Budgeting Tips for Non-Traditional Family Planning

Be sure you’re aware of the costs associated with non-traditional family planning so you can budget for them

If you're starting or growing your family in a nontraditional way — whether through adoption, surrogacy, or other measures — you'll likely spend more than other couples because of additional costs, says Michelle Hausmann, an attorney at adoption and reproductive law firm Hausmann & Hickman.

Before budgeting for diapers, formula, and clothes, you may need to pay for expenses such as agencies, lawyers, and health care. "All the little things can add up quickly," Hausmann says, noting that the costs for a private adoption can be as much as $40,000 or more, and $75,000 to $100,000 plus for surrogacy.

Depending on how you plan to grow your family, you may need to budget for one or more of these four costs.

1. Pregnancy-related Costs

If you plan in-vitro fertilization (IVF), you may need to budget $30,000 or more for the procedure. Depending on your insurance coverage and the state in which you live, your health insurance policy may or may not cover IVF. Some states have laws requiring insurers to offer varied levels of infertility coverage, including IVF.

If you plan to use donated specimen, a sperm donation can cost $2,000 to $3,000 or more, while an egg donation can cost $30,000 or more. Asking a friend or family member to donate specimen can reduce costs.

2. Agency Fees

If you use an agency to locate an egg donor or surrogate mother, plan to budget between $6,000 and $20,000 for agency fees alone, Hausmann says. Of course, finding a gestational surrogate on your own — a friend or family member, for example — eliminates agency fees.

If you’re adopting, you may be able to recoup some agency costs by taking advantage of the federal adoption tax credit, which was $13,570 for qualifying adoptions in 2017.

If you adopt through foster care, you may be entitled to subsidies — monthly stipends paid to an adoptive family through the child’s 18th birthday — from the state to pay for things such as the child’s clothing and school fees.

"Adopting a child in state custody is a beautiful way to create a family, and it can be much less expensive," Hausmann explains. "The child also will likely have Medicaid, which will cover most of his or her medical expenses, and the adoptive parents won’t be responsible for any legal fees."

3. Carrier Fees

Agency fees will usually cover the cost of finding and vetting a gestational surrogate or birth mother, but they typically don’t cover costs paid to the carrier herself.

In the case of adoption, you might agree to help the birth mother with her rent and other living expenses during the pregnancy.

In the case of surrogacy, a surrogate typically expects $25,000 or more, as well as reimbursement for expenses such as doctor’s visits, health insurance, lost wages, home study evaluations, psychological counseling, and maternity clothes.

4. Legal Fees

Be sure you’re aware of the costs associated with non-traditional family planning so you can budget for them

You could accumulate $10,000 or more in legal fees for services such as a specimen donor agreement, a contract with a surrogate, and court representation.

When it comes to financing these costs, help is available in multiple forms. Some adoption and surrogacy agencies offer their own financing assistance. In addition, organizations across the country offer grants to assist with adoption and/or surrogacy, including, for example:

Growing a family is a big financial endeavor for anyone. But if you plan to welcome a child in a nontraditional manner, upfront budget planning tips can go a long way in keeping the costs in check — and helping you focus on the joy of your new adventure into parenthood.

Planning a family in a nontraditional way? This checklist can help and so can using budget calculators to create a family budget.


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