After three years of failed fertility treatments, my husband and I went in for a consultation with our doctor to talk about “the next steps.” We already had a vague idea of what he was going to suggest: In-Vitro Fertilization. I had watched other couples around me struggle to expand their families and eventually try the same medical procedure my doctor was now talking to me about. One thought echoed in my brain… “How are we going to pay for this?”
Everyone knows that IVF comes with a high price tag. But why? The complicated and sensitive nature of the IVF procedure is what leads to the hefty cost of this treatment. There are many medical professionals involved: a reproductive endocrinologist or RE, an anesthesiologist, an embryologist, sonographers, nurses and lab technicians. Not to mention the sheer number of blood tests and doctor appointments that are required every step of the way.
How much does it cost?
Every fertility treatment round is different, with each patient requiring more or less drugs, or fewer sonograms and office visits, and many different testing options are available. These variables make it hard to give an exact cost of IVF. It is generally acknowledged that a normal treatment cycle will cost between $7,000 and $12,000, including all drugs, procedures, and office appointments. Even at the ‘more affordable’ end of the spectrum, these are staggering figures that are not feasible for many people who desire to expand their families. Add to these numbers the reality that it takes most patients several rounds of treatment to have a successful pregnancy and you are looking at a huge expense!
In many cases, ART or Assisted Reproductive Technologies are not covered by insurance plans because in and of itself, the ability not to have a child is not considered a disease. Currently, only 15 states have laws that require insurance coverage for infertility treatments, and even then, it does not mean your employer is required to offer coverage. For example, in my home state of Texas, insurance companies are only required to offer IVF coverage but employers can decide to offer this to their employees or not. Find out more about what your state laws say at www.resolve.org.
What are my options?
With the restrictive insurance laws surrounding infertility coverage, this leaves the burden of cost most commonly on the patient. Many times, the obvious option to cover the high cost of fertility treatments is to pay out of pocket costs with a credit card, complete with high interest rates. However, there are some other options that can help.
- Personal Loans: Most people think of personal loans as options to consolidate debt or pay off financial emergencies, but why not use them for IVF costs? LendingTree.com offers a free service to receive and compare multiple personal loan offers up to $35,000 from a variety of lenders in their network. While these loans will not be specifically tailored to IVF, it does provide a clear look at the different options that are available. As with any loan option, it is helpful to have a good credit score, so take advantage of Lending Tree’s free credit score tool to check your score and monitor financial activity.
- IVF Financing: There are companies out there that offer specific financing packages for fertility treatments. One such company is ARC Fertility, a company that works with fertility clinics directly to secure a discounted rate of service to their patients. ARC also offers packages bundling together the medical services required for fertility treatments into the number of cycles anticipated. Their financing options simplify the costs into one monthly payment, paid directly to ARC.
- Career Change: While it might sound far-fetched, I have heard tales of families who have pursued employment at a fabled company that offers full health coverage, even for infertility treatments like IVF. FertilityIQ lists major corporations such as Bank of America, Devon, Spotify, and Chanel as companies who not only provide coverage, but who place no cap on the cost of treatment to an employee with an infertility need.
What’s best for you?
Financial decisions are always extremely personal and all options need to be carefully considered. This is especially true for emotional medical decisions like IVF. With a personal loan, like what is offered by LendingTree’s network of lenders, you have the freedom to use your loan money in whatever way you see fit. With programs like ARC fertility, they work directly with your medical provider to disburse the funds for each step of the IVF process, offering extended payment plans and even the option of a refund for any remaining funds upon the birth of a baby.
Fertility treatments can be emotionally taxing, physically challenging, and financially daunting whether you are just starting out or talking about IVF. The most important consideration to take into account when deciding how to finance your treatment is your own comfort level. Take Command Health encourages our clients pursuing fertility treatment to research all of the available options and find what works best for them to expand their family.
Read more about the IVF journey from real women dealing with infertility issues on the Take Command Health blog, from finding a fertility specialist, to educating yourself on what insurance will cover, to embracing the support around you.