Making the decision to start or expand your family is an involved one, especially for those who are older or experiencing fertility issues. One important consideration when you’ve decided on growing your family is your finances and what monies you have available if pursuing assisted reproductive technology treatments. The fact that having kids is expensive is indisputable. Beyond the basics of food and diapers, there are some other costs to take into account so you can be as prepared as possible for your and your child's future.
Here’s what you should know about finances and family planning.
If you know you want a family, but aren’t quite there yet for financial or personal reasons, freezing your eggs is a viable option. Among the things you should research include what to look for in a clinic and how you can finance the process. The egg retrieval, freezing and storage process is undoubtedly an expensive one and will vary by a couple thousand dollars depending on where you live and your age. Cost is determined per cycle, and a person will typically undergo approximately two cycles to get an ideal number of eggs to freeze. Knowing what your choice of clinic offers in terms of financing is key to determining if this is the right move for you as you venture into the process of preserving your fertility. Since storage is possible indefinitely, some clinics will offer a year or so for free.
We’re all told that we need to work on lowering the amount of debt we owe, however, getting there can often be easier said than done. Still, with the expense that comes with an expanded family, it’s best to have as little debt as possible. Whether you owe credit card, student or another kind of debt, the very best thing you can do is come up with a plan for repayment. This can include looking into the best debt refinancing loans for your specific circumstance, increasing your monthly payment or making extra payments throughout the month so you can prepare for your family to grow while being financially healthy.
In order to support your expanding family, you need to ensure that your home can take on the growth. Once you decide to have children, it is also a good idea to right-size your living situation. Purchasing a house is a huge financial commitment. This is why it’s imperative that you take a deep dive of your current financial situation and understand what you’re able to afford in a house. Once you’re in agreement of what’s affordable, you can begin the right-sizing journey to find your perfect family home. You’ll, of course, want to have the space for a nursery, but should also be sure to accommodate your needs, be it a home office or gym space, as well.
In the U.S., healthcare can be expensive even with insurance. This is why it’s important to do your research and have a plan in place. You’ll definitely need to choose an obstetrician whom you trust, but also whom you can afford to see. If you do have insurance, make sure you’re seeing a doctor and will be going to a hospital that is in your network. This way you’re paying as little out-of-pocket as necessary. If you don’t have insurance, look into federal or state programs that you qualify for and that help you get some form of coverage for both you and your child. The goal is to have some form of safety net and coverage so you can enjoy the birth of your child without worrying about paying outrageous medical bills.
No one knows what the future holds. While we all expect the perfect and idyllic situation, sometimes there are complications that keep you in the hospital longer than you expected or that keep you from returning to work and forcing you to take a pay cut. Just like you baby proof your home, you’ll also need to baby proof your budget and develop a family financial plan before the baby arrives. Should you not already have a budget plan in place, this is the time to start one. Budgeting can look very different to each individual.
Your support system, whether it’s made up of family or friends, is there to help you, and you should never feel bad when it comes to asking for help. They can also help reduce major costs when it comes to daycare, babysitting, or even offering hand-me-downs. They’re also the ones that can help you with a baby shower and registry. While traditionally a registry includes bigger items like a crib, stroller and highchair, it’s also an opportunity to include financial must-haves for your child’s future.
Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
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