The journey to parenthood and starting a family can be a great adventure. There’s lots of anticipation and excitement, for sure. But any prospective LGBTQ parent will tell you that it can also be a financial rollercoaster. Whether you’re thinking about adoption or a surrogate, there are ways to minimize financial strain as you get ready for a massive and joyful (and maybe sometimes sleepless) life change.

1. Plan early to give yourself plenty of time

Starting your financial planning early can make a huge difference. The costs of becoming a parent as an LGBTQ person or couple can vary widely depending on how you go about it. Adoption can cost anywhere from little to nothing (in the case of public agency adoption) to tens of thousands of dollars for private adoptions. Surrogacy usually costs even more, sometimes exceeding $100,000 after all the medical and legal fees.

Tip: Start with a clear financial plan. Consider talking to a financial advisor who understands the unique challenges and opportunities for LGBTQ families. They can help you navigate tax implications, estate planning, and ensure that your financial strategy supports your growing family.

2. Check your employer benefits

A lot of employers are starting to offer benefits that help cover family planning expenses. Check to see if your employer offers adoption assistance or has policies supporting surrogacy—both financial support and parental leave. Some companies might also offer legal assistance that can be helpful in navigating second-parent adoption or creating formal legal protection for your parental rights.

Don’t be hesitant about looking into this. A lot of employees never ask, and sometimes miss out on some really valuable assistance without even knowing it.  Reach out to your HR department to get all the info on what’s available at your company. Every little bit helps when you’re planning for your family’s future.

3. Look into grants and scholarships

Did you know there are financial assistance programs out there designed specifically to help LGBTQ folks become parents? Lots of organizations offer grants or scholarships that can help you cover adoption or fertility treatment costs. These can be competitive, so bring your A-game when you apply—think of it as your first act of stepping up as a parent!

It’s a good idea to check out resources like the Family Equality Council and Men Having Babies for potential grant opportunities. Getting involved with local LGBTQ organizations can also help you find assistance and community support.

4. Save smarter with specialized savings accounts

When you’re saving for big financial goals, always consider accounts that give you a tax advantage. For instance, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) can be used for some medical costs, including fertility treatments, and even adoption costs. Special savings accounts designed for adoption or fertility treatments can also help you set aside money in a structured way.

Make sure you understand the qualifying expenses for these accounts—not all costs related to becoming a parent will be covered. Checking with your accountant is a good way to make sure you know exactly what you can count on.

5. Think long-term

It’s easy to focus on the immediate costs of becoming a parent, but don’t forget about the long haul. Raising a child comes with a lot of ongoing expenses—everything from diapers and daycare to college tuition. Building a budget that includes all of your future child-related expenses will help you avoid financial surprises.

Think about setting up a college savings account like a 529 plan early on. It’s a great way to invest in your child’s future while also picking up some tax benefits.

6. Be flexible and keep up with the latest updates

The financial landscape, especially for LGBTQ families, is constantly changing. Laws change, new financial products are developed, and community resources often expand. Staying informed and adaptable in your financial planning can help you be ready for changes and opportunities as they come up.

Joining LGBTQ parenting groups or online forums is a great way to stay up-to-date and to share experiences and tips with others who are on a similar journey. The hive mind can be a massive source of information and advice.

The path to parenthood might look a little different for LGBTQ folks and couples, but with the right planning, support, and resources, you’ll be all set to welcome your new addition with open arms (and a well-prepared bank account!). Then you can worry less about the costs and spend your time focusing on the fun and exciting parenting adventure ahead.