Paying for Fertility Treatments

Fertility treatments like IVF and IUI are unfortunately rather expensive. For the ten percent of couples dealing with infertility, the astounding price of fertility treatments may make the dream of parenthood seem out of reach. The average cost for just one cycle of IVF is about $12,400 according to the ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine). IUI, which is not nearly as expensive as IVF, costs around $300-$800 per cycle.

What is the first step in paying for
fertility treatments?


If you are looking at the possibility that you will
need fertility treatments like IVF,
the first place to start would be to research your insurance
coverage. IVF and other infertility procedures are often
not covered by insurance. Some states require insurance
companies to cover infertility treatments. However,
there are only 15 states that currently require infertility
coverage and many of these states have loopholes for
small businesses or companies that self insure. Moreover,
several of the 15 states that require infertility coverage,
do not require IVF to be covered; or if they do, they
limit the amount of IVF cycles.









The following
states require insurance coverage for infertility
treatments:










  • Arkansas

  • California

  • Connecticut

  • Hawaii

  • Illinios


  • Louisiana

  • Maryland

  • Massachusetts

  • Montana

  • New Jersey


  • New York

  • Ohio

  • Rhode Island

  • Texas

  • West Virginia

*For
more information on insurance coverage in
these states see Resolve's Infertility
Coverage in Your State
.

Making fertility treatments affordable


If you are going to need fertility treatments here
are some ideas to keep the costs down:


Shop around: Think of fertility treatments
like you would any other service that you would purchase.
The price of IVF varies from clinic to clinic. Of course,
you don't want to just go with the cheapest fertility
clinic. You should also look into the clinic's success
rate, whether or not they participate with your insurance,
how much experience the doctor has, and if they have
a waiting list for treatment. If you like a clinic but
find that they are charging more than you want to spend,
don't be afraid to ask for a discount. They may not
lower their price, but it never hurts to ask.


It is also a good idea to shop around for medication
prices. Medications contribute to the cost of fertility
treatments. Shopping around for your medications can
help bring the overall cost down. Check out your local
pharmacies, mail-order pharmacies, and also consider
purchasing your prescriptions online. Your doctor's
office may be able to assist you with finding the best
prices on fertility medications, but doing your own
comparison shopping may be the best approach to getting
your prescriptions at the lowest price.


Consider using lower technology treatments:
IVF is usually not the first course of treatment
for infertile couples. Before resorting to IVF, your
doctor may suggest other lower cost fertility treatments
like IUI. IUI
may be a good option for couples with certain fertility
issues like low sperm count, endometriosis,
or unexplained infertility. IUI does not have the same
success rate as IVF though. Sometimes couples attempting
to save money on fertility treatments end up spending
more money on IUI cycles than they would have if they
had went straight to IVF because the IUI treatments
are unsuccessful and they end up needing IVF anyway.
You should discuss your options with your doctor and
find out which fertility treatment makes the most sense
for you and your particular fertility issues.


Another way to lower the cost of IVF is to use a less
expensive method of IVF called natural cycle IVF. When
fertility clinics first started performing IVF they
did not use fertility medications to stimulate egg production.
Stimulated IVF cycles became the norm because of obvious
reasons. Stimulating a woman to produce more eggs, called
superovulation, resulted in more embryos and therefore
a higher rate of success. Superovulation increases the
success rate, but it also makes IVF more expensive.
To lower the cost of IVF, you can discuss with your
doctor the option of having a natural IVF cycle or an
unstimulated cycle. There are disadvantages with this
method so talk to your doctor about what is best for
you and your particular fertility issues.


Look into shared risk programs or refund programs:
Many fertility clinics offer a refund program
or shared risk program. The way these programs work
is that the couple pays for a certain number of cycles
up front. In exchange, they receive a guarantee that
they will either get pregnant or receive a refund if
they do not conceive during the cycles that they paid
for. There is typically a required non refundable fee
for these programs and you may be restricted from participating
if you are over 37, if you have certain fertility issues,
or if you have had unsuccessful IVF procedures in the
past. The advantage of using a shared risk program is
knowing that if your treatment is unsuccessful, you
will be able to get a refund on most, or possibly all,
of the money that was spent on the procedures. The drawback
to these programs is that if you do get pregnant during
your first or second IVF cycle, you will not get a refund
for the remaining prepaid cycles.


Consider “egg sharing”:
Some fertility clinics offer discounts or free IVF cycles
to women who are willing to donate any remaining eggs
that are not used during IVF. You may have to meet certain
egg donor criteria, such as being under age 35, to be
eligible.


Take an IVF vacation: Some couples
are opting to take drastic measures to keep the cost
of IVF down. Reproductive tourism is a new industry
that is attracting American couples looking for more
affordable options for IVF. Some couples are traveling
to India, the Ukraine, or even South Africa to get IVF
because the costs are so much lower there. For example,
in India you can have a complete IVF cycle done for
only $3000. Before making the decision to leave the
country, you should learn more about the clinic and
their success rate. You also need to determine how much
you will need for travel expenses. If the clinic's success
rate is lower, it may end up actually costing you more
when you factor in travel expenses and the amount of
time you will need to take off from work to travel abroad,
especially if you end up needing to have more than one
IVF cycle.


Get an IVF loan: There are several
companies that specialize in loans specifically for
IVF. Capital One has a loan program for IVF and other
fertility treatments. Other IVF loan programs include
IntregraMed
Financial Services
, the ARC
Fertility Program
, and Care
Credit.


Apply for a grant or scholarship:
There are a few programs that provide grants or scholarships
for infertile couples. For more information on IVF scholarships
and grants you can visit www.inciid.org
or cadefoundation.org.


Use IVF as a tax deduction: Medical
procedures like IVF can be deducted from your taxes
if your expenses total more than 7.5% of your adjusted
gross income. Any medical or dental expenses over the
7.5% can be itemized on your tax return.

*See the
IRS publication 502
for more information.