cost of adoption

Adoption: How Much Does It Cost?

Overwhelmed by the costs of adoption? It may not be quite what you think…

Individuals and couples wishing to have a child but unable to do so naturally typically have two options: adoption or assisted reproduction (ART).  Both options are relatively comparable in cost, with the average price of a domestic adoption in the United States ranging from $20,000-$45,000 and a donor egg pregnancy via in vitro fertilization priced between $20,000-$35,000.  If, however, you require a donor embryo, the cost could be $7,500-$20,000, and gestational carrier/surrogacy can drive the cost from $50,000 to over $100,000.

Assuming, however, you are looking simply at the comparable donor egg option, one important thing to keep in mind is that adoption, unlike assisted reproduction, offers a federal tax credit and many employers offer credits as well.  For a couple with combined annual incomes of less than $180,000, the federal adoption credit could be up to $13,190.  Employer tax credits typically range from $2,000-$5,000 and are offered by companies like SAS, CISCO, IBM, the United States Department of Defense and many others.

I encourage clients to determine first how much these credits will offset their cost of adoption to determine their ‘bottom-line’ cost.

So now that you have done your cost analysis, how do you afford your ‘bottom-line’?  Most adoptive families are middle-income and are able to work out the costs over time.  Options for financing an adoption include:

  • Borrowing against home equity, allowing a deduction while waiting for the tax credit;
  • Borrowing against a retirement or 401K plan
  • Grants and adoption assistance programs through public and private organizations;
  • Asking family members and relatives to assist with cost

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

E. Parker Herring is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist and managing partner of Herring & Mills, PLLC, a Raleigh family law firm.  Herring is also director of A Child’s Hope, a North Carolina licensed adoption agency.

Do you have a story you’d like to tell?  Email us at  Visit us at, or call our Birth Mother Hotline at 1-877-890-HOPE (4976) so one of our adoption counselors can answer your questions confidentially.

Please remember that this is a public site open to anyone; therefore, anything you post can be seen by anyone.

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Envia Un Texto: (919) 218-6270

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396