How to Afford IVF: Pros and Cons of IVF financing Options

Once you’ve decided on IVF and committed to being treated, the next big step is to figure out how to pay for it. You do have IVF financing options. The simplest option is to pay out of pocket, but it is not always the easiest.

If you have the ability to pay cash for treatment, you have more options and can choose your clinic freely. In light of the reality that many people cannot afford to pay all of the costs out of pocket, here are the IVF financing options available in USA.

If you’ve been wondering how to afford IVF, consider the following  IVF financing options that many people have used:

  1. Clinic payment plans
  2. Loans or borrowed money
  3. Health insurance
  4. Fundraising/Crowdsourcing
  5. Fertility grants
  6. Health Savings Plans
  7. Retirement Funds
  8. Traveling to Distant, Lower-Cost Fertility Clinics

Read about the pros and cons of each of the options below. Also, keep in mind that you can combine them if needed.

Clinic Payment Plans

Many fertility clinics offer a variety of payment arrangements that you can choose from. This particular IVF financing option works best for people who can pay for the treatment out of pocket, even if it means paying a little bit at a time.

Usually, these payment plans charge no additional interest while acting like loans. You may have to put some money upfront, and you may need good credit in order to take advantage of them. Still, for many couples, this kind of arrangement works as long as you can afford an additional monthly payment.

In addition to the convenience of spreading the payments over several months, many of the payment plans save you money through bundled services, or by offering a refund program. An IVF refund program covers people who meet certain criteria, by providing a refund up to a certain amount, if the treatment isn’t successful.

Pros:

  • Usually interest-free
  • Easy to apply for
  • Pay over time

Cons:

  • Additional monthly bill to pay
  • Requires good credit/you have to qualify

Loans or borrowed money

If you don’t have the money upfront to pay for IVF, and your clinic doesn’t offer or accept fertility treatment plans, you can still figure out how to afford IVF. Consider taking out a personal loan or borrowing money from family or friends.

Like fertility payment plans, bank loans require excellent credit as well as a form of collateral, usually. You may need to use something like a fully owned vehicle or other asset as collateral on the loan. This ensures the bank that you will pay the loan back.

If you borrow from family or friends, you probably won’t need collateral. But it may be uncomfortable to ask them. That’s one downside.

Borrowing money doesn’t always feel good. It requires some courage, and a lot of risk. And keep in mind that treatment isn’t always successful, and if you’re left with a lot of debt – and no baby – paying back that debt hurts emotionally and financially.

Pros:

  • Provides the money to pay for IVF

Cons:

  • Difficult to get
  • Potentially high interest rates

If you can qualify, you can use a fertility loan to finance the cost of your IVF and in doing so, relieve a lot of the headache that comes with trying find money. You’ll have a single payment due each month and you’ll know in advance what it is.

Here are some examples of companies offering fertility loans in USA:

Additionally, your clinic likely has a list of different financing companies that work with them to loan you the money to pay the IVF cost.

Make sure to fully vet the companies and ensure they are good IVF financing options for you and your financial situation.

You can also choose to go a different route and get a personal loan from your bank, or a credit line on your home. Often, if your credit history is good and you have home equity, you can qualify for a credit line using your house as collateral for payment. If you don’t own a home, you may be able to get a credit card with a large credit line. Or, some banks will give you a personal loan that you can use for anything you want, so long as you make the payments.

Health Insurance

Health insurance plans vary from carrier to carrier. Many offer some amount of coverage for infertility treatments.

If you live in one of the following 15 states, your current health insurance plan likely already covers infertility treatment: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia. You can find out exactly how much coverage you have by just talking to your carrier, or, you can check out the RESOLVE website to find out how much coverage you should have, by law, in your state.

When it comes to determining how to afford IVF with insurance, keep in mind that many plans cover only some parts, but not all. However, you can still take advantage of whatever coverage you can get, and then use one of the other IVF financing payment options to fill in the gap.

What do plans typically cover? Some cover just the cost of diagnostic tests, and some cover limited treatment plus diagnostic tests. If you’re lucky, your plan will cover all costs (usually excluding medication). In some cases, a plan may only cover medication and nothing more.

Lastly, keep in mind that your fertility clinic may or may not accept your health plan. You will need to meet with them to go over that.

Pros:

  • Lower or no out of pocket costs
  • Some plans cover most of the cost of treatment

Cons:

  • Some plans cover only part of the cost
  • Plans may not be accepted by your provider

Fundraising or Crowdfunding

Friends and family can donate to your fertility treatments easily with a crowdfunding site. It involves sharing your story and asking for financial help. Couples seeking help with adoption funds commonly use sites like these, and they are becoming more popular for IVF financing every year.

Sites like YouCaring and GoFundMe are very popular options. Both sites will allow you to raise funds with minimal fees paid back to the companies.

One Orange County, Ca couple named Chad and Hillary Blake have raised over $40,000 using crowdfunding to pay for their IVF journey.

over $40,000 using crowdfunding to pay for their IVF journey

People who get help sharing their crowdfunding request all over social media tend to raise more money. If you go this route, you’ll get the opportunity to post pictures of your journey and tell people your story, which may encourage them to provide more support.

Not everyone will enjoy crowdfunding for IVF. You’ll have to be slightly open about your journey and willing to reveal the fact that you’re trying to conceive through IVF. If that is too much or requires too much personal sharing, it might not be the best option for you. There is always a chance that IVF may fail, and many couples are not comfortable with a a public infertility struggle.

Still, for couples and individuals that are surrounded by encouraging family and friends, crowdfunding may be a good way to not only raise the funds to cover any IVF cost, but also the costs associated with a newborn and the pregnancy journey.
Pros:

  • No need to repay the money
  • Flexibility in how the money can be used
  • Money comes directly to you
  • Potential to raise over and above what’s needed

Cons:

  • Requires vulnerability, transparency, and courage
  • Crowdfunding sites are competitive

Fertility Grants

Yes, you can apply for an actual grant to help cover some or all of your IVF treatment! People prefer grants to many other types of IVF financing options for the following reasons:

  • Privacy – You won’t have to share your infertility story with friends or family, or be transparent during this sensitive experience.
  • Free – Grants cost you nothing but some time. You’ll have to apply and follow all of the application requirements

Unlike loans, you don’t have to pay back a grant. Usually, these grants come from private donors, trusts, or funds specifically created for people undergoing fertility treatment. An example of a fertility grant is the Savannah Grant by the Cade Foundation. The Cade Foundation established this grant in memory of a baby born through fertility treatment who died suddenly in 2010. Since 2011, the foundation provides one annual grant of $10,000. That specific grant applies to those who undergo fertility treatment at Shady Grove Fertility clinics.

Other grants include the Cade Foundation grant ($10,000 with no fertility clinic restrictions), the ACG Scholarship Foundation, the BabyQuest Foundation, and the Family Formation Charitable Trust.

Pros:

  • No need to repay
  • Designed specifically to help grow families

Cons:

  • Application process
  • Limited funding
  • Competitive

Health Savings Plans

If you have a health savings plan through your employer, you can use it to help pay for some of the IVF cost in USA. One big benefit of using an HSA is that you can plan for it – with an HSA and several months of planning and saving, you may be able to adequately pay for some IVF costs.

The downside, of course, is that if your fertility specialist advises you to begin IVF treatment immediately, an HSA might not be an IVF financing option for you. With an HSA, you and your employer contribute money that can be used tax free for medical expenses. Typically, you pay directly into the plan from your paycheck. HSA administrators will usually issue a payment card that can be used just like a credit card in a doctor’s office or pharmacy.

This IVF financing option is ideal for couples who have had some time to prepare and put away money into an HSA for this purpose.

Your HSA contributions are limited by the IRS, however, so keep that in mind when planning. Currently, the family contribution limit for HSAs is $6,750. That is not enough to cover most of the IVF cost, but it is money that you won’t have to take out in a loan.

Retirement Funds

By definition, retirement funds pay for retirement costs, not fertility treatment. But in a pinch, you may be able to take out a qualified distribution in order to fund the growth of your family.

You may not quality for a “hardship withdrawal,” but if your employer’s plan allows, you may be able to borrow from your 401K for pay for IVF treatment. Just like any other loan, there are stipulations, rules, and you have to pay it back. Still, it’s not uncommon for people to borrow from 401Ks and other retirement funds for this purpose.

One woman on a message board explained how she used 401K funds to partially cover the IVF cost:

“I borrowed from my 401k, $8500 the interest is only 3.5% and it comes out of my paycheck bi-weekly and took out a loan for $5k.”

Like other IVF financing options, there are pros and cons to using your 401K funds. If you withdraw the funds rather than borrowing them, you’ll retire with less money. If you borrow them, you may still retire with less money AND you have to pay the money back – regardless of whether or not you remain employed. Unfortunately, if IVF fails, you still owe the money back to your retirement fund.

Carefully consider the implications of borrowing or withdrawing retirement funds to pay for IVF.

Traveling to Distant, Lower-Cost Fertility Clinics

If any of the above IVF financing options aren’t feasible for you, consider shopping around for lower-cost clinics. Keep in mind that individual clinics and doctors set the IVF cost. The costs are not standard. That means that some doctors and clinics will choose to lower the cost of treatment for one reason or another.

If you live in an area that has a high demand for IVF services, it’s logical that the fertility clinics there will be in higher demand and may charge more. Or, if the clinics near you have very high or unusually high success rates, the IVF costs at that clinic may be higher than normal.

But if you can manage to try a clinic further away, or one with a lower success rate, you could save money. Most people do not want to sacrifice success rates but are willing to take time off work to go to a clinic in another state.

Some people have even begun traveling out of the US for cheaper fertility treatment. If you do your research and choose high quality, safe treatment centers, you may save on costs, even with the cost of travel.

Samples of clinics IVF financing options in USA

San Diego Fertility Center (San Diego, CA) IVF financing options

  • Flexible Financing Plans
  • CapexMD
  • Prosper Health Lending
  • Fertility LifeLines
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Discount IVF Cycle Packages
  • Third Party Global Packages

Read more: San Diego Fertility Center (San Diego, CA)

Santa Monica Fertility (Santa Monica, CA) IVF financing options

  • Lending Club Patient Solution
  • United Medical Credit
  • Prosper Healthcare Lending

Read more:Santa Monica Fertility (Santa Monica, CA)

Midwest Fertility Center (Downers Grove, IL) IVF financing options

  • IVF Fee Reimbursement Program
  • Pre-Paid Packages
  • The Lending Club
  • Credit Cards
  • Special Programs
  • Basic IVF Cash Package
  • Slide to Success Program

Read more:Midwest Fertility Center (Downers Grove, IL)

IVF1 (Naperville, IL) IVF financing options

  • Infertility Insurance
  • Prosper Healthcare Lending
  • Charitable Programs: SoldierCryo and SoldierCare
  • CryoFertility
  • The Chai Initiative

Read more: IVF1 (Naperville, IL)

Institute for Reproductive Health (Cincinnati, OH) IVF financing options

  • IRH 70% Money Back Program
  • IVF Loan Companies:Arc Fertility CapexMD Compassionate Care First StepsIVF Greenlight

Read more:Institute for Reproductive Health (Cincinnati, OH)

Ohio Reproductive Medicine (Columbus, OH) IVF financing options

  • The Cade Foundation’s Family Building Grant
  • Baby Quest Foundation
  • Pay It Forward Fertility Foundation
  • Parenthood For Me Grants
  • The Sam Fund
  • Gordon Gift Of Life

Read more: Ohio Reproductive Medicine (Columbus, OH)

Dallas IVF (Frisco, TX) IVF financing options

  • Financial Discount Programs
  • Prosper Healthcare Lending
  • Compassionate Care Programs
  • First Steps Program

Read more: Dallas IVF (Frisco, TX)

Utah Fertility Center (Pleasant Grove, UT) IVF financing options

Attainfertility Programs

  • 2+ Refund
  • 3+ Refund
  • Multicycle core program

Other financing options includes getting fertility financing from:

  • CapexMD
  • Prosper Healthcare Lending
  • Lending Club Patient Solutions

Read more: Utah Fertility Center (Pleasant Grove, UT)

Fertility Center of San Antonio (San Antonio, TX) IVF financing options

  • Active duty military discount
  • Fireman and policeman discount
  • FCSA Package Plan
  • FCSA Refund Plan
  • Monthly Payments Options
  • Out Of Town Monitoring Plan

Read more: Fertility Center of San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)

Summary

You can use some or all of these financing options. To fully cover the cost of your treatment, plus all of the additional costs associated with your treatment, such as travel, you’ll need money to spare. Try and raise as much as you can, and exhaust all of the free/no borrowing options first, before looking at borrowing.

If you do borrow, seek money from friends and family first, and then banks, and then credit card companies. This order is least expensive to most expensive. Borrowing using credit cards should be a last resort, if possible.