What's the Best Way to Pay for Fertility Treatments?

MarketsMotley Fool

Fertility treatments are often costly and may not always be covered by insurance. Explore some options for paying for care costs.

Image source: Getty Images.

Continue Reading Below

Infertility is an incredibly common problem in the United States, with approximately 10% to 15% of couples experiencing challenges in conceiving and carrying a child to term. Unfortunately, although infertility is common, many types of medical insurance provide limited or no coverage for infertility. This is a big problem because fertility treatments can be very expensive.

According to the Journal of Fertilization, intrauterine insemination (IUI) could cost around $500 to $1,500 per cycle, and this is typically considered to be an “inexpensive” form of fertility treatment. The more invasive, and more effective, in vitro fertilization (IVF) carries a price tag of around $12,400 on average inclusive of medications. Many people need multiple IUI and IVF cycles before they can conceive.

If you are one of the many people struggling to have a baby, figuring out how to pay for the costs of your fertility care can be a major challenge. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goal to start a family. Here are some of your options for trying to get your fertility costs covered.

Ask about clinic financing

Many fertility clinics are aware of the high financial burden that infertility treatments place on couples. In fact, it is common for larger fertility clinics to have financial counselors on staff to provide assistance to patients in finding ways to cover care costs.

Some fertility clinics will offer financial assistance if your income is below a certain threshold, while others either offer in-house payment plans or have partnered with financing companies to make it easier to get a loan for fertility treatments. While you’ll need to make sure interest rates and terms are competitive if you take this approach, you can simplify the process of securing financing by getting funding through the clinic performing your fertility treatments.

Fertility clinics are also increasingly offering shared risk programs, which allow you to pay a higher upfront rate in exchange for the guarantee of multiple cycles of treatment and at least a partial refund at the end of the process if you don’t have a baby.

For example, Shady Grove Fertility, which provides treatments in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and several other states, allows you to pay a flat fee for as many as six IVF or donor egg cycles as well as additional frozen egg transfers. Couples who don’t take home a baby after these six cycles are fully refunded their money, minus medication costs.

While shared risk programs will cost you more if you get pregnant your first time, they also make multiple cycles much more affordable.

Consider getting help from family

If you can’t afford to pay out of pocket for fertility care, your family members may be willing to provide you with a no-interest loan or may be willing to even share the costs associated with fertility treatments.

Asking family members for funds for fertility treatments can be difficult. You may not want to discuss your challenges conceiving, or you may feel your family will not understand your desired treatment plan. In many cases, however, close family members are eager and excited to provide financial help in your efforts to start a family.

If you seek family help, you should be clear up front that there’s no guarantees of success in fertility treatments. You should also make sure everyone is on the same page regarding whether the money is a gift or a loan.

Use a personal loan

Charging fertility treatments on a credit card is often a bad idea because the costs of these treatments are so high and credit cards typically have relatively high interest rates. While you may be able to qualify for a card with a 0% promotional APR, chances are good that you won’t be able to pay off the balance in full by the time the promotional rate expires. This could leave you owing a lot of money when your interest rate jumps up.

A personal loan, on the other hand, typically has a lower rate than a credit card. It also has a fixed repayment schedule so there’s no question about exactly when you will be debt free. Many personal loan lenders allow you to borrow $50,000 or more, so you should be able to afford the treatments you need -- even if you decide to pay more up front for a shared risk program.

You’ll need good credit, proof of income, and not too much other debt in order to obtain a personal loan. If you can’t qualify on your own, you could potentially ask someone you trust to cosign for you. You don’t have to limit yourself to looking for specific fertility loans either -- you can use personal loan funds for anything you want, so you can shop around among many different lenders to find an affordable loan for your treatment.

What’s the best way for you to pay for fertility treatment?

If you have health insurance then ideally your insurer will cover at least some of your testing as well as some of your fertility treatments. Many insurers, for example, will cover at least one IUI. If you have access to health insurance that provides fertility coverage, this is the most affordable way to pay for care. If you’re shopping for your own insurance coverage and know you may need help conceiving in the future, try to look for a plan that provides the maximum coverage possible for fertility treatments.

If you don’t have fertility coverage, you’ll need to decide what’s right for you. When asking family for help isn’t an option, compare clinic financing with the costs of a personal loan to find the most affordable source of funding. Be sure to compare rates, fees, and terms so you can get the best overall deal on your loan and find a loan you can afford so your dreams of having a family can come true.