Young professionals planning their finances and building a nest egg often overlook the potential challenges and costs associated with building a family.
Due to many social and cultural shifts, Millennials are having children later in life, a Pew research study indicates, and those who delay childbearing often require the use of assisted reproductive services. These services can be surprisingly expensive. Thus, the need for having access to, and understanding how to best use, a family-building benefit has never been greater.
Because Millennials are having children later in life, it has become more common for employers or insurance companies to offer some type of fertility or family-building benefit. However, the out-of-pocket costs can still take quite a toll on the finances of the individual. While some employers partner with family-building benefit management companies to improve outcomes and help maximize employee benefit dollars, individuals are still ultimately responsible for their own financial and family planning.
Here are three considerations for your clients who are planning their financial future, and their future family.
1. The Costs
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
If individuals have access to a fertility benefit, it is important for them to fully understand the benefit maximums, what the benefit dollars can be used for and their financial obligations once the benefit runs out. IVF treatment can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $30,000, depending on the location of treatment, medications used, and testing required. My wife and I went through several rounds of IVF treatment to build our family. We paid more than $127,000 out-of-pocket, and that was over 20 years ago. Even with an employer sponsored benefit, the costs of infertility treatments can certainly take a toll on an individual’s financial situation.
Egg and Sperm Freezing
Individuals in the prime of their career are increasingly focused on preserving their fertility as a means to postpone family-building for later in life. Some family-building benefits include solutions for egg and sperm freezing. On top of the cycle cost that comes with egg retrieval, there is an additional cost for storage that may not be covered by the benefit. Out-of-pocket, egg freezing can cost up to $10,000, and storage can run as high as $500 per year. Similarly, freezing and storing sperm comes with a cost. Depending on the number of specimens banked and the charges for testing, sperm collection is usually just under $1,000 and storage can vary anywhere from $100 a year to $500 per year. If these costs are not covered by an employer benefit, the cost will be the responsibility of the individual. However, many people feel that the rewards far outweigh the financial burden, as fertility preservation done at a younger age typically results in better outcomes in the future.
Surrogacy and Adoption
If a client requires or opts for surrogacy or adoption in order to build their family, there are significant financial considerations. In the United States, adoption can cost nearly $50,000, according to American Adoptions.com. West Coast Surrogacy reports that the average cost of surrogacy can range from $90,000 to $130,000. The expense is significant because of the process involved in surrogacy and adoption, which, depending on the path chosen, may include the legal fees associated with the arrangements, travel and expenses, insurance, medical costs of a surrogate, mental health screenings, and compensation to a surrogate. In the case of surrogacy, the process is long, and much of these costs can be spread out over time.
2. The Importance of Advocacy and Support
Yes, a family-building journey can be an expensive one, but it can also be an emotional one. Individuals will need support throughout the entire process. In addition to support from friends and family, the client may need to pay out-of-pocket for a therapist that specializes in infertility. These costs can range anywhere from $150 to $500 an hour. If the clients have access to a managed fertility benefit, they will be able to connect with fertility nurse care managers that can help them navigate every step of their family-building journey. In some programs nurse care managers are available 24/7 to explain medications and procedures and help patients connect with the right provider given their specific medical situation. In addition, the clients may have access to behavioral health care specialists who will guide them through the emotional components of the journey. Some fertility clinics also offer counseling to patients going through fertility treatments. It is important to take advantage of these services, as they will make the often-stressful family-building journey easier to navigate.
There are ways to reduce the costs that are related to fertility and family building.
Sixteen states now have insurance mandates for fertility coverage. If clients think that they will have family-building challenges, it might be worth exploring the details of these state mandates and potentially moving to a mandated state. The National Conference of State Legislatures is a good resource for up-to-date information on new infertility state mandates.
In addition, more and more employers are now covering fertility and family-building benefits. Look for a company that offers these benefits, or ask your company to consider offering these benefits. If fertility and family-building benefits are not an option, there are programs at companies like mine, WINFertility, that bundle medications and treatments to decrease costs for the patient. Additionally, there are many resources, like RESOLVE, that offer tools to help navigate the emotional and financial journey of infertility.
Financial advisors have a great opportunity to help clients plan for their future family. With trends pointing to a changing landscape in family-building there is an even greater need for financial planners to help clients prepare for the costs.
Peter Nieves serves as the chief commercial officer for WINFertility.