The Key to Making IVF Affordable

Oct 24, 2021 10:38am

How do people afford IVF?

There's no doubt that fertility treatments can be very expensive. IVF, in particular, has a reputation for costing exorbitant amounts of money; money that the average American simply can not afford.

Even though both treatment and medication costs have come down dramatically in price over the last few years, paying for fertility treatment is still a budget line item that most people do not anticipate. Studies show that an increasing number of young men and women are actually proactively saving for possible fertility treatments they might need when they decide to start a family. But what about the rest of us? Those who are actively in the emotional - and very expensive - throes of trying to build a family right now?

Fortunately, there are a number of programs designed to help you navigate the costs of IVF and ensure that you are paying the lowest rates possible. These, along with financing plans, grants and more, can help to ease the sticker shock associated with your dreams of having a baby.

Are there secrets to paying for IVF?

Good news here, yes indeed there are! Some are secrets, some are hard to find, and some other ways to save on in-vitro fertilization (both treatment and medication) are out there in plain sight just waiting for people to find them. Here, we’re rounding up the best hacks we know and will continue to update it frequently!

(Side note: If you have discovered a clever way to save on IVF, sharing is caring! Members can visit our community forum to see how others made the process more affordable. Nothing is more valuable than real life solutions so check out what people are posting!)

In general, your options for saving on fertility treatment costs fall into one of either three categories. The first is primarily administrative with a little bit of super sleuthing on your part, we’ll refer to patients who dive into this one as “The Detective”. The second involves external sources of financial support. Like little gifts from heaven, there is a world of fertility grants & scholarships out there, you just need to know where to look. These, we refer to as “Treasure Chests”. Because really any additional funding for fertility treatment is like gold. Especially when you are on a second or third cycle.

The last category? Yep, you guessed it…. friends & family! But before you roll your eyes and assume this is a road to nowhere, hear us out. People really do want to help you have a baby. The key is in the asking and we’ve got some great tips on how to do just that.

How can I make IVF more affordable?

Break out the magnifying glass and prepare to get inquisitive! When it comes to paying for fertility treatment a little detective work - and a whole lot of persistence - pays off in spades.

  • Ask your clinic

The first step is to check with your fertility clinic. They probably connected with your insurance company at your very first appointment. However, now that treatment is involved, it’s time to do another touch base and find out exactly what you will and will not be covered for in terms of insurance.

Most fertility clinics really want to help you build your family and will go out of their way to ease the financial burden of fertility treatment as much as possible. We know countless patients that have become, literally, best friends with financial counselors in the clinic’s billing department! They know the ins & outs of paying for treatment better than anyone and they have seen it all.

It’s important to realize that insurance coverage is mandated by state and (ridiculously) only 15 states have laws that require at least some coverage for fertility treatment. So, if you have a friend that works for the same company as you and is going through a similar treatment plan, if she is in a different state your fees could be dramatically different. (And, yes, people do move to another state for coverage alllll the time.)

The takeaway: Cozy up to the Financial Counselor at your fertility clinic’s billing department to explore every nook & cranny of savings possible.

  • Meet with your employer

Whether it’s your HR department or your spouse’s, we understand that it can be intimidating to make an appointment with the Human Resources department. And, for lots of reasons, you may be reluctant to share the fact that you are pursuing fertility treatment.

Only you know for sure what’s best for your personal situation. However, with any luck, you’ll be discussing maternity leave in no time so what not let the cat out of the bag a little earlier and see if you can save some mula?

There are also some amazing new companies that are bringing fertility coverage to companies on a global scale. What if your HR department only needs one more interested employee to help push the deal through? What if asking could help another TTC warrior that comes after you?

The takeaway: If you are comfortable doing so, make an appointment with your HR department to discuss coverage and the possibility of increasing coverage.

  • Hunt for hacks

Whether it’s picking up an evening gig at Starbucks just to land additional health insurance coverage or searching out the latest app for prescription medication discounts, it’s a wild, wild fertility financing world out there.  And, nobody is more eager to share their successful tactics more than your fellow IVF sisters.

A caveat here, though, is to be smart about it. Do not purchase someone else’s stims (or sperm for that matter!) off of Facebook Marketplace just to save a few dollars - it’s extremely dangerous. Stick to trusted communities with vetted resources that will share their real-life tips with you because they care, not so they can make a quick buck.

The takeaway: Find a trusted TTC tribe (or two) then dive in deep, searching for hashtags in posts and topics in forums. 

  • Bank on it

Explore the personal loan. Depending on your personal finances, banks will loan you money to renovate your house, start a small business and, yes, even try to make a baby!

The majority of healthcare providers actually have an option for you to apply for fertility financing directly through their systems. This can help with consolidating paperwork, etc. Some trusted vendors include CapexMD, LendingClub and Prosper Healthcare. Similar to personal loans, you make fixed monthly payments over an agreed to period of time.

Before borrowing other people’s money, however, it’s important to have the full scope of fees that you will incur. Things like egg storage fees, preimplantation genetic testing fees, medications costs and more. You don’t want to commit to anything that’s only half baked.

The takeaway: Financing for fertility treatment is a great and pretty common tool - just make sure you are fully aware of payback expectations.

  • Friends & family

Sure your sister might be saving up for a new car, but would she rather put that money towards a sweet little niece? Our point here is that it’s up for them to decide. You really have no idea what someone else’s priorities may be unless you ask them.

When it comes to asking parents, siblings and even BFFs to chip in for your fertility treatment, things can get uncomfortable. After all, we’ve all heard the warnings to never mix business and friendship. But here’s the thing, this isn’t business - it’s (potentially) a living, breathing soul. Your parents may want to have a grandchild more than anything in the world, even more than that annual spring cruise to Portugal.

Before you make the ask, make sure the person you are talking to is fully aware of your TTC struggle and situation. Then, that GoFundMe email will come as no surprise. Especially around the holiday season,

The takeaway: Never assume that someone will or won’t support you financially when it comes to fertility treatment.

  • Bundle up!

At the time of diagnosis, you’re probably just absorbing the fact that you need IVF and the fact that you will have to inject yourself (!) let alone the possible multiple cycles down the road. However, on average, it takes women about 3 cycles to successfully bring home a baby. (You know this is a very real statistic when you look at all of the companies that bank on this fact.)

Do these companies make money off of multi cycle plans? Yes, of course they do - but so can you! Speak with your doctor of success rates at your fertility clinic for women in your age group specifically. Also, be sure to inquire about the average number of cycles patients went through. This can lend a lot of insight as you whether or not a discount plan might be a good idea for you.

How do they work? In short, by committing to pay for 2 or 3 cycles up front, you receive a significantly discounted rate per cycle. This can result in big savings, but only if you need it and predicting the future, as we all know, can be tough.

The takeaway: Study up on success rates and decide if you would like to pursue a multi-cycle discount plan. Then, search out the best one for you. When making your selection, Customer Service here is key!