Ask the Money Coach: Financial Implications of Adoption Versus IVF

Let’s face it. Most people don’t have access to a financial advisor. And if they do, those financial advisors may not take into account the human side of managing money – like how spending, saving, and stressing about it actually makes us feel.

That’s why we’ve brought in the money coaches* to help break down the financial cost of becoming parents.

Dear Money Coach,

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

What are the financial implications of adoption versus IVF?


Dear Excited-to-Be-Expecting,

Over the last ten years, I have had the great honor of supporting two of my male friends in their quest to be parents. 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 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.

Each decision will be predicated on your personal story, partner, finances, 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 Washington are between $400 and $40,000. On average, private adoptions in America range from $50,000 to $60,000. State adoptions are less expensive. They may also have longer administrative time, with public adoptions allowing time for biological parents to complete the state requirements.

Domestic adoption can take anywhere from 3 months to 2 or more years, with requirements governed by state and county law. International adoptions are more expensive. They are subject to the regulations and requirements of the home country, in addition to the U.S. Department of State.

Cost of IV

While adoption costs consist primarily of legal fees, home visits, and paperwork, IVF is an entirely different and complex scenario. Costs for IVF treatments will vary depending on your family’s structure and location. In Seattle, one treatment costs roughly $9,000. You’ll also need to account for the number of treatments you need to become pregnant. Then, add possible donor, medical, and surrogate costs. It adds up.

If you and your partner are male, 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 and the surrogate’s payment. Finding friends and loved ones who would like to contribute to this process is a way to save money. My research shows that the average IVF surrogate childbirth in the U.S. is between $120,000 and $150,000.

What 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. With your partner, identify 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, sacrifices, and costs fall to the wayside. I know you will rise to the occasion and be great at it—best of luck!

Image of a man and woman lying on the floor smiling and laughing. Their son is lying on his father's chest, while their daughter is lying on her mother's chest. The overlaid text reads 5 financial steps to take before starting a family. The read now button links to the article 5 Financial Steps to Take Before Starting a Family.

Related Reads:

5 Financial Tips for Parents

How to Save for Family Leave

Generational Wealth and a Financial Legacy Check List

Debt, Love, and Life Goals

5 Financial Steps to Take Before Starting a Family

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*Just remember, we are NOT your financial advisors, tax advisors, or legal advisors by simply accessing this site.  Everything that you read or interact with on the site is for informational purposes only. You should contact a professional before taking action.

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