When you’re trying to get pregnant, excitement is mixed with a swirl of other emotional and financial considerations. While fertility issues are very personal, they are also shared by many other young couples. In fact, about 6 percent of married women of reproductive age in the United States are infertile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are among them, you may be considering your treatment options. Here are things you should know about the cost of treatments, as well as financial strategies to put them in reach.
The average cost of one in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle is $12,400, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Fertility drugs can range between $60 and $6,000 per cycle; artificial insemination costs $865 on average; and surrogacy costs between $50,000 and $100,000, according to Parents magazine.
Health writer Rachel Gurevich recommends talking to your doctor about the likelihood of becoming pregnant through treatments before you seek out a fertility clinic. If you decide to go forward, your obstetrician can provide diagnostic and blood work, and your insurance is likely to cover the costs. Some obstetricians also perform simple artificial insemination services in their offices, but these costs may or may not be covered by insurance.
Though several states have infertility insurance laws that require insurers to cover at least part of infertility diagnosis and treatment, most states do not. “The reality is, most couples will need to find the money themselves,” Gurevich says.
Start with some research
Prices vary among clinics, as do success rates. Call and ask about both. “The lowest price isn't always the best choice,” Gurevich says. “A clinic that has safer practices or higher treatment success may be cheaper in the long run. A clinic that is far from home may have lower costs, but result in significantly more expense due to travel and lost time at work, as IVF treatments take place over several weeks.”
Check into refund programs
Some clinics offer refunds, paying back part of the treatment costs if you don’t conceive within a certain number of treatment cycles. However, if you have a complicated case, you’re less likely to qualify.
Use a flexible spending program
If your employer offers a flexible-spending program, fertility treatments may be included in the approved uses. Ask your employer to learn more.
Talk to would-be grandparents about gifting the treatments
Your parents might consider gifting fertility treatments as an estate planning strategy, according to New Jersey wealth manager Robert Dowling, who was quoted in an August 2012 U.S. News & World Report article. “If someone wanted to reduce their estate and gift it to their child, they could pay that medical bill directly to the facility.”
Consider taking out a loan
“This is complicated,” Gurevich says. “There are no guarantees with infertility treatments.” If you don't have a plan for repayment, she says, don't borrow. Accumulating too much debt can limit other options, such as adoption, which has a higher likelihood of leading to a child, Gurevich says.
Apply for a grant
Several organizations offer a limited number of grants to help infertile couples who can’t afford treatments. RESOLVE, a nonprofit infertility association, has compiled a list of financing programs, which you can find here.