How to plan for a family as a member of the LGBTQ community

Having kids is never cheap, but for the LBGTQ community, it takes another level of financial planning to start a family. In light of recently proposed legislation in the U.S., family and estate planning are paramount to the LGBTQ community. Barbara Bilello and Lisa Neira, personal finance experts and members of the LGBTQ community from CI Financial partner firm Regent Atlantic, share their knowledge and experience on the issues members of the LGBTQ community face and what you can do to prepare.

Options for how to start a family

There are several options for how to start a family, and each comes with a cost.

  1. Adoption. This includes foster-care adoption, private adoptions, domestic or internal, and the cost can be $40,000 plus. It can cost even more if you adopt internationally.
  2. Surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is when the birthmother carries a child conceived from donor sperm. Gestational surrogacy is when a third person gives birth to a baby conceived outside of the womb from a donor egg and sperm through in-vitro fertilization (IVF).  The cost typically ranges between $90,000 to $130,000.
  3. IUI IVF. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is where donor sperm is inserted into the uterus. This could cost a couple of thousand dollars and depends on how successful the procedure is and how many rounds are required. IVF is the process of creating an embryo in the lab and transfers to the carrier. The cost is typically between $15,000 to $20,000 plus.

How can LGBTQ communities start planning for a family?

In terms of expense, planning for a family as an LGBTQ family is comparable to saving for a college education. However, the cost of planning for a family often comes at a time in many people’s lives when they are just establishing their careers and haven’t had 18 years to save. So, with a short timeline, what can LGBTQ members do to prepare to start a family?

  • Communicate: Talk to your human resources (HR) department and insurance provider to see what is covered.
  • Be an advocate. If your insurance company or employer doesn’t provide coverage, advocate for it. Ask the hard questions and suggest they aim for a more inclusive policy.
  • Plan early.  Since your timeline might be short, start planning as early as possible. You can even start planning for a family before you meet your partner.

How can LGBTQ communities start planning?

When planning for your future, there are two major factors to consider. First, the financial side. This includes portfolio planning, looking at assets, your balance sheet, and your liabilities.

Then there’s estate planning. Estate planning involves deciding where you want your assets to go when you die, who will make your medical and financial decisions when you can’t, and who will care for your children when you aren’t around.

Estate planning can be more nuanced for LGBTQ families. For instance, if you were to pass away, your children could be left vulnerable to unsupportive family members. Family members can contest your will if they don’t recognize your relationship.

When creating an estate plan, there are several critical documents to incorporate:

  • Will. A will outlines your wishes in the event of death. Where will your assets go, who will act as guardians for your children? Who will manage your money?
  • Financial power of attorney. This document allows you to assign the person you want to make financial decisions or manage your finances if you become incapacitated.
  • Healthcare power of attorney. You can choose somebody to make medical decisions if you’re not able. This document also lets you determine what happens with your remains and where you want to be buried.
  • HIPAA privacy authorization form.  This form allows doctors or other healthcare professionals to disclose pertinent health information and records to your designated healthcare power of attorney. You want the doctors to be able to speak to your partner, your wife, or your husband about your situation.
  • Healthcare directive. This designates the type of care you want to receive at the end of life.

How a financial advisor can help

Working with a financial advisor can help you to determine what you can afford and how much you need to save to start a family. An advisor can also assist in navigating the specific language you should include when creating your essential documents. When choosing an advisor look for someone who has experience working with the LGBTQ community or, better yet, someone with firsthand experience as a community member.


Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown


Lisa is a Partner and Wealth Advisor at CI Brightworth and has served as chairwoman of CIPW’s Business Development Committee. In addition to working with clients, Lisa has published three books, Girl Talk, Money Talk. The Smart Girl’s Guide to Money After College; Girl Talk, Money Talk II. Financially Fit and Fabulous in Your 40s and 50s; and CI Brightworth’s first book, Building Your Wealth Inside Corporate America. Lisa has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, YahooFinance,, and many more, and frequently speaks at seminars across the country.


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