Surrogacy Assistance Program

Columbia University offers the Surrogacy Assistance Program (the “Program”) to help eligible employees with the Eligible Expenses incurred when using a surrogate to assist in carrying and giving birth to a child. Full-time, regular Officers and full-time, regular Non-Union Support Staff are eligible for this program.

How to Apply

An “Eligible Employee” is a benefits-eligible Officer who is actively employed by Columbia University on a full-time, regular basis or a benefits-eligible Non-Union Support Staff who is actively employed by Columbia University on a full-time, regular basis either of which who use a surrogate to assist to carry a child.

An employee of Columbia University may participate in the Program on or after the first day the employee becomes an Eligible Employee. Participation in the Program ends on the earlier of: (1) the date the Eligible Employee ceases to be an Eligible Employee for any reason; provided, that Eligible Expenses incurred while an Eligible Employee are covered under the Program, subject to the benefit limitations under the Program, if submitted within 31 days of the employee losing his or her status as an Eligible Employee or (2) the date the Eligible Employee receives the maximum benefit under the Program pursuant to the terms of the Program.

The Program reimburses the Eligible Employee up to $30,000 per lifetime for Eligible Expenses. The $30,000 per lifetime limit applies to the Eligible Employee’s entire household, meaning that, if the Eligible Employee has a spouse who also qualifies as an Eligible Employee, the combined benefit the Eligible Employees may enjoy under the Program is limited to $30,000.

The benefit provided under the Program is taxable, meaning that it appears in the Eligible Employee’s paycheck and is subject to applicable federal, state and/or city taxes as well as FICA and Medicare taxes.

“Eligible Expenses” are medical expenses that would typically be covered by the infertility provisions of Columbia’s medical plan and that are not covered by Columbia’s or any other medical plan; provided, that the medical expense is not an “Essential Health Benefit” as defined under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, as amended, and New York State law. This may include the following:

  • Pre-treatment evaluation, including evaluation of the uterine cavity by HSG, sono-hysterogram or hysteroscopy
  • Artificial insemination (timed inseminations during a natural or stimulated cycle (clomiphene citrate)
  • Donor sperm
  • Donated eggs that have been previously frozen and sold by egg banks
  • Fresh eggs from someone already undergoing an IVF cycle who wishes to donate her eggs
  • Fresh eggs from a known or anonymous donor
  • IVF cycle
  • Preparation of the uterus to receive an embryo(s)
  • Frozen embryo transfer cycle
    • Progesterone therapy
    • Estrogen therapy
    • Serial ultrasounds and lab work to measure hormone levels
  • Embryo transfer
  • Post-transfer monitoring with serial hCG and progesterone levels
  • Expenses related to extraction and/or implantation of eggs or embryos, and fertilization of eggs

For purposes of this Program, the Plan Administrator of the Columbia University Group Benefits Plan shall have full discretion and authority to determine whether a medical expense is or is not an Essential Health Benefit as defined under ACA and/or New York state law as in effect on the date the determination is made.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Fees paid to an egg donor or egg donor agency
  • Fees paid to the surrogate for her services
  • Long term (more than 30 days) storage of blood, umbilical cord, reproductive materials or other material (e.g., cryopreservation of tissue, blood and blood products)
  • Any expenses that violate state or federal law
  • Costs paid using funds received from any federal, state, or local program
  • Expenses allowed as a credit or deduction under any other federal income tax rule
  • Expenses already paid or reimbursed by another employer or other party

For purposes of this Program, the Plan Administrator of the Columbia University Group Benefits Plan shall have full discretion and authority to determine whether a medical expense is or is not an Essential Health Benefit as defined under ACA and/or New York state law as in effect on the date the determination is mad

To apply for reimbursement of Eligible Expenses, complete the Surrogacy Assistance Form.

Submit the completed form to the Benefits Service Center by the earlier of: (1) six months of the date the child is born or (2) the 31st day after the employee loses his or her status as an Eligible Employee.

Any application for a benefit under the Program that is not provided using the Surrogacy Assistance Form or that is provided after the deadline for submission will be rejected and no reimbursement will be made to the applicant.  You will not be reimbursed during the surrogacy process.

Acceptable documentation of eligible expenses consists of original itemized bills accompanied by receipts or canceled checks confirming payment, along with paperwork that demonstrates that a legal surrogacy arrangement has been executed. Examples of acceptable documentation include surrogacy agency statements on letterhead, attorney/lawyer invoices on letterhead, canceled checks (personal or certified), credit card receipts/statements, and money orders. Documentation of a cash payment is not acceptable.

If originals cannot be produced for review, or cannot be kept in your file, notarized copies are acceptable forms of documentation.

Note: An eligible employee who uses the Surrogacy Benefit is not eligible to use the Adoption Assistance benefit for the child born of the surrogate mother.

If upon review of your claim for reimbursement, a portion of, or your entire claim is denied, you will be notified of this denial in writing, within a reasonable amount of time. The determination of the AVP of Benefits, Central HR with respect to your claim shall be binding and final. Should you wish to bring a civil court action challenging the denial of a portion of, or your entire claim, you must file any such action within one (1) year following the issuance of the denial notice. In addition, any such action must be filed in a court of competent jurisdiction with venue in New York County.

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, the University reserves the right in its sole discretion to change or terminate, in whole or in part, the Program at any time.