According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.5 million Americans experience problems with fertility. Depending on the cause of a couple’s infertility, the fertility treatments necessary to conceive can be quite expensive. But for couples who desperately want to have a child, the costs are worth it. The problem is finding the funds or financing in order to pay for the treatment.
According to Parents Magazine, the cost and effectiveness of fertility treatments vary widely. Some treatments are actually relatively inexpensive like fertility drugs. Around 40% to 45% of those who take fertility pills get pregnant and around 50% of those who get fertility shots conceive. The cost for these medications can vary widely from as little as $60 to as much as $6,000 per cycle.
Other common fertility treatments include artificial insemination which has a 15% to 20% chance of pregnancy after one cycle and up to a 70% chance after six cycles. Artificial insemination through intrauterine catheter usually costs around $900.
If a couple requires in vitro fertilization (IVF) then their treatment will be much more expensive. Around 41% of women under age 35 get pregnant through IVF, 32% of women ages 35-37, and 23% of those ages 38-40. IVF costs around $8,000 per cycle and often requires multiple cycles.
Health coverage of fertility treatments
Insurance companies sometimes will cover infertility treatments and in vitro fertilization, but most plans offer no infertility coverage. Even for the plans that do cover it, they don’t often cover all fertility treatment costs. For example, some plans will only cover certain types of treatments and other plans will have a lifetime maximum of around $10,000 or $25,000.
There are 15 states that have a mandate that requires insurance companies to provide infertility coverage. These states are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia. What is covered varies from state to state. Some states only mandate coverage of one cycle of IVF, whereas others are more comprehensive.
Clinic financing and shared risk plans
Some clinics will offer payment plans if your insurance does not cover your fertility treatment. These payment plans will space your payments over a longer period of time or give you a discount for extra treatments if your first cycle doesn’t work. Some kinds of financing offered by clinics charge interest while others do not; it depends on the clinic.
Another option that some clinics offer is called a Shared Risk program. For a set amount of money, couples can pay for anywhere from 3-6 donor eggs or IVF cycles. If at the end of those cycles, they do not conceive, they get the full amount back. These plans usually start at around $30,000.
There are a number of paths for alternative funding for your IVF cycle or other fertility treatments. Here are some common options:
Whether you casually ask for help from friends or family or set up a crowdfunding campaign on a site like GoFundMe.com, many couples are turning to crowdfunding in order to raise money to start their families. This is a solution that works best for people who have a significant number of friends and family members who are well-off enough to be able to contribute in a substantial way towards IVF costs. Not everyone feels comfortable asking others for help and so this might not be a good idea for some couples.
Health Spending Account
If you have money saved in a Health Spending Account, you can use that money to pay for your infertility treatments. This is one way to save a bit of money since HSAs allow you to put money away pre-tax. Even if you don’t use money in your HSA, you can deduct the out-of-pocket costs of your infertility treatments on your taxes.
Health credit cards
One way to finance infertility treatment is to use a health credit card. These credit cards are slightly different than normal credit cards in that they offer more attractive interest rates and often have a period of six months to more than a year where you’re not charged interest on your balance. After that grace period, you can sometimes be expected to pay back the amount on the card according to a fixed term like you would an installment loan.
A personal loan is one of the best ways to finance treatment because you’ll likely qualify for a lower rate by financing your infertility treatment this way. Personal loan interest rates are often lower than the financing you would get at the clinic or on a health credit card. Personal loans for health related costs are often easy to qualify for and come with flexible options on term lengths.