So, I get this question a lot from patients struggling from infertility. If you are going to dip into your personal savings or take out a loan to start a family, what makes more financial sense IVF or adoption?
Let’s start with IVF. Let’s just review what IVF is first. The infertility specialist will extract some of your eggs and then add your partners sperm in a laboratory outside of your body and then at the appropriate time place that embryo in your uterus. Now, what does IVF cost? On average, one IVF cycle will cost somewhere between $10,000-$15,000. Of course, the variation in cost is also dependent on the reason for infertility and a lot of other parameters. Now this in no way guarantees you a baby. However, the technology is improving every day and the success rate is rather impressive at certain facilities. A good percentage of youngish (early thirties) healthy women will likely get pregnant by three cycles.
My patients that pursue IVF frequently get asked- why not just adopt? Well for one it is way more expensive than the average person realizes. The average adoption in the U.S. costs between $27,000-$30,000. The average adoption overseas can cost as much as $58,000-$65,000. Most patients have this perception that adoption is cheaper until they have already invested in the process. And again, just because you spend this money, there is no guarantee that you will get a baby. Another consideration with adoption is time. Even under the best of circumstances, adoption can take years to bring a child home.
Another less well-known option that is much more affordable than IVF or traditional adoption is embryo adoption/transfer. When couples go through IVF, they usually end up creating more embryos that they can use. So, thousands of embryos sit in a lab and go unused. With this procedure, couples with infertility will use donated embryos and just have them placed in their uterus at the appropriate time. The cost of this procedure is about $3,000-$5,000.
The decision on how to expand your family if you suffer from infertility is very complex. It is important that you educate yourself on your personal fertility. If the cause of infertility is known, treatment will likely be a lot more successful. Know and research different options on building your family before deciding whether it be IVF, adoption or even foster care. If electing to try IVF or embryo transfer, be sure to research your local infertility specialists and make sure you know their pregnancy rates. The best programs out there will have a high pregnancy rate and a lower number of embryos transferred. We are fortunate to have two options here in town: Idaho Fertility Center and Reproductive Care Center. If seeking adoption (and there are definitely many children who would benefit from these services), then be sure to research and find a reputable adoption agency. Your needs may vary depending on the area from where you are hoping to adopt a child. Whatever you decide, good luck in finding the best option for you to bring the newest member of your family into your home :)