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Some thoughts on Egg Donation and Adoption

March 19, 2007 | By: | Filed under: Thinking Out Loud

One of the most frequent questions we get in our office is about making the leap to use an egg donor or deciding whether to adopt a baby or child.  How do you make this enormous decision?  What do you need to be thinking about when you’re making it?  How do you know whether one option is right for you?  How do you afford it?  The questions are truly numerous and everyone has different issues to address.  I think my biggest hurdle comes from the financial aspect of it all.  I mean let’s face it, egg donors and adoption are both expensive and both come with risks (although those risks are very different).  I cannot make the decision for anyone, but I try to point out to people the benefits of each type of family building and what you get for your money.

With a properly chosen egg donor, for approximately $15,000, you can build your entire family!  You can have multiple children who are all biologically related from one successful egg donation cycle.  And I am not necessarily talking about multiple births.  A really successful egg donation cycle will result in frozen embryos for future family building.  However, unless you have some insurance to cover some of your medical expenses, or you can deduct some of that $15,000 on your taxes, it’s $15,000 of cold hard cash you have to come up with at one time.  That is really hard for most people to afford!

In contrast, for $15,000 you probably cannot adopt internationally which is the least risky of all types of adoption.  With international adoption you do not have to worry about a birth mother or father choosing to parent before placement of the baby.  However, you probably can complete a domestic adoption for $15,000 or less (this is the average cost of a domestic newborn adoption) and there is a substantial adoption tax credit ($11,300 in 2006) for people who’s income is less than (approximately) $150,000 a year; and the credit phases out until you fail to qualify with an income above (approximately) $190,000.  Plus adoption is guaranteed.  While a particular birth mother (or father) may choose to parent, as long as you stick with your adoption plan a baby or child will come home eventually.  Reproductive endocrinologists can never promise a baby no matter how great a donor may be.  Moreover, if you’re open to foster care adoption your costs may be even lower and you’re protecting the well-being of an infant or child who is facing a life in challenging situations.

The desire to be pregnant and to have a biological connection to our children is primal.  I never judge someone who is willing to spend a lot of money trying to create a biological family or to carry a baby (I spent tens of thousands before choosing to adopt so who am I to judge?).  But these are really tough issues.  Is it worth spending the extra money for the prospect of having multiple biologically related children?  Is it worth taking the risk that a birth parent might choose not to continue with an adoption plan or a court might return a baby or child to his or her biological family in order to maintain that family’s unity because domestic adoption might be more affordable?  I don’t have the answer to these questions but I ponder them every day.

What I really think stinks, is that the infertile have to spend so much money to have a baby!



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