Jan 19, 2024

Parenthood, Marriage

Financial planning for pregnancy and fertility when it’s not the right time

Emily Luk

CPA, CFA - CEO and Cofounder of Plenty

Have your parents been telling you how much they can’t wait to be grandparents long before you even found “the one”? Whether it’s from relatives, social media, your partner, or self-imposed, many modern couples feel all sorts of pressure around starting a family–often long before they’re actually ready.

The decision to start a family not only involves emotional and physical aspects, but also financial ones. So just how can couples navigate today’s dynamic landscape of family planning? 

There are career goals to juggle, shifting societal norms and evolving trends to consider, reproductive health matters, and of course budgeting for life with a baby. Daycare bills? Woof.

It might feel overwhelming or something you just want to brush off and figure out later. But a little planning–long before you want to have a baby–can actually go quite a long way in making the process a lot easier all around. Today we’ll touch on:

  • Recent trends and demographics in family planning

  • Insights on infertility and how to budget for it

  • Key steps to take before trying to start a family

  • Benefits of financial planning for pregnancy before you’re ready to have a baby

What age are couples having their first child?

The average age couples are having their first child has shifted over the years. Back in 1970, the average American woman was 21.4 years old when having her first child. By 2000, it rose to roughly age 25. And today it’s around age 27 (Source: CDC, Pew Research Center, 2023). 

This is largely due to more women attending college, the desire for job stability and career growth, but also medical reasons–namely infertility challenges. Being an older parent usually means greater financial means. But it can also be more tiring raising a child with less time left on the backend to spend time with your children.

A study by Pew Research Center also found that amongst college educated women–with bachelor’s degrees in particular–41% were aged 30 or above and 14% were at least 35. The percentages jump even higher for women with a master’s degree or more–54% were aged 30 or older and 20% were at least 35.

Are couples having fewer children?

Yes, on average Millennials and Gen X couples are having fewer children compared to previous generations. The average number of children per woman today is around 1.8, which is below the "replacement level" of 2.1 needed to sustain the population (Source: Pew Research Center, 2022). This decline is mostly due to the costs involved with raising children and changing societal norms.

Below is some fascinating data from the New York Times that highlights counties with the oldest first-time mothers. It is no coincidence that these counties are also some of the most expensive in the nation. 

Saving for pregnancy before you’re ready to have a baby

Giving birth costs $18,865 on average, including pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health System Tracker. 

A vaginal delivery is estimated to average $14,768 and a cesarean is estimated to average $26,280. Most women aim to have a vaginal delivery, but sometimes even with the best efforts, a vaginal delivery may not be feasible. 

Thankfully, your health insurance should cover most of the cost. Please check with your insurance carrier to make sure you understand the cost of your deductible and other fees.

Another cost worth checking is how many nights in the hospital is covered. As a first-time parent, you may wish to stay one more night given the support at the hospital. After all, once you get home, you’re on your own. Check out our post on baby-related medical expenses and insurance to learn more. 

In addition to the costs involved with giving birth, most couples spend between $12,000-$14,000 in their baby’s first year of life, but that’s before income cuts from any parental leave or if you need support from night nurses. How much you end up spending will vary based on your location and needs (New York Life, 2023). 

The cost to treat infertility

Even if you aren’t sure if you may experience infertility down the road, it’s worth knowing now that it can get quite expensive to treat. Although the costs can vary widely, basic fertility treatments typically range from $5,000-$15,000. And more advanced procedures like egg freezing can cost $15,000 - $25,000 per course, while IVF can cost between $15,000-$30,000 per cycle (Source: Forbes, 2024)

If you hope to have a family someday, it is beneficial to start saving early-on for pregnancy and baby as part of your long-term financial planning. 

Plenty makes it easy to start saving for your future family, together. We help you prepare for the expected, and the unexpected.

When you set up a Baby goal in the Plenty platform, we’ll walk you through your savings goal step by step. Some things we take into account include your location, whether or not you're insured, and when you want to have a baby. 

Once you have a total savings target, we create a plan and make it easy to contribute to that savings account to give you peace of mind. Regular contributions add up faster than you think, especially if you’re doing it with a partner. Depending on your timeline, we’ll recommend the best portfolio for your savings.

Some say that having a baby is a spiritually elevating experience, but it can also be stressful due to the lack of sleep and constant worry about your little one’s survival. By creating a “baby fund,” it will at least help alleviate some financial stress y’all may experience. 

Simple steps to get your finances ready

More simple steps you can take with financial planning for starting a family before you’re ready to have a baby:

Emergency Fund: Establish and maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, including potential medical costs related to pregnancy or fertility treatments.

Debt Management: Work toward reducing any existing debt balances to create a more stable financial foundation. Learn more about debt here and why it’s not all bad.

Investments: Explore investment opportunities aimed to grow your wealth over time. We have a fantastic Investing 101 guide to help you get started.

Insurance: Get familiar with health insurance to ensure you’ll have adequate coverage to handle medical expenses associated with pregnancy and fertility treatments when the time comes.

Set specific money goals: Create custom savings goals for potential fertility treatments, pregnancy, childbirth, and your baby’s first year (we can guide you through it on Plenty).

Daycare: There are a lot of childcare options to consider before having a baby. Learn about them in our post on tips to manage childcare expenses. Think about what might fit best for you and how you want to manage and save for those costs.

Explore savings accounts: Let your money work for you in a high-yield savings account. Plenty offers 5.08% APY* for your cash–that’s 13x the national savings account average. We believe this is the lowest risk place for your cash. Plus, you can withdraw anytime.

Benefits of financial planning for pregnancy and fertility

Before we wrap up, let’s look at the many benefits to financial planning for pregnancy, even if you’re not ready to have a baby yet.

  • Reduced stress: Knowing that you have a plan with financial goals in place can reduce stress during family planning and pregnancy.

  • Increased flexibility: Earmarking funds for potential fertility treatments will help soften the blow if the need arises. Maybe you’d like to have the option to downshift from a dual-income to a single-income household.

  • Happier family: When parents are happy and less stressed, so is the little one. Money doesn’t have to be a persistent worry in the household if you plan far enough ahead. 

In conclusion, family planning involves a combination of physical, emotional, and financial considerations. Taking proactive steps to planning for a family can help you have a smoother, more enjoyable journey toward parenthood. Think less stress, more smiles.

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* This rate moves with the Fed Funds Rate.


Emily Luk

CPA, CFA - CEO and Cofounder of Plenty

Emily is the ceo and cofounder of Plenty. Started by a husband and wife team, Plenty is a wealth platform built for modern couples to invest and plan towards their future, together. Previously, she was VP of Strategy and Operations at Even (acquired by Walmart/One) and a founding team member of Stripe's Growth and Finance & Strategy teams. She began her career as a VC, and was one of the youngest nationally to complete her CPA, CA and CFA designations.

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