There are ways to pay for IVF, but they’re not without financial risk.
So you’ve decided on in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Now, how are you going to pay for it? According to the IVF Cost Calculator (yes, it’s a thing), the cost of IVF varies. Factors in how much it will cost include how old you are, which impacts the Live Birth Rate Per Transfer, or the odds of actually bringing home a baby, how many cycles you want to do, pre-cycle tests (i.e. semen analysis, infectious disease screening, ultrasound), and if you want to freeze any additional viable embryos for future implantation. If you’re a 35-year-old woman, using your own eggs (as opposed to a donor), you’re planning on freezing some leftover embryos, and you have a 51% chance of having a baby, the procedure is going to cost you about $12,850, and that’s at the low end of the money spectrum.
I asked some folks who had had IVF or were planning on having it how they had paid for IVF, or how they were planning to pay for it. S told me she was considering going to Cyprus, where the procedure was less expensive, and the clinic was top notch. L and her partner, who have a 3 month old as a result of IVF, used their savings for the first round and took a loan from her partner’s parents for the second. More than one person reported getting a part time job to pay for it. Another enrolled herself in a clinical trial, and still another might set up a GoFundMe with her partner.
There are insurance policies that cover IVF and the costs associated with it. K’s two rounds of hormones and two egg retrievals came to $13, 213. Her health insurance paid for the drugs, and one year of free storage was included in the retrieval process, so she’ll start paying $100 per month out of pocket in March 2018, until she chooses to implant them. Some states, like Massachusetts have state mandates that insurance cover IVF. The Massachusetts Infertility Mandate requires insurance companies to treat IVF as though it were any other disease requiring medical coverage. There are exceptions, however – companies don’t have to cover surrogacy, experimental fertility treatments, or egg freezing.
These numbers are really sobering, and they make undertaking the realities of IVF seem even more daunting.
“You can finance over time the cost of an IVF cycle, as opposed to a one time payment,” says Dr. Mark Trolice, Director of Fertility CARE: The IVF Center. “The disadvantages are the high interest rate and the qualifications of credit score.”
Not everyone has abiding insurance, people to borrow from, or a savings account, and if that’s the case for you, how do you access IVF? “Because most insurance plans don’t cover these services, fertility patients tend to have high incomes to begin with,” Stephanie M. Lee wrote in a June 2017 Buzzfeed article.
If you don’t have a high income, one answer to affording IVF might be organizations like Aspire Fertility, located in Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta, whose goal is to help patients and their partners navigate the overwhelming nature of process and cost.
“At Aspire, we discuss financing options with our patients on the initial consultation, and a financial adviser is part of the team looking after them once they start treatment.” says TJ Farnsworth, the founder and CEO. “In the long run, better-quality IVF treatment can save you money, if it reduces the number of IVF cycles you need to go through. A single successful cycle is more cost-effective than two cheap but failed courses of treatment.” Farnsworth also notes that there are scholarships and grants for IVF for folks who qualify, as well as loans, and that treatments are tax-deductible.
Future Family is another company committed to guiding people through the treacherous world of paying for IVF. You can buy a subscription package, for a monthly fee, that includes access to medical professionals by email, text, and phone, the ability to schedule hormone tests, and more. Future Family will pay for the service, and you pay them back. You can sign up for a standard IVF plan (one cycle) and pay $250 a month for a minimum of 5 years or a maximum of 10. It’s cheaper than your average IVF procedure, but most people need more than one cycle of IVF for success, meaning that you probably are going to spend much more than $250 a month before you have a baby.
Seeking out support while you’re planning your next steps in this process is essential. There’s unbelievable stress that comes with facing infertility and figuring out what your options are, especially when pursuing infertility treatment can mean additional expenses accrue and expectations may need to be recalibrated regularly.
“The impact is one on both your emotional health and financial health,” says Mollie Hyuck, Co-Director and Intended Parents Case Manager of Egg Donor Connections. “When undertaking the IVF process “planning” for the financial process can be challenging as recommendations for treatment protocols may change, length of time for an egg retrieval or a cycle can vary, thus potentially leading to more out of pocket expenses that may not have necessarily been planned. It requires a realization that some modifications may occur through the medical protocols which could also impact financial commitment.”