The Price of Pregnancy Is Higher Than You Think
A new survey finds that, with or without fertility treatments, TTC expenses add up.
The best things in life are free, or so the old adage goes. But talk to any parents who have spent money to conceive and they will surely disagree.
Nearly half of women shell out at least some cash to get pregnant and, on average, they spend nearly $500, according to the results of a recent survey of more than 1,200 moms by BabyCenter.com. Of those who spend more, it’s not uncommon to see medical bills and other expenses add up to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
Jenny Wilky, who had to overcome health issues before conceiving, says she was “going broke” spending about $900 a month on insurance co-pays, medications, vitamins and artificial insemination before she finally got pregnant. Now the happy mom of a little boy, Wilky said she and her husband had started trying for a second child but then decided to take “a financial break.”
“I try to look at the bright side,” the New York mom told BabyZone. “I have great benefits and even though it’s still very expensive, many aren’t as fortunate as my husband and I!”
The less fortunate include those who undergo costly fertility treatments and emerge on the other side still childless. An August 2013 study by doctors at the University of California San Francisco found that, among 332 couples seeking help from endocrinology clinics, spending more on fertility care wasn’t significantly associated with a greater chance of a successful pregnancy. Researchers found that the median out-of-pocket cost for couples undertaking fertility treatments was $5,338. For couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) that number jumped to more than $19,234.
Some couples in the study had to go to extremes to pay their bills.
“They’re taking out second mortgages on homes, they’re borrowing from friends and family,” Dr. James Smith, the director of male reproductive health at UC-San Francisco, told Reuters.
Even without fertility treatments, some trying to conceive still find that expenses add up quickly. Leah Fabbricante Makarius, also of New York, said she spent $300 on an ovulation predictor kit and a couple of hundred more on vitamins and supplements to have her second child.
“What I did was the cheap alternative,” Fabbricante Makarius joked.
Of course, once a child is born, a whole new set of expenses surface. Parents surveyed by BabyCenter.com said they spend nearly $13,000 a year on their children, including housing, childcare, transportation and food.
If there’s a bright side, it’s that parents may be taking these costs in stride. In a 2011 study by scientists at the University of Waterloo, parents who were primed to think about how expensive it is to raise children were more likely to say they enjoyed time with their kids.
“It’s a lot more than you realize, but it’s worth every penny,” wrote Babble blogger Buzz Bishop. “…The more they cost, the more we love them, it seems.”
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