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The Financial Realities of IVF and Adoption


For those unable to conceive a child through traditional means, there are alternative options to consider, such as adoption and a more recent development, in vitro fertilization (IVF). Both offer possible opportunities to bring children into your life, but there is often a high cost associated with either option.

If you are considering your options to expand your family, it’s important to understand the associated financial realities and develop a plan to deal with them.

IVF – impressive technology with a high price tag

IVF has made a real difference in the lives of many people wanting children. In a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found over 85,000 women in the U.S. undergo IVF treatments each year. The total cost associated with an initial treatment is around $24,000. Given that most women require multiple treatments, average costs can run up to $50,0001. Be sure to obtain a clear estimate of expenses from your provider before you make any final decisions.

In many situations, your health insurance will not cover the costs, or if it does, often only a portion. Be sure to check with your insurance to see what type of treatment might be eligible for coverage.

Funds set aside in a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account can be used to fund IVF treatments. Personal savings are another source but try not to put your emergency funds (which should total the equivalent of at least three-to-six months of income) at risk to meet other needs.

If borrowing is necessary to offset the costs, be sure to understand the terms of a loan and how monthly payments for an extended period will affect your budget and your other financial goals. You may want to consider exploring loans from family members, or a home equity line of credit. Alternatively, many medical clinics also offer lending programs, often with attractive interest rates.

Adoption – expenses can vary

Adoption is a longstanding option for those looking to bring a child into their family. You can anticipate costs with this process as well, but the amount typically depends on your approach.

Adopting a child from foster care may run up to $3,000, depending on whether you plan to hire an attorney to help with the paperwork. Adoption through a private adoption agency will be on the higher end of the spectrum, with costs as high as $30,000 or more2. Other fees may come into play as well.

Some employers may offer adoption assistance as a benefit, which can help defray some of the costs. In addition, tax laws allow you to claim an adoption tax credit (up to$14,440 in 20213) for qualified adoption expenses for each child. Eligibility for these credits is subject to income limits. Be sure to check with your tax advisor for more information.

Planning is critical

IVF and adoption offer great potential to help fulfill your goals related to adding children to your family. If either is under consideration in your household, planning for the financial consequences is vital. Talk to your financial advisor about developing a workable strategy to deal with the costs. You’ll want to explore realistic ways to prepare for these expenses. Planning should go beyond the financial commitment involved with the adoption or IVF processes. You’ll also want to consider the long-term financial impact of having another person in your household and how to prepare for that transition.

1Source: FertilityIQ.com, “The Cost of IVF By City,”(https://www.fertilityiq.com/topics/ivf/the-cost-of-ivf-by-city).

2United Way, “Adopting a child: Financial Considerations,”(https://www.unitedway.org/my-smart-money/financial-planning/starting-a-family/adopting-a-child-financial-considerations).

3Internal Revenue Service, “IRS provides tax inflation adjustments for tax year 2021,” Oct. 26,2020.(https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-provides-tax-inflation-adjustments-for-tax-year-2021).

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