April 20, 2011

Dollars and $ense of Family Building

I am participating in Lori's Write Mind Open Heart project. I have found the answers to other blogger's situations to be very interesting and enlightening.  Building a family is full of emotional and physical complexities but nothing can snap things into line faster than finances. 

My journey thus far is out for all to see so I'll just move on to answering the questions that apply to me and my situation:

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 do not think this will be an issue when my future child is an adult.  Personally I do not feel the expense is any different from the “extracurricular” expenses parents spend on children already.  Expenses for orthodontics, tutoring, tennis lessons, field trips, etc. are expenses above and beyond the typical “care and custody” expenses parents pay.  How are fees I pay to my RE or sperm bank any different?  I pay them and I pay them gladly because even now, with my future child an unknown, I still have love for the child and will spend the money.  To make this happen I have made "sacrifices" in my life such as stopping cable and newspaper service, driving an old car and curtailing all unnecessary spending.

I would hope my future child would feel fairly neutral about the finances incurred to make them a reality.  It’s a fact about them just like any other fact.

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?

I would answer age appropriately of course but honestly.  This fact is simply a part of my future child’s story.

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.?

I add it all in:  the failed cycles, the opk sticks I used in the beginning, the surgery fees, the books, the mileage, everything.  This is more a result of my overly organized way of dealing with my life but also I keep track to submit to my pre taxed spending account.

4.  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…?

Finances were a concern of mine in my early thirties.  That is one of the reasons I chose not to do this earlier.  Of course now I could kick myself because while my finances are ok, the clock is ticking. 

I do not have unlimited resources or a contributing partner.  Therefore I am financially limited in what I can do.  I have full insurance for all IUIs and medications but only partial coverage for IVF.  I am willing to spend the money because I think it’s worth it however there is a finite limit to what I can do. 

I have been researching embryo donation and egg donation outside of the US.  While I am not trying to do this “on the cheap” I do have to be aware of my financial limits.

All in all, these limitations do make me frustrated and angry at times. 

5.  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.

Before I began my current job I had a career in the field of domestic open adoption, which ironically did not cover any type of ART services (this fact will be a dead giveaway to anyone who knows me IRL so if this happens to be true, please respect my personal confidentiality) so I knew I could never swing ttc-ing while working there.  I looked for a job with better IF coverage and landed in a company which has great coverage.  

I still feel that the government has a long way to go in bridging the gap for people/families who are financially caught in the middle between upper class and middle class.  Fertility issues are no less damaging and painful than any other illness or disease traditionally covered fully by insurance.  I hope by the time my future child is an adult this will no longer be an issue.

6.  Have you considered having ART treatments abroad, either due to lower cost or due to certain methods being unavailable or illegal in your own country? In your decision-making, how did you balance the financial savings against issues like the unknowns of the country, perhaps not speaking the language, and medical practices that may differ from those of your home country?

I have looked into this and have a close friend who went abroad and had great success.  I have absolutely no qualms about doing this.  I have traveled abroad extensively and would not have a problem combing ART treatments with a vacation. 


  1. Hello, Shadow. So glad you're joining the blog hop!

    'I do not feel the expense is any different from the “extracurricular” expenses parents spend on children already." This is a very good point.

    I'm going to add your linky, if that's OK with you. (If not, just let me know and I'll remove.)

  2. You mentioned OPKs -- I totally forgot about all of the HPTs and other little expenses in my tally! A pittance compared to the other stuff, but not negligible. My tally is even worse than I thought, ack.

    Thanks so much for participating in the blog hop. Best of luck to you.

  3. interesting response to #5. I've really enjoyed reading all the different perspectives here. thanks for sharing yours!

  4. I'm going to have to read everyone else's answers now...I think that this line of questioning is valid, but also a little insulting--why would your child feel that 'paying' for them is any different than the medical treatment all parents get for their unborn children? No one asks how much their birth cost, or holds it against their parents that they didn't spend more (or less). I worry that this is a way that we let ourselves feel guilty for not being 'normal', when in reality, the costs associated with fertility treatments are a testament to how very much we want our children. But I think your answers are spot on. The truth, the whole cost, and the love that went in even before there was a person there to love is what our children deserve.

  5. Hi there - I've discovered your blog through the blog hop. I am also a SMC (well, trying to be!). I just glanced down the right hand side here and I am so sorry to read of the recent loss of your twins. I hope you have good support around you.