Fertility and Finances: Key Reasons Why Family is Being Put on Hold
Earlier this year (before the outbreak of COVID-19), we started noticing a trend. It appeared that large numbers of people with ovaries were making trade-offs between careers, families, and finances, and we wanted to know why.
There’s already a wealth of research on parenthood’s impact on American salaries and jobs, but how those factors influence the decision to become parents in the first place are few and far between.
Pre-outbreak, our survey conducted in partnership with reproductive health company Modern Fertility revealed that money was already the leading reason for delaying life milestones for our nearly 2,000 survey participants.
But in the four weeks between March 14 and April 11, more than 22 million Americans filed for unemployment . Did this huge upheaval in everyday life change the minds of people who were considering having kids?
We went back and heard from 400 of our original respondents on whether the coronavirus situation has changed their decisions on both their family-planning timelines and the costs.
To be sure, it’s a situation that has many of us re-evaluating not only plans, but perspectives. But we hope that by sharing data, personal stories, and advice, we can learn from each other’s experiences to not only find strength in numbers, but also to gain the knowledge to build the lives we want—virus or not.
To that end, SoFi and Modern Fertility created the Modern State of Fertility: Career & Money , a guide for helping navigate decisions about children and family in the midst of potential (and major) career and financial setbacks.
When It Comes to Having Kids, Cash is Queen
Almost half (49%) of respondents said they are actively delaying having kids, despite wanting kids one day. And for many of them, the No. 1 reason was financial.
Around 60% said they want to have more money in savings before they start a family, and 51% said they want a higher salary first.
Those reasons may not be surprising, but the No. 3 reason for delaying adding kids to the mix might be.
47% of respondents said their most influential factor for delaying having kids was wanting to make more time for travel—which for them ranked higher than choices like career advancements, buying a home, or working demanding jobs.
Nearly a Third are Delaying Fertility or Family-Planning Decisions Due to COVID-19
After COVID-19 began to spread, we reached back out to some of our original survey respondents to see how the outbreak had impacted their reproductive goals.
61% said they were now more worried and anxious about not only their ability to have kids, but family planning in general. Another 31% said COVID-19 had completely changed their decisions.
The top two reasons related to any change of heart included access to prenatal care (46%) and financial reasons (41%).
Paying for Childcare is the Biggest Financial Concern on People’s Minds
What’s the biggest financial burden that comes with having kids? By and large, the No. 1 answer was childcare. In fact, a full 75% of people said they view childcare costs as the single biggest financial burden of having kids.
Other responses included the costs of fertility treatments or adoption, healthcare, housing, and education.
However, nearly half (46%) said they aren’t currently saving up for any of the costs associated with parenthood.
Fertility Treatments Are Expensive, But Many People Aren’t Preparing For That
The answers gleaned here paint a picture of a split between expectation and reality when it comes to the cost of fertility treatments and how they can affect finances.
Most of the survey takers had not undergone fertility treatments, but almost half (49%) said that if it were to become necessary down the road, they’d only be willing to pay up to $10,000.
And to further complicate the issue, 46% of people who want kids one day said they aren’t saving for fertility treatments at all.
For the 6% of respondents who had been through the process, however, over half (53%) reported that the price tag for those treatments was between $10,000 and $39,000.
In fact, Fertility IQ lists the average cost of freezing eggs at around $16,000 and a single cycle of in-vitro fertilization at around $23,000. And it’s possible that patients may need to undergo more than one round of treatment.
Yet despite the exorbitant costs, 90% who had been through one round of treatment said they would choose it again vs. saving for retirement.
To cover the costs, 77% said they would dip into their savings or retirement accounts, 60% said they would use a credit card or take out a personal loan, and 26% said they would ask their families for help.
For people who want a child but are unable to conceive naturally, the joy of raising a child is likely to far outweigh the worry over treatment costs. But regardless of results, lack of planning could cause a financial burden along the way.
Fertility Conversations Are Becoming Less Taboo. Money Conversations, Not so Much.
By and large, people said they’re more likely to share their plans for kids, discuss infertility issues, and even announce pregnancy news at work… as long as they leave out the financial details.
In fact, discussing money ranked as high as crying on the list of workplace “hard no’s.”
What are people willing to talk about on the job? 71% said it’s okay to discuss general health and wellness routines. 58% said dating and relationship talk is on the table. But only 34% said it’s appropriate to share past or present mental-health struggles with coworkers.
Personal Finances, Student Loans, and Debt
Personal debt, student loans, and financial planning came up as deciding factors in family-planning decisions across the board, from putting off children to moving ahead with trying.
For example, 56% of respondents with student loan debt said they would delay having children for an average of 4.25 years if it meant their debt was erased.
They don’t want to talk about it at work, though. Only 19% said it was appropriate to talk about personal debt with coworkers, and even fewer (17%) said it was okay to bring up finances in general.
It’s our hope that taking the taboo out of topics like these can help move fertility and financial conversations forward without fear and help empower people to make educated decisions about their finances for both today and tomorrow.
For complete survey results or to learn more about SoFi’s partnership with Modern Fertility, check out the
full report .
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