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The New Ways Couples Are Paying For IVF
Despite the fact that 15 US states have mandated insurance coverage for infertility diagnostics or treatment, many couples struggling to build their families face in vitro fertilization (IVF) as the best or only successful option to have a child and the hefty out-of-pocket bill that goes along with it.
The staggering statistic is that 1 in 8 couples are diagnosed with infertility and fertility declines rapidly as we approach the age of 35. These couples might not have savings to cover the costs of IVF, depending on the age and financial state at which they are diagnosed.
Given the economic climate, banks have tightened their belts when it comes to loan approvals and second mortgages. Couples are now getting creative at raising dollars for fertility treatment.
Brandi and Shelton Koskie founded the website BabyOrBust.com, which asked visitors to donate $1 toward their IVF several years ago. They were faced with a $20,000 out-of-pocket price tag, raised $7,500 through donations, and reached their goal within two years. They have since given birth to a daughter via their first IVF cycle.
Todd and Ula Nelkin, of Houston, currently have a double-signed Barry Sanders and Walter Payton football memorabilia card up for auction to pay for their IVF. The couple, who has been battling infertility for over a year, will combine their winnings with a generous check from Sanders himself to cover the difference.
President and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, Barbara Collura, has seen a shift in funds seeking over the years. Couples who used to attend RESOLVE seminars for advice and guidance on refinancing or loan applications are finding borrowed cash is hard to come by. "Think about how difficult it is now to get credit cards," Collura says. "A lot of things that people could access cash with are either gone or very, very different now."
The good news is, couples like the Koskies and Nelkins are drawing media attention to the cause. Collura says more than ever before, we are talking about infertility. There is hope that cases like these will facilitate passing of the Family Act, a bill proposing tax credits to help couples with out-of-pocket costs associated with fertility treatment.
Since 100% insurance coverage or tax credit for IVF is unlikely, there are programs available like IVFAdvantage that make IVF more affordable, with up to 40% off the clinic's retail price for IVF. Couples and individuals interested in IVF can choose packages of one IVF cycle, two fresh IVF cycles, or two fresh and two frozen cycles all at a lower cost. Financing is also available to make monthly payments more digestible than an upfront payment in full. Some clinics also offer IVF Refund Programs that allow patients to receive a refund in the event of an unsuccessful cycle. The downfall here is that payment is expected in full before the start of treatment, which is not always financially feasible. Alternatively, there are foundations which offer grants and other financial assistance for fertility treatment.
If you are pursuing IVF as a treatment option, keep in mind that IVF costs vary by city and state.