“Don’t expect everyone to understand your journey, especially if they’ve never had to walk your path.”Anonymous
In vitro fertilization or IVF treatment as it’s more commonly called, is a method of assisted reproduction in which a woman’s eggs are fertilized by a man’s sperm outside of the body in a medical laboratory. After an embryo or embryos form, a physician places it in the uterus, and (hopefully) pregnancy occurs. Given that one in eight couples suffer from infertility and more LGBTQ+ individuals want to raise children, IVF has become a household name in the fertility world. Though the procedure is expensive and only used by approximately 5% of US couples, a staggering 8 million IVF babies have been born worldwide since 1978.
IVF success depends on several factors, including the cause of infertility and the age of both the female and male participants. According to the CDC of assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures, IVF accounts for 99% of performed procedures. On average, pregnancy was achieved in nearly 30% of IVF cycles. Even with its growing popularity amongst infertile and LGBTQ+ individuals and couples, IVF remains a complicated and costly process with no guarantee of pregnancy. Keep reading to learn more about the process, the costs, and the options for financing the treatment.
IVF Process & Costs
From start to finish the IVF treatment process takes approximately four to six weeks. During that time, there are many moving parts, however, for simplicity, we’ve broken it down into five main steps:
- Boost egg production through superovulation
- Remove the eggs
- Collect sperm from a partner or a donor
- Combine sperm and eggs
- Transfer the embryo(s) into the uterus
On average, IVF costs around $12,000; however, there are often additional costs to improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy or to receive donor material. Things like genetic testing, embryo freezing, egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation, surrogacy, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can add thousands of dollars to the final bill. Here is a breakdown of potential “extra” costs:
- ICSI – Up to $2,500
- Genetic testing – Up to $7,500
- Embryo freezing & storage – Up to $40,000
- Egg donor – Up to $40,000 per cycle
- Sperm donor – Up to $15,000 per cycle
- Embryo donation – Up to $15,000
- Gestational surrogacy – Up to $150,000
Paying For IVF Treatment
Today, most fertility clinics offer payment programs to help make IVF treatment more affordable. Before committing to a clinic, you should shop around, both for pricing and clinic success rates. Some of the most common ways to finance IVF include credit cards or personal loans, borrowing from family members, crowdfunding, using retirement accounts, using FSA or HSA funds, insurance, and applying for grant money. Of these options health insurance, independent financing, crowdsourcing, and grant programs are the best options for avoiding fees, penalties, and excessive debt.
Health Insurance – Unfortunately, in most states, the law does not require health insurance companies to include fertility coverage. However, 17 states—Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia require insurers to offer some level of fertility coverage. As businesses become increasingly progressive, you may also consider petitioning your company to add fertility treatment to their health plan. Large corporations like Facebook, Bank of America, Pinterest, and Spotify offer unlimited fertility coverage.
Independent Financing – Most fertility clinics offer financing programs with better rates than you can get with a personal loan. Plus many centers also offer “refunds” if you do not get pregnant the first time. CNY fertility, for example, offers a 75% refund if all cycles are completed without attaining a live birth. They also have a 5% military discount for veterans. Even with great financing, it’s important to ensure that the monthly payments are comfortable for you and do not cause financial hardships.
Grants – A handful of nonprofit organizations, like The Gift of Parenthood Organization, offer grant money for fertility treatments, which does not need to be paid back. If you’re interested in applying for our grant, click here. Our grants are available four times per year and can be used to cover any expenses associated with assisted reproduction such as IUI, IVF, egg and sperm donation, egg freezing, and surrogacy.
Crowdfunding – If you feel comfortable discussing your infertility publicly, there are several sites such as GoFundMe where you can share your story and ask for donations from friends and family. People enjoy helping others, so make them feel included and invested in your path to parenthood.
No matter how difficult IVF is, keep your eyes on the prize.
“Seeing these 2 pink lines will never get old. 💕 I told Matt not to freak out if it was negative and he looked first (he always does) and said “there’s a clear line.” I didn’t believe him, thought he had line eyes but it was there. 😭 our first beta was 260 and second was 1533.” – @apomishpromise_ivf
Although IVF is expensive and comes with no guarantee of pregnancy, it is still a popular and effective treatment option for hopeful parents. There are several ways to finance the procedure currently and in time, we hope to see more.
Our next grant cycle is now open for applications. The deadline is June 15th. Click to apply.