Hilary Swank has just been cast in a role she’ll begin in a few short months. At the age of 48, the actress recently announced that she is a mother-to-be. To top it off, she’s going to have twins! This is undoubtedly amazing news, but it does raise some questions about the accessibility of having a child later in life.
The Next Karate Kids
On October 5, 2022, the star of The Next Karate Kid announced on Good Morning America that she would be having her own karate kid—make that two karate kids. The actress is expecting twins with her husband, Philip Schneider. As Swank shared on the show, “This is something that I’ve been wanting for a long time and my next thing is I’m gonna be a mom. And not just of one, but of two. I can’t believe it. It’s so nice to be able to talk about it and share it.”
As the award-winning actress made the rounds in sharing her good news, her next stop was Live with Kelly and Ryan. Swank went on to share that twins run in her husband’s family and that they’re both thrilled to be expecting. Plus, Swank is excited to see what’s next as she becomes a mother. As she remarked, “It’s such a blessing. It’s a total miracle. It’s unbelievable.”
The day following her surprising announcement, Swank went on The Drew Barrymore Show and disclosed even more about her pregnancy. Turns out, the children’s due date has significant meaning to the Million Dollar Baby star. During the interview, Barrymore pointed out, “You just announced that your father has passed away one year ago and this miracle is happening.” In response, Swank shared, “Yeah and they are due on his birthday.” Of course the host’s jaw dropped open, astonished by the remarkable news.
Swank has publicly shared her desire to be a mother for some time now. It’s no surprise that she and her husband have been trying to have children. However, as we celebrate the miracle of childbirth and Swank’s miracle babies, we’re also reminded of all the not-so-hidden costs of having a child in America.
The Not-So-Hidden Price Of Having A Baby
Let’s be real. Children are expensive, regardless of how you choose to have them. Whether you go the traditional route, adopt, or use IVF or other fertility treatments, having a baby is going to cost you.
Even for people who go the traditional route of conceiving a child through intercourse, the average childbirth still costs thousands of dollars. Although insurance covers most childbirth costs, a 2020 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that out-of-pocket costs are still an average of about $2,850. Without insurance, the average cost of childbirth in the US is a whopping $18,865.
However, not all people want to or are able to conceive through conventional means. The reasons individuals and couples choose to go a different route vary greatly. For those who choose to undergo fertility treatments, it will cost thousands just to get pregnant. The average egg donation and embryo creation both cost between $20,000 and $30,000. The average IVF cycle with medication can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000—with no guarantee of return on investment!
Those who seek other nontraditional paths such as adoption will still pay a pretty penny. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average cost of adopting a child in America is between $20,000 and $45,000.
Lastly, if you’re thinking about surrogacy, you should have a sizable nest egg in the bank. Surrogacy is one of the most expensive ways to have a child. On average, the entire cost to have a child through surrogacy in the US ranges from $100,000 to $200,000.
Are Nontraditional Options Accessible To All?
These costs aren’t meant to scare or dissuade you from having a child. Most parents will say the experience of holding that little one in their arms for the first time is simply priceless. For those who decide to go the nontraditional route of having a family (myself included), the cost is often factored in when making the decision that’s best for you and your family. Plus with crowdfunding, grants, and other ways to mitigate the cost, you most likely won’t pay the full amount out of pocket.
Regardless of how you choose to have a child, it’s going to be expensive. The question is, are IVF treatments, surrogacy, adoption, and other nontraditional paths accessible and affordable for most people? Cost is a factor for most people in the United States. Are these options only available to celebrities, the wealthy, or people with good insurance? If most people are priced out of having children they’re unable to conceive, are nontraditional paths to having a children restricted only to people with privilege?