I’m in my mid-thirties, and when I look around, I see all my friends struggling with the same issue – we waited too long to have kids, and now we have to make some tough choices about infertility. Most of this comes at a time when almost 50% of women are the breadwinners in marriages and partnerships and are having to make decisions about focusing on their careers or starting a family.
Infertility is a very real subject for many women and fraught with what can seem like an endless array of unpleasant decisions. When you’re young and dreaming of your future, the idea of spending a near fortune trying to have a baby somehow naturally never enters into that fantasy dream. It’s an unfair position to be in, but one that many women find themselves facing.
Some women decide to freeze their eggs while they wait for their future spouse or partner to start a family with. Some women decide to adopt and leave traditional childbirth alone altogether. Some women decide to go the equally costly, as well as physically demanding, route of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to try to have a child as naturally as possible.
IVF can take a toll on your wallet and leave your savings demolished; although costs can vary, currently the average cost for one round of IVF is $12,400. If you are living in an area where there are very few infertility treatment clinics, it's entirely possible that you might spend more money on the procedure than someone living in a large metro area.
But while most think you have to pay out of your own pocket for IVF, there are three exciting alternatives to help you cover the costs so you can start your family without going broke.
The state of infertility
Speaking of where you live, did you know that the state you live in can have a profound impact on the cost you pay for IVF and infertility treatments?
Currently, 15 states mandate some form of infertility coverage. Each of those states varies wildly in what they offer regarding infertility. The five states that have the highest rated infertility coverage include Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, according to the Resolve Fertility Scorecard. Be sure to check it out and see what the state you live in offers regarding IVF and infertility coverage. Here are some examples:
- Illinois - With over 57 fertility specialists, Illinois is one of the top-ranked states for IVF coverage. For employers with 25 employees or more, they provide up to 4 IVF egg retrievals with your standard health care coverage.
- Massachusetts - With 37 fertility specialists in the state, MA provides no current maximum amount of IVF cycles, which is a huge plus to future parents.
- Maryland - With 35 fertility specialists in the state, Maryland’s regulations state that employers with 50 employees or more can provide up to 3 IVF cycles at a max of $100,000 total after a 2-year year wait.
It's safe to say that if you live in one of the states that have aggressive fertility offers, you can save a bundle on this costly service.
I’ll take a loan, please
You can get a loan for most anything in life, so it only seems fitting that you can also get a loan for your IVF costs. There aren't many people who have a spare $12,000 lying around in a bank account, so a loan can provide those much-needed funds.
CapexMD offers IVF loans with no prepayment penalty. They have many different payment plans based on your credit score and the amount you are borrowing. For example, a $15,000 loan with a 3-year payback period would cost anywhere from $477-$520 a month to repay.
Prosper Healthcare Lending is another popular choice for IVF loans. With Prosper, you can borrow up to $35,000, and they also offer an array of payment plans based on your credit score.
If you’d rather go the traditional loan route, companies like SoFi, Lending Club, and Discover Personal Loans all offer attractive financing that you can use for IVF costs. These companies all offer loan periods ranging from three to seven years and low attractive fixed rates depending on your credit score.
Grant me the money
If you can qualify, grants are an excellent way to receive help with funding your IVF costs. Most people are familiar with college loan grants, but grants are also famous for helping to fund the cost of infertility as well as adoption costs. There are some nonprofit foundations and organizations ranging in size that provide IVF loans for families.
Baby Quest is a non-profit organization that grants loans for all sorts of infertility treatments, including IVF, to heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, and singles. The requirements to apply are fairly straightforward. You need to have tried for 12 months without assistance before applying for one of their grants. Grants are awarded two times per year, and you must submit an application to be considered.
Pay It Forward is an organization that offers grants only for IVF procedures. The grant amounts vary depending on the applicant, and they often grant partial grant amounts as well. If applying, the female must be under 40 years old to receive consideration for the Pay It Forward Grant.
It’s true that the grant process can be long and tiresome and full of paperwork to complete. However, it’s one of the best ways to receive funding for IVF and infertility because a grant doesn’t need to be repaid. Often, couples will apply for a grant and combine that with a Fertility Loan to round out the additional funds needed.
Infertility is something that can happen to any woman, no matter your age. It's selective, and often you don't realize that you suffer from infertility until you are trying to start a family, which makes for a cruel twist of fate.
When the conversation of expensive treatment options begins with your doctor, it can seem daunting to make the right financial choice for your family. While not everything boils down to finances, the stark reality is that many of us are juggling mounds of student and credit card debt as is. With these three payment options, however, it's easier than ever to create a plan to pay for your IVF costs so you don't sacrifice your financial future while you pursue your dream of having a baby.
Photo: Thomas van Ardenne