Starting a family is an exciting time, but it can be overwhelming too. As you search for fertility specialists, determine the factors involved in the logistics, and understand the laws and finances of starting a family, it gets to be a lot.
We’re here for you every step of the way, helping you understand the ins and outs of starting your family the way you dream.
1. Conceive or Adopt?
The first order of business is how you’ll bring a child into your life. If you want to conceive, you need to think of the method and everything that goes along with it.
LGBT+ couples have a variety of options today – many more than ever before! A few options include:
- Insemination of a partner with a uterus from a sperm donor
- IVF using donor sperm and/or donor eggs
- IVF using a gestational carrier
- Reciprocal IVF (for example, one partner provides the egg and the other carries the baby)
What you’re comfortable with, what you can afford (more on that below), and the gender of the couple will determine the options. Most gay couples, for example, will have to rely on a gestational carrier with either a donor egg or donor embryo. Lesbian couples typically have a few more options.
Adoption is something any couple can do and is a wonderful way to bring a child into your life. You can do a private adoption or work with an agency. You’ll have to think about issues like ‘open or closed adoption,’ and if you want to be placed or you want to choose the situation.
2. Cost and Process of Conception
Think long and hard about the cost of both conception and adoption as neither is cheap! IVF, for example, costs an average of $12,000 – $15,000. Some insurance companies may help with the cost, so be sure to check with yours.
Artificial insemination without donor sperm costs an average of $1,000, but if you need donor sperm, add an extra $1,000 per vial. Remember, not every cycle is successful, so plan a few rounds in your budget.
If conceiving doesn’t work or you go straight to adoption, budget between $30,000 – $40,000 if you do an agency adoption and less if you go the private route (but this is less common).
3. The Laws Where you Live
Before you conceive or try to adopt a baby, make sure you know the laws in your state. Not every state recognizes the rights of biological parents of the same sex. Some states don’t recognize same sex parents, while others require you to ‘adopt’ your own child in order to make it legal.
If the laws in your state don’t make it possible for you to claim your child as yours legally, this could make it difficult to do things like add them to your medical insurance, or even authorized medical decisions including vaccinations.
Know your state’s laws well before adding a child to your relationship to avoid headaches and heartache.
4. Savings Plans
As you bring a child into the world, it’s important to set them up for financial security as young as possible.
Today there are many options to help your child get a healthy start on life. A few options to start savings include:
- Start a 529 savings plan – You contribute money before taxes (lowering your tax liability) and the earnings grow tax-free. You can use the funds for your child’s education whether K – 12 or college.
- Save in an online high yield savings account – Save money in an online high yield savings account as early as you can. Set up automatic transfers so you don’t even have to think about the savings. They happen automatically and as the interest adds up, your child will have a nice nest egg when they are older.
5. Work Benefits
You may not have the same maternal and paternal rights as non-LGBT+ parents at your company, so make sure you know your company’s policies.
If you plan to take time off to be with your new baby, find out if you’ll get paid leave through maternal/paternal leave, FMLA, or if the time will be unpaid. This will play a role in how long you take off and how you handle the first few months of your child’s life.
Also, consider who will insure the child. A parent who’s not considered the ‘legal parent’ according to the state law can’t insure the child. If you both have insurance at work that your child is eligible for, determine who has the best coverage and the lowest premiums. Look at deductibles, issues that are covered, and the co-payments required for each instance.
Starting a family is exciting – and if you do your research, know your state laws, understand your rights, and know what it will take to conceive or adopt the child you dream of having with your partner, you can start the family you’ve always dreamt of having.