June 12, 2024

Financial Considerations for LGBTQ+ Family Planning

In Financial Planning, LGBTQIA+, Wealth Strategy

Katie Quick
Contributions from: Katie Quick, CFP®

Family planning for LGBTQ+ couples can come with a unique set of challenges and considerations. While the emotional and logistical aspects of starting or expanding a family are at the forefront, financial planning is equally important. From navigating the costs of medical processes to understanding legal implications and securing parental rights, financial preparedness plays a pivotal role in LGBTQ+ family planning.

Understanding Your Family Planning Options

One of the first steps in LGBTQ+ family planning is understanding your options and the costs associated. The most common methods include adoption, surrogacy, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and intrauterine insemination (IUI).

Adoption: the costs depend on a variety of factors, such as: the type of adoption, the agency and adoption fees, as well as travel costs.

  • Domestic adoptions in the US average between $20,000 to $45,000, while international adoptions average between $35,000 to $70,000+[1].
  • Foster care adoptions typically have lower upfront costs, but ongoing expenses for legal fees and other services still apply.
  • Parents adopting children should be aware of the Adoption Tax Credit. The 2024 credit limit is up to $16,810 for qualified expenses[2].
  • Check your employer benefits packages for potential adoption benefits.

Surrogacy: involves a third-party carrying and delivering a child for intended parents. The costs associated with surrogacy vary depending on location, legal requirements, and medical expenses.

  • Surrogate compensation, plus additional benefits and expenses can range from $55,000 to $65,000[3].
  • Agency fees can range from $20,000 to $40,000[4].
  • Medical expenses for the surrogate can vary widely depending on aspects such as the surrogate’s health insurance or pregnancy complications.
  • A well-drafted surrogacy agreement can help to prevent disputes and ensure a smooth and legally sound surrogacy that protects the rights of all involved. Legal fees for drafting and reviewing these contracts can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars[5].

IVF*: one of the most used fertility treatments available. This procedure involves the retrieval of eggs from the ovaries, which are then fertilized in a medical laboratory and reinserted back into the womb. Costs can widely vary depending on several factors:

  • Initial consultation and testing costs anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars[6].
  • Multiple medications utilized ranging from $3,000 to $6,000 per cycle[7].
  • Procedure costs range from $15,000 to $30,000 per cycle[8].
  • Additional services that might include genetic testing, embryo freezing, and transferring.

IUI*: this treatment places sperm directly into the uterus around the time of ovulation. Like IVF, the cost IUI also varies on several factors:

  • Fees for sperm donation range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per vial[9].
  • The procedure costs on average between $500 to $4,000 per cycle[10].
  • Medication costs, which are generally lower than those for IVF.

* Success is not guaranteed and may require many attempts through IVF and IUI to conceive. Those seeking this route would be advised to know the limits of what they can spend, or what debt they are willing to acquire to see this process to fruition.

Other Medical Considerations

For transgender individuals, the start of gender-affirming treatments can bring fertility implications. Should you choose to preserve eggs or sperm for future family planning, you should be aware of additional costs.

  • You can expect to pay an average of $11,000 to freeze eggs with $500 to $1,000 annual storage fees[11]. You can expect to pay between $100 and $500 annually to freeze and store sperm[12].
  • The cost of an egg donor averages around $35,000[13], while the average cost of a sperm donor is $1,000[14].
  • Most procedures and costs are not covered by insurance, so we recommend accounting for these additional expenses in your financial plan.

Additional Financial Considerations

Insurance Coverage: While some insurance plans offer partial coverage for fertility treatments, many do not cover these expenses at all. It is recommended to call your insurance provider before you take any initial steps to fully understand the potential costs and what will be covered by insurance or paid out-of-pocket.

Paid Leave Parental Benefits: Washington, Oregon, and California all have protective laws that grant paid leave “to care for a child, regardless of legal or biological relationship.”[15]  Laws can vary by state, so it is strongly advised to check with the local regulations around parental leave, which can include being paid for that time off.

Legally Recognized Parenthood & Protections: For LGBTQ+ parents, establishing parental rights and protections for non-biological parents is critical. We recommend engaging with an attorney who is familiar with LGBTQ+ family systems in your state. This may entail creating a detailed plan to establish who will care for your child if you and/or your spouse pass away, are incapacitated, or become divorced. In many jurisdictions, same-sex couples may need to pursue second-parent adoption to establish legal parental rights for the non-biological parent.

Finally, do not forget the estate plan! You can find more information about estate planning for children in this article.

Cash Planning: Becoming a parent brings a whole new set of expenses. With a new dependent in the family, it will become even more important to have a rainy-day fund to fall back on. The typical recommendation is to have three to six months’ worth of expenses in emergency savings, but depending on your circumstances it may be appropriate to have more than six months’ worth in safe and easy-to-access liquidity.

We’re Here to Help

Navigating the financial complexities of LGBTQ+ family planning can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. Take it one step at a time. Don’t be afraid to lean on a financial advisor to help you plan!

Working with an advisor who understands the unique needs and challenges of LGBTQ+ families can provide valuable guidance and support. At Coldstream, we will develop a comprehensive financial plan tailored to your family’s goals and circumstances, ensuring that you’re well-equipped to navigate the financial side of parenthood with confidence.

















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