You are here
The costs associated with the diagnosis and treatment of infertility can be extremely high. Fortunately there are some financial options that may lessen the burden for women and men trying to conceive.
IVF Refund Programs/Money Back Guarantees
Some clinics allow the patient to prepay a certain number of in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. If the patient is unsuccessful after a certain number of attempts, then she may receive some or all of her money back. In a typical refund program, a clinic will require a patient to prepay three IVF cycles, and if treatment is unsuccessful, 70 percent to 100 percent of the cost may be refunded. This may be a good option for some, but there are often age limitations, and couples requiring intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or donor eggs will be charged higher fees. Also, if a couple is successful in having a baby after the first or second attempt, the clinic keeps the remainder of the fee.
Some clinics specifically offer low-cost treatment plans, such as micro-IVF or in vitro maturation. A program may use lower doses of medications during stimulation to cut down on drug costs and monitoring costs. (Lower doses of medication reduce the chance of ovarian hyperstimulation and thus allow for less monitoring via ultrasounds and blood tests.) Also, egg retrieval can be done without sedation if the woman produces fewer eggs on these lower doses of medication. Other low-cost plans achieve savings by scheduling a large group of patients to undergo their IVF cycles at the same time. Drugs, including birth control pills, may be used to synchronize the cycles of those participating. Also, there is less blood and ultrasound monitoring since the retrieval date has been preset for the group. While these methods may be less expensive, the savings may be achieved at the cost of the patient. Insufficient monitoring and a less individualized approach may compromise the health of the patient and the success of the cycle.
IVF Research Programs
Participating in an IVF research program can reduce costs. However, there are often many health and age requirements to qualify for a study, and engaging in anything experimental may come with risks. Be sure to investigate thoroughly any research program you consider participating in.
Unsecured loans are available to cover infertility treatment and pharmaceutical costs. There are also some organizations that offer grants and assistance to those in need if they qualify. Some patients will take other steps such as refinancing their mortgage, securing home-equity loans or using credit cards to pay for treatment. Some will take on second jobs or ask friends or family for help. Each method presents its own challenges, and must be analyzed carefully.
Standard Health Insurance
Some states in the U.S. have laws that that require insurance coverage for fertility treatment, and others do not. The laws vary greatly by state and by plan, so it is important to question your provider about specifics. Even those plans that do offer coverage often have treatment prerequisites, age requirements and lifetime maximums.