Everyone knows having children is expensive, but when you’re considering in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help you conceive the cost of starting a family becomes much bigger, much faster. Naturally, one of the first questions to answer in your IVF journey is how to pay for it.
How can I get help paying for IVF?
Not surprisingly, coming up with the money to pay for IVF is not easy for most couples or individuals wishing to conceive. In fact, the financial burden of IVF is one of the biggest roadblocks to those hoping IVF will help them start a family. In other words, you’re not alone in looking for ways to get help paying for IVF.
One option is to ask friends and family to donate to IVF. Having a baby is about more than a nuclear family—consider asking those closest to you if they are willing to support this journey.
Other options include everything from creating a strict savings and budget plan before starting IVF (though delaying IVF, especially for women aged 40 to 42 or older, can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful cycle) to covering some of the costs with insurance to medical tourism to many other financing options. Here we dig deeper into your IVF financing options.
What is IVF financing?
IVF financing follows the same structure as financing other large purchases you may make, such as a car. Like with a car, there are many IVF financing options—from the more traditional loan or direct financing through fertility clinics to the more creative IVF grants, shared egg donation programs and crowdsourcing.
How much does IVF cost?
IVF can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle, with additional cycles usually costing around $7,000. This estimate does not include fertility medications, which run anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 every cycle, or any other types of IVF technologies.
An IVF cycle refers to the process from ovulation (stimulated by fertility medications) to implantation. A successful cycle is when a pregnancy is carried to term after implantation. Many IVF recipients need multiple cycles before being successful.
Can you get IVF for free?
The healthcare system in the U.S., whether received through the federal government or employer paid, does not cover IVF.
One way you may be able to access from IVF is through a clinical trial. Research groups and pharmaceutical companies often solicit fertility clinics to be part of their trials. Fertility clinics then recruit patients to participate free of charge. It is often easier for women under 40 than those over 40 to get accepted.
Because the treatments are not as well established, you’re success rate with clinical trial IVF may be lower. On the other hand, gaining access to the latest medicine and technology in the IVF space may work to your advantage.
Should You Get an IVF Loan?
Like with any loan you commit to, you should be financially stable enough to make good on the terms of the loan. Take into consideration the costs incurred when the baby arrives—you’re pre-child budget will not match your post—and be sure you are not getting in over your head.
Consider talking to a financial advisor when deciding if you should get an IVF loan. While it might seem odd to go to a numbers person for such as personal and life altering decision, the fact of the matter is finances play a big role in your IVF journey and you should not let emotion push those concerns to the side.
Your best option is to compare the costs associate with an IVF loan against other options. Some IVF loans incur interest rates upwards of 35%, which turns your $10,000-$15,000 IVF bill into something much larger.
Paying for IVF entirely with a loan is not advised. Aim to make your personal savings—cashing in on the tax benefits of heath savings accounts (HSA) and flexible savings account (FSA) as much as possible—as big a part of your IVF financing plan as you can.
Where to Get IVF Loans
IVF loans originate from many sources. Always feel empowered to shop around and compare terms to determine the best option for you.
Medical Provider’s Office
Many medical providers can connect you with IVF financing. Some fertility clinics have in-house financing options, whiles others work directly with financial institutions to provide IVF loans.
Loans originating through your fertility clinic often come with fixed payments repaid over a specific amount of time. Some come with early repayment penalties—ask your provider for these details before signing on the dotted line.
Online Fertility and Personal Loans
If your fertility clinic does not have access to IVF loans, you may connect with lenders directly. There are fertility-specific loans available, but any personal loan will suffice. Personal loans can technically be used for anything, while fertility-specific loans must be used for fertility treatment.
Getting a personal loan is generally pretty easy if you have good credit, and the interest rate is often lower than other loans, sometimes in the single digits. While shopping for a loan it’s good to allow the lender to run your credit to see what your interest rate is. This will not generally affect your overall credit score.
Your Bank or Credit Union
Most banks and credit unions issue personal loans. It’s often quicker and offered at better terms than going through a financial institution you don’t have any history with. You may even get a discount for making payments on the loan through the checking or savings account you already hold with the bank.
Another option offered by some banks and credit unions is called a secured personal loan. A secured person loan uses your savings, CD or money market account as collateral in exchange for a lower interest rate for your personal loan.
It’s important to ensure the financing option from your bank or credit union is authorized to cover fertility treatments. Many institutions allow you to apply online, which can make the process simpler and faster.
IVF financing options with bad credit
Though they may not be as readily available as other IVF financing options, these three solutions are on the table regardless of your credit score.
More recently, nonprofits have begun awarding grants for IVF treatment. Organizations like The Cade Foundation and Fertile Dreams, among others, help families struggling with infertility access IVF.
Shared Egg Donation Programs
Needing to use donor eggs during IVF incurs even more cost than a “basic” IVF cycle. Shared egg donation programs reduce this cost by up to 50 percent. In this program, couples agree to share their donor eggs with 1–2 other families, in turn sharing the cost of the donor eggs.
Your healthcare provider will coordinate the egg retrieval and share the eggs among the recipients. Participating in a shared egg donation program does not affect IVF success rates.
Crowdsourcing—raising funds from a group—is becoming more and more common, now extending into the world of IVF. Crowdsourcing is rooted in the idea that collecting smaller donations from many people is a great way to reach a large fundraising goal.
Funders may be friends and family or simply individuals who get behind your story and want you to succeed. Crowdsourcing platforms, like the popular GoFundMe, generally do not charge an upfront fee, but take a small portion of the money raised.
Does financing cover fertility medication?
Virtually all IVF financing options you choose can be used to cover the cost of fertility medications as they are seen as an integral part of the IVF process. However, some insurance covers certain fertility medications, so check with you provider before paying for this expense with financing.
Does the government pay for IVF?
In the U.S., the government does not pay for any IVF treatments, including as part of benefits for government employees or military personnel. Active duty and veteran military-connected individuals may qualify for IVF loans for military, but the government does not fund these. Certain countries, like England (administered through its National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), are beginning to pay for IVF as part of their universal health care offerings.
Does any insurance pay for IVF?
Generally, insurance does not cover IVF. It may cover some fertility medications and treatments, which may be part of your IVF treatment, but will not cover the whole procedure. It’s best to check with your insurance to see what might be covered. Be sure to note the specific recommendations in your treatment plan in case some portions are covered.
Does Medicaid cover IVF?
Medicaid does not cover any costs of IVF. In fact, no preconception services, including any type of fertility treatments or other reproductive technologies are covered under Medicaid.
Can you make payments on IVF?
Many fertility clinics allow payment plans. Depending on your credit, amount saved for a down payment and total cost of treatment, these plans may be set up as loans (with interest) or simple payment plans (no interest). Getting a no interest payment plan is most likely when you owe a relatively small amount and are expected to pay it within 12 months.
IVF financing reviews
Since so many IVF financing options are coordinated directly through your fertility clinic, it can be difficult to find reputable and readily available IVF financing reviews. One place to go is online message boards where other IVF users have created communities to share advice.
Another way to find the best IVF financing is to simply get quotes from many lenders as you would when buying a home. Compare rates and terms to see what’s right for you.