The Cost of Raising Octuplets: Expensive Times 8

"Even though this story has a positive spin, it should be seen as a very serious complication of fertility treatment," Paulson said. "Patients who conceive octuplets would routinely be offered -- even advised -- selective reduction. I have to assume that in this case, the patients decided to try and carry to viability, and they were lucky, plus they got some really good doctors."

Octuplets' Tab Will Continue to Climb

When the infants leave the hospital, the bills will keep piling up.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new Cost of Raising a Child Calculator -- a new tool the department has developed to help parents prepare for expenses and life insurance -- a middle-class family living in the western United States can expect to spend at least $9,171 on year's worth of housing, food, transportation, clothing, health, education and other expenses for a single child under the age of 1.

For eight children under the age of 1, that number mushrooms to $73,368.

Projected costs keep climbing as the children get older, according to the USDA calculator. By the time the children are 17, their parents can expect to spend at least $10,133 on each child annually, or $81,064 total for the year.

Overall, from birth through high school, the family will spend a projected $171,926 per child, for a total of $1,375,408.

"The kids are going to grow up in an environment where being frugal is part of life," said Kathy Peel, the author of "The Busy Mom's Guide to a Happy, Organized Home."

Peel, a mother of three from Houston, said she believes the projections devised through the USDA calculator are low.

She said she doubted, for instance, that a family would spend $308 per year on an infant's clothing, as estimated by the USDA. Disposable diapers alone, she said, could cost about $72 a month for a single child. For eight babies, that would total nearly $7,000 a year.

Peel said that while the family can save money by buying goods in bulk, it will lose out on the cost benefits of "hand-me-down" clothing -- with all the children being the same age, she said, there won't be any clothes left to hand down.

And then there are the costs beyond adolescence, like college. By the time the octuplets turn 18 in 2027, the Web site projects that four-year tuition at a public university will cost $87,200 per student.

If all eight octuplets head to a public college, the family could find itself stuck with tuition bills totalling nearly $700,000. That sum rises if any of the children go to a more expensive private college.

"The good news for this family is I'm sure they're going to be given a lot of things that will be very helpful," said Peel.

The Gosselin Family

In years past, families with sextuplets -- six infants born at the same time -- have received everything from free cars to new homes to guaranteed college tuition.

Jon and Kate Gosselin, the parents of twins and sextuplets and the stars of the television show "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" on the TLC network, speak openly about the free vacations they've received in exchange for free publicity on their show. Kate Gosselin also received a free tummy tuck courtesy of a physician who was also featured on the show.

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