If you landed here looking for reasons to choose adoption over abortion, that is not what this article is about. I am not trying to sway your opinion on either topic, but rather address something I’ve been seeing. This is why “adoption costs more.”

By now, you have probably seen those memes floating around social media and appearing in your inbox that state, “Adopting a child should not cost more than aborting one.” While meant to elicit an emotional response and possibly make us question the costs associated with each action, it is a flawed and uneducated approach.

Starting, this meme implies the pregnant woman is responsible for the costs of either choice. While it is true that abortion costs must be absorbed by the mother (or the mother and father, their family, or possibly their insurance in some cases), this is not true for adoption. Adoption costs the expectant mother no money. The fees of adoption are passed on to the hopeful adoptive parents. Let’s break it down with facts, and then you can be the judge on the fees of each.

Abortion Costs:

Pregnancy Test: $0 — $100 —The cost varies based on clinic and lab fees, as well as if it is a urine or blood test.

Ultrasound: $100 — $300 — The cost varies based on the clinic, technology, technician, or doctor fees, as well as time spent doing the imagining.

Options Counseling: $100 — $200 — As part of an abortion appointment, limited counseling on options and understanding will be presented to the pregnant woman.

Medical Abortion: $400 — $800 — A medical abortion is done with prescription medications in the early weeks of pregnancy. The cost of this varies by location and any necessary follow-up appointments.


Surgical Abortion: $400 — $2,000 — Surgical abortion is a surgical procedure and the cost varies depending on the term of pregnancy, clinic, doctor fees, and necessary and postpartum care.

Total Abortion costs: $500 to $2,600

Adoption Fees:

Application Fee: $0 — $500 — While not all agencies have a set application fee, many do to cover the costs of employees reviewing entrance documents and getting the ball rolling.

Home Study: $0 — $5,000 — A home study price will vary depending on the type of adoption, the amount of paperwork, background checks, fingerprinting, people involved, services rendered, and other factors.

Adoption Education and Counseling: Free — $5,000 — Adoption education can be taken for free from the county or an agency may have recommended training from another outside source.  Many agencies will have a set curriculum for hopeful adoptive parents that requires many hours of training and passing certification exams to help the hopeful adoptive family learn more about adoption and parenting an adopted child.

Legal Fees and Court Costs for Adoptive Parents: $1,000 — $5,000 — We all know that lawyers don’t come cheap. The paperwork that has to be filed for the adoption as well as court appearances for finalizing the adoption is a part of that cost.

Legal Fees for Birth Parents: $500 — $2500 — It’s also necessary for the birth parents to be represented in the adoption. A legal adoption should also be an ethical adoption; therefore, a lawyer representing the birth parent’s rights is a part of the total adoption cost.

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Living Costs: $0 — $10,000 — Every state and every mother has varying laws regarding adoptive parents covering expectant mother living expenses. While some states mandate that there are no living costs to be paid as part of an adoption, other states have maximum amounts or allowable expenses. “Allowable expenses” can include housing, food, clothing, utilities, car payments, gas, and sometimes even entertainment. Knowing the laws about this, as well as finding an agency to work with your budget, will dictate how much your adoption costs could add up.

Medical Costs: $0 — $20,000 — Some expectant women who have created an adoption plan are on Medicaid. Others have private insurance or no health insurance at all. In those instances, medical costs often fall to the responsibility of the adoptive parents.

Placement Fees: $0 — $20,000 — While not all types of adoption have placement fees, placement fees cover the costs of operation for an adoption agency: employees, rent, utilities, website, marketing, paperwork, and more.  In addition to the agency overhead, if you are adopting internationally, there will be orphanage fees and intercountry fees that apply.

Post-adoption Visits: $0 — $5,000 — Until your adoption is finalized, a social worker will likely make several visits to your home, which will add additional fees.

Travel: $0 — $10,000 — If you are adopting locally, you may only need to travel to and from the agency or to prenatal visits with the expectant mother. If you are adopting out of state or from another country, travel will add a big chunk to your total adoption costs. Gas, airline tickets, passports, hotels, food, entertainment, and loss of work time all must be factored in.

Total Adoption Costs (on average) $1,500 to $50,000. (Averages depend on the type of adoption and circumstances surrounding adoption.)

So while in a perfect world, adoption wouldn’t cost a lot, the high end of abortion costs and the low end of adoption costs are actually quite similar. If you look at the many factors that can drive up the cost of adoption, it is more understandable why it can be such a huge fee.  If the fee seems outrageous to you, it is in your hands to try to do something to streamline the costs and seek federal guidelines on the cost of adoption practices. But pitting the cost of adoption against the cost of an abortion is not a valid or relevant argument at this time.

What do you propose we do to make adoption more affordable and less of a booming money industry?


Are you and your partner ready to start the adoption process? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to begin your adoption journey. We have 130+ years of adoption experience and would love to help you. Are you considering adoption and want to give your child the best life possible? Let us help you find an adoptive family that you love. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.