Last week I wrote about the tax incentives Congress has provided to prospective parents seeking to adopt children.
Today I write about a related topic – the extraordinary medical efforts and technology being developed and used to help women conceive children.
- Reproductive Technology
The most common procedure currently being used to assist women in becoming pregnant is for a physician to take eggs from the woman and sperm from the man and in a laboratory procedure culture the two together so as to help form human embryos. These embryos are then carefully monitored and cared for so that after several days some of those embryos that are alive and growing are implanted back into the woman’s uterus. The unused embryos are then discarded.
There can be multiple variations of this procedure. For example, sometimes the woman’s eggs are not healthy enough for conception or the man’s sperm is not viable or motil. With the couples consent the physician may then use donor eggs or donor sperm. Likewise the woman may not be healthy enough to carry a child to term so the couple may use a surrogate woman.
And lastly, if none of the embryos survive their implantation into the uterus, this entire medical process may be repeated.
As you can imagine, these efforts can be quite expensive. There are the expected costs such as physician fees, laboratory fees, medication expenses, etc. There are also unexpected costs such as legal fees, insurance co-pay, and counseling fees by a therapist, etc.
- Adoption Fees
Last week we learned that adoption expenses up to $13,570 can be claimed as a credit on our personal income tax returns – a dollar for dollar reduction in our tax liability. This is a very significant tax savings.
- Reproduction Fees
The Internal Revenue Code allows an unlimited deduction for medical expenses that exceed 10% of our AGI. Further, the use of a health savings account can help avoid this AGI restriction.
Fortunately for those of us seeking conception through the use of reproductive technology, the term medical expenses DOES include these reproductive technology medical efforts described above. The idea is infertility is an illness and medical procedures seeking to address that illness may qualify.
- Moral Issues
There are a variety of moral issues the tax code does not address. For example, what is the religious consequence of “disposing ” of the still viable human embryos that are not implanted? Should same-sex couples qualify for the medical expense deduction if they are not infertile-they are not able to conceive anyway and thus there is no medical illness? Same question for single people seeking a child? I leave these and other such issues for your consideration.
Folks I hope this helps those of you who are seeking to adopt or who are seeking to become pregnant through use of reproductive technology. This is a rapidly expanding and dynamic field fraught with legal, tax and moral issues far beyond my ability to address. But I do hope the tax incentives I have described are helpful to you.
David Leeper is a Board Certified federal tax attorney with 38 years experience . He can be reached at 915-581-8748 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org