Crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, GiveForward and Indiegogo have taken off as a popular way to raise money for everything from school projects to startups—and now for some entrepreneurial couples, they’re a way to bankroll a baby.
Since May 2010, GoFundMe has helped raise nearly $1.1 million for couples looking to cover the costs of infertility treatments and adoption. Currently, about 100 couples are looking to do the same on GiveForward.
“Twenty years ago this wouldn’t have happened,” his mother, Jessica Haley, told CNN Money. “Because of the internet, that’s why we have Landon.”The first “crowdfunded baby,” Landon Haley, was born after his parents conducted a campaign in 2011 that raised $8,050 to help fund infertility treatments.
The High Cost of Fertility
Fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization, can cost upwards of $8,158 per cycle, according to RESOLVE: The National Fertility Association, and one estimate by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine put the figure at $12,400.
Because it can take several rounds of treatment before a woman conceives, costs skyrocket quickly. But insurance companies will only cover so many attempts, if they provide coverage at all. In fact, only 29% of couples said their insurance covered their infertility or adoption expenses, according to a 2012 poll conducted by RESOLVE.
Adoption expenses can lead to even bigger debt. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates the cost can be anywhere from $2,500 to over $40,000 per child.
While couples can subsidize the cost by applying for grants from nonprofits, with aid from employers or by taking advantage of the nearly $13,000 tax credit for out-of-pocket adoption costs, some still seek other means to help foot the sizable bill.
The first adoption-specific crowdfunding site—AdoptTogether—was founded in 2012, and has helped provide over $1 million to 300 adoptive families so far.
While general-purpose crowdfunding sites used to raise money for infertility treatments can charge transaction fees, donations to AdoptTogether are tax-deductible because of its classification as a charitable organization.
Creating a family can be just a click away.