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How to budget for alternative ways to add to your family

What we'll cover

  • Nontraditional ways to build a family

  • Costs associated with family planning options

  • How to financially prepare for family expansion

Are you ready to add another branch to your family tree? The path to parenthood isn't always traditional. Certain paths to growing your family will require additional expenses.


Each type of adoption comes with its own processes and expenses.

Public child welfare system

Children in the foster care system may be eligible for adoption through the public child welfare system. The federal government gives a one-time reimbursement, up to $2,000, for court costs and attorney fees for adoption through the foster system. Aside from those expenses, adopting a child eligible for Federal adoption is essentially free of cost. A child may also qualify for either State or Federal adoption assistance, including a recurring monthly subsidy and Medicaid.

Domestic private adoption

This type of adoption happens when a birth parent in the United States chooses to place their baby up for adoption. In this process, the rights of the birth parents will be transferred to you. It's common to work with an agency in this scenario. Fees to adopt from a private agency typically range between $30,000 and $60,000. These costs include home study, court and legal fees, medical and legal expenses for birth parents, interim care and social work services.

Rather than working with an agency, you could choose an independent adoption. Fees for adopting via an attorney range from $25,000 to $45,000.

International adoption

When adopting outside the U.S., the cost can vary widely. The average is between $20,000 and $50,000. The final cost can be higher than domestic adoption because it may include foreign travel, immigration processing, court costs and adoption education. International adoption may also include additional legal expenses.

Fertility treatments

You can consider a number of medical procedures to help you conceive. Here is a look at two of the most common fertility treatments:

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF): IVF involves a combination of medications and surgical procedures to help sperm fertilize an egg and help the fertilized egg implant in the uterus. The cost can vary, but is typically more than $15,000 on average.

  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI): This type of procedure involves placing sperm directly in the uterus. The average cost is between $300 to $1,000.

Don't forget to check with your employer to see if they offer financial assistance for fertility treatments or adoption.

Donor eggs and sperm

A donor can be someone you know or someone you are matched with through an agency. The average cost of using a donor egg can range from $15,000 for a donation through an IVF clinic to over $40,000 for private egg donation through an agency. Donor sperm is about $1,000 per vial.


If a person is unable to carry a baby for health reasons, they may opt to have someone else carry the baby through pregnancy. This process may also include an egg or sperm donor, depending on your circumstances. The average cost can range between $100,000 to $225,000, which includes embryo creation, egg donation, agency fees, legal fees, surrogate compensation and insurance costs.

Fund your family

While these methods can be expensive, you have a number of options to finance the treatments you need. And don't forget to check with your employer to see if they offer financial assistance for fertility treatments or adoption.

If you are currently living without children, you can take steps today to manage your money and set yourself up for whatever the future may hold. You can get started by opening up an Ally Bank Savings Account . With smart tools like buckets and boosters , you can optimize your saving to take care of every member of your crew.

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