Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dollars & Sense of Family Building

This post is part of a "blog carnival" started by Lori.  (Link to her blog below.)  What does it mean that money has to change hands in order to bring a child into your family? What role can finances play in determining which path people take and how far that path goes?  I answer some questions related to these issues below.

1.  Consider your now, or future, children as adults, and consider the fact that you had to spend money to either conceive them or make them part of your family. What effect do you think the latter will have on the former one day? What do you think your grown children might feel about the funds it took to create your family?

I hope that we will have a good enough relationship with our future child(ren) and that he/she/they will be happy enough to be alive and part of our family that this will be a non-issue.  I think we can certainly explain that medical treatment was required in order for us to achieve the pregnancy which brought him/her/them to us and that will make sense.

If he/she/they feel anything about the cost, I hope it would help them realize how very wanted they were.

2.  How did/would you handle it if your child asks you, “Mom, how much did I cost?” How would you answer at age 7? At age 18?

At age 7, I'd probably say "you didn't cost anything because you can't buy a baby."  I don't think 7 is old enough to get into all the nuts and bolts of doctors and treatments and what those things cost.

If my child asked me this at age 18, directly in relation to our DE cycle (which s/he would surely have known about for a long time by then), I would probably answer directly.

3.  When calculating the costs of your family building, what do you include? The direct costs are easy (such as RE fees for a cycle or homestudy fees), but what about fees that didn’t directly lead to your child’s existence in your life, such as cycles that didn’t work, adoption outreach avenues that didn’t work, failed adoptions, avenues that were explored (and that cost something) but not pursued, etc.?

If I were to calculate all the TIME I've spent exploring other avenues, the cost would be staggering.  When I think about this, though, I just include our medical bills and other things which the government would consider tax-deductible.

4.  If two children in a family “cost” different amounts, should that have any significance?

I don't think so.  If we were blessed with a "free" child after doing a DE cycle, we would treat him/her exactly the same.

5.  To what extent have finances determined the family-building decisions you have made? How have you able to balance financial considerations against other factors such as medical, ethical, emotional…?

Wow.  Financial considerations have played a HUGE factor in our family-building decisions.  Really, I don't think there has been any larger factor for us.  It did take me a while to come around emotionally to the idea of DE, but apart from that, there haven't been many other considerations which have affected our decisions apart from "how on earth are we going to pay for this?"

I get that having children is expensive for everyone, but for most people, that expense starts AFTER pregnancy is achieved and AFTER the child is born. . . . not years before.

As one example, we never did IVF with my eggs because we couldn’t see gambling $12-15K on a 1 in 3 chance of pregnancy. If insurance had paid for all, or even most, of an IVF cycle, I likely would’ve been willing to try once or twice. As it is, we are moving straight to donor egg IVF because even though it costs a lot more, it is much more likely to be successful and for us, it was a more desirable option than adoption (at potentially the same cost).

Financial considerations will also play a role in how many embryos we transfer.  Although our clinic recommends transferring two embryos in a DE cycle, we might be inclined to transfer just one embryo, since our primary aim is one child.  But we are so afraid that transferring only one embryo will lead to no pregnancy (and $30K spent with no baby) that we are going to go ahead with two.  As my sister points out "two babies is better than zero."

6.  Has institutional and governmental support for certain family-building paths impacted your choices? For example, ART being covered by insurance, tax deductions for adoption expenses, etc.

Yes and no.  For us, even the incentive of tax breaks did not make us seriously consider adoption.  We decided that route was not for us for reasons completely unrelated to the cost. 

However, in terms of ART being covered by insurance, this absolutely had an impact on our decision to skip straight to DE rather than trying a cycle or two with my eggs.

Visit Write Mind Open Heart for more perspectives on the Dollars and $ense of Family Building and to add your own link to the blog hop by May 1, should you want to contribute your thoughts.


  1. Interesting post, I think I may have to write a similar post.

    Thr financial cost to me is nothing compared to the emotional cost. Emotionally, infertility has chewed me up and spit me out and then done it all over again.

  2. I like your answer about responding to a 7 year-old.

    Thanks for joining this blog hop! I'm going to add your linky, if that's all right with you (let me know if you'd like me to remove).

  3. Thanks for participating!

    Such a good point about the staggering cost of the time spent. If I monetized the time I'd spent on the whole process, both around actually receiving the different treatments and fretting over everything, my cost would double? Triple?

    Best of luck with the upcoming cycle!

  4. yes, never even thought to consider the incredible amount of TIME spent exploring and researching options. good point!

  5. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Very interesting. Good luck with the DE IVF!


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