Offsetting the Cost of Building Your Future Family
When we began our domestic adoption process, I had educated myself of the costs involved and had set aside an allocated budget. Our private domestic adoption ended up costing us a little over $45,000. That included the attorneys’, agency, licensing, travel, and marketing fees. We also covered some of our birthmother’s living expenses which were required by State law. Depending on which State you adopt from in the US, you may be required to pay some or all of the birth mother’s expenses. You should be mindful that domestic adoption carries a risk both emotionally and financially; 30% or more of domestic adoptions do not end up completing. A birth mother has the right to decide to keep her child even if she has indicated otherwise before her child is born. You may potentially have to forfeit the fees and expenses you paid towards an incomplete adoption. Some adoption agencies will credit you, however, should you decide to move forward with another domestic adoption. It varies based on your agency and/or firm.
In our case, the majority of our adoption-related expenses were due right before our son’s birth and shortly before our adoption was complete. Given that we had set aside savings for the adoption itself, we were able to absorb those costs without becoming overly burdened. I would encourage you to do the same if you are able. I kept copious records of all of our expenses and held onto every single receipt. That enabled us to claim all of our adoption expenses on our taxes which resulted in a substantial tax credit.
With regard to our egg donor costs, we ended up paying about $30,000. Most of our costs were associated with egg donor agency, the donor and attorneys’ fees. Mercifully, we had wonderful insurance and were covered for up to 4 IVF cycles.
I will share a cautionary tale, however. Even though we received the official paperwork that stated we were covered for the 4 cycles, the day before our first IVF retrieval was scheduled to take place, I was informed by our doctor’s office that the procedure was denied by our insurance company. The bottom line was that if we were going to move forward with the procedure we either had to pay it out of pocket or get the claim approved by our insurance company. You can imagine my frustration. Since then, I have learned that this is a very common occurrence among those who have submitted claims for their fertility treatments. In my opinion, insurance companies try to throw up as many road blocks as they can to deter people from making expensive claims. I imagine in some cases they succeed in defeating those who don’t wish go through the hassle and red tape of getting their procedures approved.
I was adamant about moving forward with the procedure. Interestingly enough, this was the cycle that lead to us learning I was completely infertile; all 3 of the embryos that grew had massive chromosomal disorders and we were unable to move forward with the transfer. Once the process begins, it is counted by the insurance provider (even if they don't approve/pay for it). But I was determined that our insurance company WAS going to pay. I began by contacting my husband’s HR benefits coordinator. I then connected with a case manager at our insurance provider. In addition to my efforts, it also took our doctor’s office resubmitting a great deal of paperwork before the close of business. After much anxiety, the procedure was approved and we went in for our retrieval that next day.
As an aside, you have to really work at being connected with those case managers. If time is of the essence, (and it often is in these situations) my advice to you would be to ask to speak to a case manager as soon as you connect with a customer service representative. Customer service reps are able to handle general questions but when it comes to something as important as getting a fertility treatment covered, that requires someone who has the adequate authority to make that call. The customer service rep will probably try to prevent you from speaking to a case manager so be polite yet firm. Once you do connect with the case manager, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. The more polite/calm you remain, the better your chances are to convince that case worker that they should advocate on your behalf. They will most likely have to state your case to a physician who is employed by the insurance company; the insurance provider’s physician will be the ultimate decision maker in determining whether your procedure will be covered or not.
There is a lot of talk about potential changes to federal laws which may affect how fertility treatment claims are handled. The best advice that I can give you on this topic is continue to seek out the information as it becomes available. I will do my best to post related articles on the Hope4Fertility Facebook page.
Whether you are considering adoption or infertility treatments, you should start researching your insurance coverage, the types of benefits your employer may offer for adoption and begin thinking about a preliminary budget you may be able to allocate towards building your family. Also, be mindful that the health insurance plan in which you are currently enrolled may not allow for fertility treatments but your employer may offer other plans that will. Mark the date on your calendar when open enrollment occurs. Even if you are only thinking about seeking fertility treatments, sign up for the plan that offers coverage, if it is available. While the premium may be higher and more may be deducted out of your paycheck, it will definitely save you a great deal overall if/when you seek treatment. In my case, our insurance not only covered my treatment but also our egg donor's (excluding her fees for service, however).
If you feel that adoption or fertility treatments are just beyond your reach, there are programs available to those who quality to help absorb some of the associated costs.
Educational Conferences: A Family of My Own hosts conferences in several different States that provide the latest information in the field of family building. Check the site for conferences closest to you. The site also provides links to adoption and fertility grants.
Domestic Adoption Fee Estimates: Adoption.com has a great article on estimating the potential fees for domestic adoption. Also, please check out the Child Welfare Information Gateway site. There is more in-depth information about navigating the ways to underwrite the expenses of adopting.
International Adoption Fee Estimates: Given that I did not adopt internationally, I have no personal data that I may share. Adoption.com has another great article on estimating the potential fees associated on International adoption, however.
Fertility Treatment Fee Estimates: Fertility treatments are a little more difficult to ballpark because there are a lot of variables in the equation. Depending on the diagnosis, varied treatments are recommended. Each procedure is billed differently and fertility drugs are prescribed based on each patient’s treatment plan. State laws also impact how insurance companies cover fertility procedures and prescriptions.
Navigating the Costs of Infertility:
·5 Tips to offset IVF costs
·Financing Your Infertility Treatments, by Mindy Berkson
·Can You Afford Fertility Treatments?
Infertility Procedure Grants:
·Jude Andrew Adams Charitable Fund Application
·Links to grants from Creating a Family
·Links from RESOLVE
·iAdopt.Info Includes a long list of grants available to hopeful families
I hope you find these resources helpful. In addition to these, you may find even more by simply typing in “adoption grants” or “fertility grants”.
Until next time...