Ask the Money Coach: Financial Implications of Adoption Versus IVF

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Dear Money Coach,

We are thinking about expanding our family but as same-sex parents, we’ll have to go to alternative methods.

What are things to consider financially in terms of adoption versus IVF?

Excited-to-Be-Expecting


Dear Excited-to-Be-Expecting,

Over the last ten years, I have had the great honor to support two of my male friends in their quest to be parents, so I have seen firsthand the love, dedication and sacrifice it takes to bring children into the world through IVF.  The miracle of this process is beyond imagining.  They now have two beautiful children who will start kindergarten next year. Similarly, I have been privy to the joys of adoption through friends of mine who were adopted as children or friends who have adopted children as adults.

From my vantage point, there are many pros and cons in the family planning process and each decision will be predicated by your personal story, your partner, your finances, your family beliefs and values.  Let’s break down your options a little further.

Cost of adoptions

According to consumer advocacy websites, the average adoption costs in the state of Washington are between $400 – $40,000. Private adoptions in America are, on average, between $50,000 – $60,000. State adoptions are less expensive. They also have potentially longer administrative time, with public adoptions allowing time for biological parents to complete the state requirements. 

Adoption domestically can take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years or more, and the requirements are governed by state and county law. International adoptions are more expensive. They are also are subject to the regulations and requirements of the home country as well as the U.S. Department of State.

Cost of IV

While adoption costs consist primarily of legal fees, home visits, and adoption paperwork costs, IVF is a completely different complex scenario.  Depending on the makeup of your family, costs will be incurred for IVF treatments. In Seattle, one treatment costs on average is roughly $9,000. For total costs, you’ll also need to account for the number of treatments you need to become pregnant. Then, add possible donor costs, medical costs and potentially surrogate costs. It adds up.

If you and your partner are male, then there will be medical fees for the egg donor and possibly for a separate surrogate. With IVF, the parents are responsible for all medical costs, plus the payment to the surrogate. Finding friends and loved ones who would like to contribute to this process is a way to save money. However, my research shows that the average IVF surrogate childbirth in the U.S. is somewhere between $120,000 – $150,000.

Things to consider before deciding between IVF and Adoption:

  1. Research the costs and available resources for you in your area
  2. Research stories and case studies 
    • Talk to people who have done IVF and adoption
    • Research books and stories from families who have done IVF and adoption
  3. Assess your timing and budget
  4. Identify with your partner your preferred route for your family

Becoming a parent

Taking on the role of a parent, whether through IVF or adoption, is a noble job that has the power to transform you into a better, more present, and more selfless human being. We all strive for greatness, and when those little eyes stare up at you in unconditional love, all of these choices and sacrifices and costs fall to the wayside and you will rise to the occasion. I know you will be great at it. Best of luck.

Related Reads:

5 Financial Tips for Parents

Generational Wealth and a Financial Legacy Check List

Debt, Love, and Life Goals

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