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How one gay Dallas couple's surrogacy journey convinced PwC to change its benefits

Dom Difurio

06/17/2019

Ryan Layman and his husband, Alex Reyher, had always talked about starting a family.

"We knew it was going to take a long time," Layman said.

Like any couple serious about parenthood, Layman and Reyher did their research. They quickly focused on surrogacy, a costly process that allows same-sex and heterosexual couples who otherwise wouldn't be able to conceive to have a genetic tie to their child. 

But legal and medical expenses, as well as compensation for egg donors and the surrogate, can soar upward of $100,000. 

Before they began their surrogacy journey in 2016, Layman had a casual discussion with leaders at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting firm where he's a director in Dallas. Layman has been with PwC for more than a decade. The firm was having its semi-annual LGBT summit and he asked whether surrogacy reimbursement as a health care benefit was something the company was considering.

In attempts to attract and retain talent, some big technology firms and large corporations have begun offeringreimbursement for infertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization. One round of in-vitro fertilization, the process by which sperm and egg are fertilized outside the body, can cost $20,000.

But PwC didn't offer surrogacy benefits to its 2,000 employees in Dallas, or elsewhere in the U.S., as a perk at the time.

 

Dallas residents Alex Reyher (left) and Ryan Layman (right) welcome their newborn, Rory. The couple chose surrogacy in their family planning and ended up influencing a change in how Layman's employer, PwC, provides benefits like surrogacy reimbursement.(Courtesy of Ryan Layman)

Dallas residents Alex Reyher (left) and Ryan Layman (right) welcome their newborn, Rory. The couple chose surrogacy in their family planning and ended up influencing a change in how Layman's employer, PwC, provides benefits like surrogacy reimbursement.  

(Courtesy of Ryan Layman) 

Surrogacy appealed to Layman and Reyher because they'd read about same-sex couples who'd used it to have twin boys — each with genetic similarities to one of the parents. "It really kind of sparked our interest in hopes of having a blended family," Layman said.

When they talked to surrogacy groups, the couple was told that it was common to use genes from both parents by fertilizing two embryos. "You hope for one and in the best case you get twins," Layman said.

 

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