Many couples in their 20s and 30s who want to have a baby are spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars on fertility-inducing products and services designed to speed up the process, says a new survey that offers greater insight into the financial and emotional costs of getting pregnant.
Pregnancy and parenting Web site BabyCenter.com's annual report on the cost of child-rearing asked for the first time about costs associated with conception as well as giving birth.
Of the 1,289 women surveyed online, who were already moms or pregnant with a first child, findings show:
--Almost half spent money on products or services to encourage pregnancy, from ovulation kits and fertility tests to in vitro fertilization (IVF). The average cost was $465.
--27% say they received financial help from their parents or in-laws during the pregnancy or baby's first year; 10% lived with parents to save money to start a family.
"Today, young couples are really deciding how many do we want and what's the right moment to have a child," says Linda Murray, editor of the San Francisco-based Web site. "Once that moment hits and they're really trying, people want to be successful as soon as possible."
The combination of women delaying that first child and new technologies that assist pregnancy are making women a bit more anxious, suggests Shari Brasner, an obstetrician-gynecologist in New York City. She says she's sensed a "certain paranoia" surrounding pregnancy.
"Everybody they know has a story about trouble getting pregnant or getting pregnant and having a miscarriage," she says.
Susan Dewald, 33, a mother of three in Sheridan, Wyo., understands that thinking.
"When you decide to have kids, you want to get it done, because it's a process that takes nine months," she says. "When you do start having kids at 25 or 30, and you look ahead to when they're college-age, and you're looking at 50 or 60, you say, 'I want it to happen now.'"
Dewald says it took took 2 1/2 years to get pregnant with her 4-year-old daughter, Delinda, so the next time, she tried ovulation kits and hormone therapy as well as consulting an IVF specialist (but she didn't do the procedure). She got pregnant but had a miscarriage. Six months later, she was pregnant with now-4-month-old fraternal twins Douglas and Delaney. She estimates that she spent $2,000 to $3,000 on pregnancy efforts.
Laura Jones, 29, a hotel guest-services manager in Valrico, Fla., is pregnant with a son -- the couple's first -- due in December. She and her husband, Kevin, 35, have been married three years. (continued...)
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