Domestic Adoption for Single and LGBTQ Parents

Quick Rundown on Costs

Since single and LGBTQ hopeful parents often have an array of families building options to consider, we thought it would make sense to briefly outline the costs for each.


One popular option to consider is to become a foster parent. Fostering is significantly less expensive than adoption, but in many circumstances, the goal of foster care is to reunite the child with their birth parents. We have a detailed course on fostering we suggest you reference.

Fertility Treatment

For those considering fertility treatment, while intrauterine insemination ($500–$4,000) and in vitro fertilization ($20,000) costs can be easy to approximate, the odds each treatment works (and thus the total costs and timelines) varies by a number of factors, female age being chiefly important.

That said, many single and lesbian women have higher success rates than heterosexual coupled patients who are sub-fertile. We have detailed courses for lesbian (here) and single women which you should consult.


Finally, pursuing IVF with donor eggs and a gestational carrier (often a consideration for gay couples) costs $60,000–$200,000, obviously well above the typical costs to adopt.

We have a detailed course on the subject (here), that includes a discussion on state-by-state complexity, which is worth your referencing.

Single People

Most every state law either explicitly states “unmarried adults” are eligible to adopt,or is silent on the terms “married” or “unmarried” (e.g. “any adult person may adopt”).

In reality, the likelihood of adoption will depend upon two factors:

  1. The perspectives of the social worker or agency conducting the home study and who will assess the adoptive parents financial, medical, and emotional capacity to parent.

  2. The preferences of the expectant mother and birth parent.

For this reason, it’s important to work with an agency or attorney who can arrange for home studies to be done with evaluators who’ve previously been respectful of a single person’s wishes to parent (e.g. certain agencies with a religious bent may be disinclined to help you).

Similarly, you want your agency or attorney to have a track record finding and working with expectant parents open to the idea of placing their child with a single parent.

While birth moms want to offer their child stability, and many see that in a couple, others perceive a single parent household to be more reliable and free from upheaval, separation, and divorce.

As to what the experience is like for single adoptive parents, there’s not much data. However, one survey of single mothers of adopted children showed they generally felt like the burden and challenges they encountered were similar to women raising children in a two parent household.

On one hand, as a single parent, you get to establish the rhythm of the house and the behaviors you want to encourage. On the other hand, single parents shoulder a larger financial burden, and if there is an interruption at home or at work, the other may suffer.

If becoming a solo foster parent is an option you’re considering, we recommend taking a look at our course on becoming a solo parent.

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In this course we cover the costs for domestic infant adoption, as well as the timelines, crucial steps and major decisions to be weighed. We also focus on post-adoption aspects namely levels of openness with birth parents, coping with microaggressions and how this process can look for single and LGBTQ adoptive parents. Finally, we take a high-level look at the process of intercountry adoption.