Coming to terms with the diagnosis of infertility is difficult, but coming to terms with the costs associated with it are even more difficult. This is the reality for 1 in 8 couples trying to conceive. When you consider the cost of an in vitro fertilization cycle is $12,400 (as reported by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine) and the average woman will need 3 cycles to successfully conceive it is easy to see why most people don’t have that money laying around. So, how do you finance your treatment?
Only fifteen states have infertility coverage as part of their insurance packages, but many cover diagnostic procedures, corrective surgery, bloodwork or ultrasounds. Some policies cover lower tech procedures such as intrauterine insemination, but not in vitro fertilization. Pharmacy benefits may cover some infertility prescription medications, like Clomid or birth control pills for an in vitro cycle. Look into the mail order pharmacy your policy uses for better pricing.
Flex Spending or Health Savings Accounts
Contact your Human Resources Department about the flex spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) available at your employer. Discuss the differences between the two, and the maximum allowable contribution per year. As of 2014, flex spending accounts may allow contributors to carry over a $500 balance from year to year. Flex spending accounts allow pre-tax dollars to go towards copayments, deductibles, prescription drugs, medical procedures and health monitoring devices prescribed by a physician. Health savings accounts may be used for treatments such as acupuncture, diagnostics, lodging and meals when travelling for medical expenses, pregnancy test kits and medication. When used for qualified health related items these funds are tax free.
Many organizations have reproductive health grants or scholarships. Both grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid, as loans must be. There may be some stipulations including media engagements to promote the awarding agency or fundraising to help the organization give out future grants. There is some legwork involved in applying for them, such as income verification or marital status, but often the grant awarded is near $10,000.
Shared Risk/IVF Refund programs
Shared Risk or IVF Refund programs require pre-payment up front, but refund money to the patient directly if pregnancy is not achieved. Most clinics have narrow guidelines patients must fall within to qualify for this program including age limit, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level or antral follicle count (AFC) minimums. This may seem like an attractive option, but consider that if you become pregnant on the first cycle you have overpaid by the two additional cycles.
Clinical trials are controlled studies with the purpose of answering a specific question about disease, illness or disorder. Clinical trials may be offered at only one location or at multiple locations throughout the country. Clinical trials may include use of a new medication or the latest procedure not yet available to the general public. Since the clinical trial is to gather data on a new way of treating people there may be risks involved in participating. Participants are volunteers which receive no compensation. Instead, a free cycle of treatment is made available in exchange for risk incurred by the volunteer. There is no guarantee of a successful pregnancy. FertileThoughts offers information on studies as they become available on their Clinical Trial Forum.
With the current economic climate banks are approving far fewer loans than they used to. You may qualify to refinance a mortgage, take out a second mortgage or a home equity loan. Unsecured personal loans are sometimes available as well. Consider your feelings on paying for a loan for many years if your treatment is unsuccessful.
New Types of Financing
Crowdfunding has become a useful tool for raising money. This method is popular because it allows multiple people to make small contributions to your cause, rather than asking a friend or family member for a large sum of money.
Fundraisers work on the same principle that schools and organizations use to gather money. Having a bake sale, candy sale or a t-shirt designed specifically for your cause can raise money. The tactics often need to be used multiple times since they raise small amounts of cash each time.