying for college, it’s a hefty sum that can be used in numerous ways.
- Pregnancy is not easy. It’s both physically and emotionally challenging. It may not be your baby you’re carrying, but you’ll experience all of the same pregnancy symptoms that any expectant mother would.
- There are significant health risks associated with pregnancy and delivery. Modern medicine has mitigated many of these risks, but the possibility of complications always exists.
- Surrogacy is a lengthy process that will usually take at least a year from start to finish. It’s not something you decide to do one day and follow through with the next.
Weigh All of Your Options
The cost of a college degree is more expensive than it’s ever been. If you don’t have scholarships and grants, you need a plan for how you’ll pay for tuition. Surrogacy is one option, but there are dozens of others. Do your due diligence and find the one that’s right for you.
Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.