Kelli Auerbach ditched her car, vacations, any social outing that required money, and even her own place for six months—living for free with friends in a different state—all so she could stockpile money. She needs a lot, tens of thousands, in order to pay another woman to carry her child. In a piece for BuzzFeed, she charts her fertility ordeal: As a single woman she knew there would be a cost involved, just not this cost. The inexpensive route, intrauterine insemination, failed six times. The self-proclaimed penny pincher blanched at the thought of IVF, which can cost $15,000 per cycle, but went ahead. That failed three times, leaving her with frozen embryos and one last biological option: surrogacy. She initially "burst out laughing" at the "absurdity" of the suggestion.
But, she writes, "infertility is a vortex with a wildly strong current." Test the waters, and it's hard to pull yourself out. "Could I actually give up at this point? Throw in the towel? What’s another $500? Another $5,000? Another $50,000? At some point it starts to feel like Monopoly money." And so the scrimping began, as well as the search for a surrogate, which Auerbach details. She ultimately found one, and they're in the preliminary part of the process: medical testing and lawyers. And with a baby seeming more imminent (though she notes there's no guarantee, as the surrogate could miscarry, or a preterm baby could die), she's asking questions that parents who get pregnant without medical intervention don't have to. "Will I resent my kid for eating up my savings? Will my kid resent the fact that I spent its college fund on its existence? Will my kid feel like it owes me because I spent so much to give it life? Will I feel like my kid owes me?" Read her piece in full here. (Read more surrogates stories.)