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Here's How to Make a Budget for IVF or Adoption

Jan 12, 2018 3 min read Ilana Polyak

Key Takeaways

  • Know the average costs of IVF and adoption, so you can set a budget.
  • Check with HR; programs are available to help with out-of-pocket costs.
  • Don’t forget to take the tax breaks you surely deserve.


As any parent knows, raising children is expensive. According to an oft-cited statistic from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, parents will shell out $233,000 to raise a child until he or she hits age 18.1

But for some, the bills start arriving well before a child does, and knowing how to make a budget will ensure you have the capability to afford the costs.


Not everyone can have children in the traditional way. About 12% of women of childbearing age have received fertility assistance,2  sometimes at a staggering expense. And same-sex couples must pursue an alternative — and costlier — path to parenthood in almost all cases.

Along with the high emotions and stresses that can come with creating a family in non-traditional ways, there can also be some high expenses. If you and your partner find yourself in this situation, no matter how you intend to create your family — be it through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), adoption or surrogacy — here’s how to plan for the costs.



Understand what you’ll pay

The average cost of intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is $865.3  However, one cycle of IVF can run between $10,000 and $15,000, depending on where you live, and that doesn’t include the medicines you’ll need for the procedure. Plus, many patients undergo the procedure more than once.

Unfortunately, only 15 states currently require insurers to either cover or offer coverage for infertility; so, for many families, treatments such as IVF or the less invasive IUI are an out-of-pocket expense. If you don’t happen to live in one of those 15 states, you have some options to pay for the procedure.

First, consider applying for an IVF grant or scholarship provided by a non-profit organization to help defray the cost. Do an online search for “IVF grants” for a list of options. You can also check with fertility clinics near you to see if they have a payment plan that helps you spread out the cost over time. The more you can lower your monthly cost and reduce any interest you might face, the easier time you will have in paying down the balance of the procedures.

Surrogacy, meanwhile, is a whole other cost universe. The procedure involves implanting either your own eggs and sperm or a donor’s in a woman who carries the baby to term. It can run as high as $150,000, including the expenses of IVF, payment to the surrogate and hefty legal bills.4

Adoption is generally less costly. The least expensive option is to go through the foster care system, which often provides subsidies to parents who foster a child until adoption. Your financial outlay may only be $1,000 to $3,000. But adopting a newborn domestically can run between $35,000 and $45,000. International adoptions can raise the tab beyond $45,000, given the extra legal and travel expenses involved.5  Do an online search for “help with adoption” to find organizations that assist with this life-altering process.

Get help from your employer

You may not have to shoulder all the expenses on your own. Find out about benefits your company offers that can help with growing a non-traditional family.

Start by reviewing your health insurance coverage to understand what types of fertility treatments — if any — will be covered. Even if your policy doesn’t pay for IUI, IVF or other types of therapies, it may pay for some diagnostic tests to determine the cause of infertility.

For those considering adoption, bear in mind that adoption assistance is becoming a more widespread benefit. Over half of employers now offer it. Financial reimbursements range from $500 to more than $25,000.5

Don’t forget your tax breaks

Adoptive parents can take up to $13,840 as a tax credit to reimburse themselves for qualified expenses, including court and attorney fees, travel and meals. Tax credits are more valuable than deductions, because they let you reduce your tax bill dollar for dollar.

For example, parents who owe $20,000 in taxes and spent $10,000 on the adoption of their child can reduce their tax bill by $10,000.

While there is no direct tax deduction for infertility treatments, you can take a deduction for major medical expenses. In order to take the deduction, you must itemize rather than take the standard deduction. And your medical bills must exceed 7.5% of your gross income during the 2018 tax year, and 10% of income starting in 2019.6

You can deduct co-pays and co-insurance, lab fees and medications, and IVF and IUI fees not covered by your insurance. Travel-related expenses qualify, too. Please consult your tax and legal advisors regarding your particular circumstances.


What you can do next

Your road to parenthood may take many expensive twists and turns before you can have a child of your own. Prepare early and take advantage of the different benefits that can help you avoid a financial parent trap. Then, of course, your money concerns will shift to budgeting for those high costs of raising your child .


 1. USDA, https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/expenditures_on_children_by_families/2015CRCPressRelease.pdf

 2. CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/infertility.htm

 3. BabyCenter.com, https://www.babycenter.com/0_fertility-treatment-intrauterine-insemination-iui_4092.bc

 4. BabyCenter.com, https://www.babycenter.com/surrogacy

 5. Creatingafamily.org, https://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/adoption-cost-length-time/

 6. AARP, https://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/info-2018/medical-deductions-irs-fd.html


Ilana Polyak is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance and the financial advisory industry. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Barron's, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and CNBC.com.



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