IVF, Adoption & More: What Will It Cost You?


At LearnVest, we want to help you understand all of the costs of motherhood so that you can make wise decisions.

When we discussed how much it costs to delay one’s biological clock with egg freezing, lots of users wrote in with an assortment of follow-up questions. The most common thing you asked us to explore were options for adoption. You ask, we answer.

This is a topic close to our hearts. Among our staff, those of us who aren’t already parents are looking forward to eventually having children, but we want to know our options.

Just like no two kids are the same, no two adoptions are the same. Adoptions range from no cost to more than $40,000, depending on everything from which country the baby comes from to whose womb he or she grew in. Whether or not adoption is actually in the cards for you, we’re all about sparking debate and helping readers (and their uteruses) know their options. Here’s a rundown of many different reproductive options:

Special Delivery

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Children & Families, almost all types of adoptions have universal costs, including home study by a social worker and court fees. It gets more complicated from there, depending on the type of adoption.

Foster Care Adoptions are Usually for Special Needs

Fees for adopting a child from foster care are usually kept to a minimum or waived because most public agencies only adopt out children with special needs—which can mean anything from disabilities to being slightly older to needing to be adopted with siblings. Costs for this typically run anywhere from nothing at all to $2,500. These children often bring with them government subsidy payments called adoption assistance, Supplemental Security Income (i.e. disability checks) or Medicaid coverage. That, and good karma; there are well over 100,000 children in the American foster care system ready to be adopted.

The Cost of American Adoptions Varies Widely

Adopting an American infant will run you $5,000 to $40,000, depending on the agency and the circumstances. Some agencies charge less if you find your own willing birth parent and some offer sliding scale fees for prospective parents who aren’t wealthy.

International Adoptions Can Be a Bit More Complicated

Adopting internationally from a place like Russia or China could cost more or less. The estimated range is $7,000 to $30,000 and includes everything from immigration processing fees to donations to foreign orphanages. If you plan to travel to meet the child, tack on transportation costs and remember that you’ll need to have plenty of vacation time saved up.

Subsidies for Adoption Costs

The price tag for any adoption can be daunting, but the expenses need not all be out of pocket. Prospective parents should explore federal and state tax credits, subsidies and reimbursements for certain children, and reimbursement from corporate workplaces. For the remaining balance, there are adoption loans and grants.

What You Should Know About Egg Freezing

The best candidates are cancer patients who may lose fertility during treatment and women who aren’t quite ready for kids but face declining fertility. The total cost for the pre-procedure hormone injections, surgical extraction, storage, and then implantation of the eggs ranges from about $13,000 up to almost $20,000 … all with about a 30% success rate.

The Cycles of Motherhood

Similarly, in-vitro fertilization is not cheap. It costs about $12,000 per cycle (genetic testing can cost a few thousand more) and, of course, there’s no guarantee of success. This price presumes that you’re using your eggs and your partner’s sperm. Donor sperm will bump the price to between $13,000 and $17,000, while donor eggs will make it $25,000 to $30,000. Talk to clinics about payment plans and even guaranteed refund programs if you don’t have a viable pregnancy after three or more cycles. Additionally, some insurance companies may cover some costs, so check into your policy before you start down this path.

Hired Help

The cost of using a surrogate varies widely, like so much else. Above and beyond the cost of her in-vitro fertilization, a surrogacy agency will charge fees in the thousands for finding and screening potential surrogates and guiding prospective parents through the process. Once selected, the surrogate’s fee is usually around $20,000, higher if it’s a multiple birth or a C-section. Then there’s her health care, life insurance, your legal fees, and extras like her lost wages and a maternity clothing stipend. It all adds up to between $60,000 and $80,000.

The Natural Way

Making your own child may be free, but having it certainly isn’t. A typical pregnancy, even if you have insurance, costs between $6,000 and $10,000, more with a C-section.

No matter how a child comes into your life, it’s a blessing, and one that’s going to cost you. Find out just how much by using the child rearing calculator.

  • Guest

    Interesting timing–did you see the news today about the shortage of foster parents in the US? http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-09-23-fostercare23_ST_N.htm

  • MomTown

    There are so many hidden costs with having a child. It is life’s greatest job but, as you say, it will cost ya!

  • Watchdog

    I didn’t realize the gov pays for foster kids in many cases. AHHHH, that explains why you hear about abuses.

  • Pingback: IVF To Foster Care Adoption: Cost To Adopt A Child? | LearnVest Blog | Adoption

  • Guest

    I spent the last 3 years trying to get pregnant (from age 40-43). Could write a book about this, but wanted to comment that IVF is often more expensive than 12K a cycle. My experience was including the fertility drugs, and the accompanying acupuncture (which is highly recommended), you’re looking at around 15-17K. And my PPO insurance covered zero. nnI’ve done a fair amount of research into fost-adopt programs, and I wouldn’t classify those children as special needs, except for the age issue. Most of those kids are not going back to their birth families, and really need a home. nnWatching numerous friends go through the adoption process, both internationally and domestically, I observed that by far the international programs had the longest wait and were the most expensive. nnIf you want more information on these topics, RESOLVE (the US infertility association) is an excellent online resource.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for your comments. This is very generous of you to share your experiences, your insight, and the directive to go to RESOLVE. Much appreciated. Please keep reading and weighing in.nCheers,nCaroline WaxlernChief Content and Community Officer

    • Norah Tucker

      I see we have person suggesting adoption for IVF patients. Why? What experience do you have? Can you put yourself in my shoes? I’ve endured six rounds of IVF with just one pregnancy that ended in miscarriage. I’m not a career woman who wanted to wait; we began trying to have a child when I was in my twenties. In short I’m human like you with a heartfelt desire to be a mum to my baby. I can’t. It takes so long to get through the process of exploring why one can’t have children, to get to IVF. To find out that your PCT doesn’t fund beyond one cycle and then to save up for private treatment that there are two reasons why adoption isn’t always suitable. With husband we put the last hope into medical Centre in aforementioned Ukraine. You to know It`s rather famous. Their reproduction center in the capital offers good price for all-inclusive package. And provide high level service. Plus in case of 5 unsuccessful attempts, clinic will give our money back. That is why we choose it. We fly the next month and pray that it wouldn’t be another disappointment. Back to adoption, maybe one day I will adopt a child, but it will be for very different reasons than those which drove me to undergo IVF cycles.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YCJDQYMXU6HUTWODLTCTHVGL2E Dianne Morris

    Hi, So many methods of adoption to choose from. You have mentioned in cycles of motherhood that IVF is not cheap as in, it costs around 12,000$ per cycle. But, I know so many fertility centers which offer good IVF treatment at affordable prices. You should check out the website “http://vermesh.com/” for more details on IVF. Good luck!!nn

  • Ruby

    To my mind, if you want a kid but can’t spawn one of your own more advisable will be to consider adoption. Adopt instead of wasting thousands of money on a selfish and needless procedure. Whilst I appreciate the heartfelt and natural desire of many infertile couples to have their own children. I nevertheless don’t believe it is right that IVF should be available. Particularly when it is time of severe spending cutbacks. I don’t believe than IVF indeed to become much cheaper procedure than adoption. To me it is ridiculous. In the meantime, adoption is a very responsible and wonderful role for any adult to take on. And it’s should be more promoted to infertile couples. In addition, there are natural ways to increase fertility. I mean the Foresight program which can have very real. It has benefits without the expensive and high tech IVF. Not without reason, in many countries there is a ban on such procedure. A is available and popular in the poorest countries with a weak economy. For example Thailand or Ukraine.