The Time It Takes To Make a Family

Alexandra Temblador

By Alex Temblador

the many paths to parenthood

Unlike the story of the stork that arrives with a baby seemingly upon demand, for most parents, it takes a significant amount of time to create a family. For many women, it takes time to get pregnant due to a variety of reasons such as infertility, miscarriages, endometriosis, ovulatory disorders, weight, age, stress, among many other reasons. Then there are families that are unable to carry their own children, couples with infertility problems or same-sex couples, and they must choose to adopt or use a surrogate which are processes that take a significant amount of time. This is all to say that the families aren’t something that happen overnight. They take time, but how much time?

Conceiving naturally

Many couples have the ability to conceive naturally. In terms of statistics about 80-90% of couples. A majority of couples who are trying to get pregnant will conceive within three months and the chances of conceiving naturally increase as time goes on. There is an 80% chance of conceiving after six months of trying. This seems fairly quickly until you consider that the amount of months it takes to conceive increases if one is older, has fertility problems, or has infertility-related habits like smoking.

Besides infertility problems, which aren’t usually realized until around a year, there are other complications that can arise when conceiving naturally that also extends the time it takes to make one’s family. For instance, ten to twenty-five percent of all clinically-recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most healthy women have a 15-25% chance of having a miscarriage and this number increases with a woman’s age. Miscarriages can be very hard and emotional experiences which could discourage a couple or a woman from trying to conceive quickly soon after.


In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is one of the most common fertility treatments. Couples with infertility problems or same-sex couples will usually try IVF. Though IVF is an assisted reproduction treatment, it still requires time for IVF to result in a successful pregnancy. It takes about four to six weeks to complete one cycle of IVF and with only a 41% success rate for women under 35 (the success rate lowers as the woman’s age increases), multiple cycles of IVF is usually needed.

One must also consider the costs of IVF: about $12,400 for just one cycle. Not every family has the ability to pay for the cost of IVF immediately, thus adding time to save for the procedure.


On average it takes about twelve months to complete an adoption within the United States, though adoptions can range from six to eighteen months on average. American Adoptions claims that a private adoption (through them) would take 1 to 12 months while a State adoption could take one month to five years. International adoptions can range from 12-36 months. This includes the application process, visiting the country (sometimes multiple times), and perhaps even living in the country for weeks at a time.

Keep in mind that this is under the assumption that a couple or individual already has the funds to adopt. The costs of adopting can range from a few hundred dollars to $30,000 or more within the U.S. Adopting internationally can be even more costly, $10,000-$50,000 in fees which don’t include traveling expenses to the foreign country. If a couple or individual do not have the funds, they must take the time to raise or save for the funds.

It took these moms, ninety days to start fostering.


The time it takes to create a family through surrogacy can vary due to a variety of factors. If using a friend or a family member as a surrogate, the process would be fairly quicker than going through an agency which would have to search for a surrogate for you. Circle Surrogacy has quoted one and a half year time to go through the entire surrogacy process. Still IVF must be used when using a surrogate and as mentioned above, becoming pregnant from IVF takes time.

Having said all of that, the cost of surrogacy can also be a factor in the time it takes for a couple or individual to raise the money to afford surrogacy. There are two forms of surrogacy: commercial and altruistic. Altruistic surrogacy doesn’t involve paying a surrogate beyond logical expenses like medical bills, insurance, time off from work, etc. Commercial surrogacy involves paying a surrogate to carry a child and is, therefore, more expensive. Commercial surrogates usually receive $20,000-$35,000 (in addition to having their medical expenses paid). However, the full cost of gestational surrogacy can range from $100,000-$150,000 which would include the lawyer fees, agency fees, screening and surrogate fees, and medical and insurance costs.

As shown, it takes time to make a family regardless of the path one chooses to take to have a family. It took our own Editor-in-chief Brandy Black and her wife, Susan, three years to have a baby. Check out this YouTube video where they talk about the time it took them to make a family.

For that reason, we are curious to know, how long did it take for you to create your family and what path did you choose toward creating your family? We’d love to hear your thoughts  below.

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