In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a revolutionary medical treatment that involves sperm fertilizing an egg outside of the body, usually in a laboratory. Since fertility treatments are typically not covered by health insurance, hopeful parents end up with expensive bills.
In this guide, we will go over the different financing strategies and loans for IVF processes. Knowing the pros and cons of each available option, such as personal loans which may offer more flexible repayment terms, can help you perform an effective cost-benefit analysis.
The real cost of IVF
IVF costs around $12,000 nationwide. However, this average only includes the basic cost of a single IVF cycle. In actuality, the IVF process can be significantly more expensive, going over $30,000. Here is a breakdown of expenses to expect.
Basic IVF fee
The average quote of the base fee of IVF from $12,000 to $14,000. For many clinics, this fee covers:
- Egg retrieval
- Sperm collection
- Embryo culture and transfer
- Monitoring appointments
There are various medications that might be necessary before and during the IVF process. These can cost several thousand dollars. Medications are designed for various IVF purposes, such as hormone injections.
Some people opt to do minimal stimulation cycle IVF, also referred to as mini IVF. This reduces the number of medications taken during the IVF process, resulting in potentially lower costs.
Before starting IVF, there is typically a series of tests that you will need to undergo. Example tests include:
- Blood work
- Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT)
- Frozen embryo transfer
A PGT screening can add around $4,000 to the bill. While expensive, the PGT screening is meant to detect any genetic abnormalities and can be an essential part of IVF.
Embryo storage costs around $400 a year. Some clinics will provide up to one year of free storage that is included in their base fee.
Embryo cryopreservation costs between $1,000 to $2,000.
Additional treatments or supplementary procedures
Other than the basic costs of IVF, you might need to pay for extra treatments and procedures. This can range from an extra hundred to many thousands of dollars. Since IVF doesn’t guarantee successful results, you might need to do more than one cycle of IVF. It is not uncommon to pay for numerous IVF cycles.
If a donor and/or surrogate is involved, you would need to pay additional legal fees for drafting and finalizing the contracts. The cost will depend on your arrangements and attorney rates.
Medical insurance and IVF
Medical insurance covers medically necessary procedures. Whether your insurance covers IVF can vary greatly on your insurance provider, policy details, and location.
What parts of IVF are covered?
Many health insurance policies will cover the initial testing for determining the cause of infertility. Diagnostic testing may include ultrasounds, bloodwork, and other assessments of fertility and reproductive health.
Most fertility treatments are not covered. If you have comprehensive health insurance coverage, your policy may cover IVF costs.
Your insurance plan may cover certain prescription medication costs, such as the medications for ovarian stimulation.
Some states have passed laws that affect IVF insurance coverage. Make sure you check your state laws to see what parts of IVF are legally required to be covered by insurance.
How to work with insurance providers
Working with insurers can be tricky, especially if you’re looking to file a claim for IVF bills. Here are a few tips to make your interactions with insurance providers smoother.
- Review your policy for IVF-specific exclusions
- Contact your insurer to ask about IVF coverage limitations or requirements
- Document all your phone calls, emails, and letters with your insurer in case you need to dispute a claim
- Consider appealing a denied claim if you know you have a legitimate IVF claim
- Consult an expert or attorney for guidance in navigating IVF insurance coverage
Financing options for IVF
The most straightforward method to finance an IVF process is to use your individual savings. The advantage is that you won’t need to take out a loan, withdraw from your retirement account, or go through other financing methods. However, IVF can drain your personal savings, resulting in a need for tighter budgeting, potential financial instability, and other risks.
A medical loan is a personal loan specifically designed to meet borrowers’ medical needs. Some medical loans do cover fertility treatments, including IVF, fertility drugs, reproductive surgery, surrogacy, and more. Before taking out a medical loan, it’s a good idea to check whether the medical loan provider allows you to use the funds for your specific desired procedures and costs.
Home equity loans
A home equity loan lets you borrow against your existing property’s equity. For borrowers seeking lower interest rates and potential tax deductions, a home equity loan may be worth it.
However, the huge risk associated with home equity loans is that your home would be put on the line. If you default on the loan, the lender can repossess your property, seizing your home.
Credit cards can be used in a pinch if you need urgent and convenient IVF financing. You can use credit to pay a bill that exceeds your savings on hand.
However, beware that credit cards typically come with high interest rates. If you can’t pay down the balance, it’s easy to spiral into credit card debt with rapidly accumulating interest. In addition, having a high credit utilization ratio and maxing out your credit cards can damage your credit score significantly.
You can borrow from your 401(k) or IRA retirement accounts, but this method is often considered a last resort. Withdrawing money from your retirement funds can hurt your financial stability later down the line.
Personal loans are a flexible way to finance IVF. Online lending and loan comparison platforms have made personal loans accessible and convenient. With a personal loan, you can borrow the amount you need and spread out the costs of IVF over a long period of time.
If you have a good credit score, you can obtain a personal loan with competitive interest rates, allowing you to save money in the long run compared to other types of financing methods.
IVF loans: what you need to know
One type of financing method to consider is taking out an IVF-specific loan. These loan funds can only be used for approved IVF-related expenses.
Benefits of IVF loans
Timely treatment: An IVF loan can be convenient in helping you quickly fund the IVF process so that you can get started with the fertility treatment. Since age can affect IVF outcomes, fast financing could make a meaningful difference if you can’t otherwise afford the process.
Flexible coverage of expenses: An IVF loan can cover numerous IVF needs, such as the diagnostic tests, multiple treatment cycles, medications, and additional fertility treatment costs.
Accessible financing: With how expensive IVF can be, many individuals and couples find it difficult to afford the upfront costs of treatment cycles. With an IVF loan, you can avoid the massive upfront bills, allowing you to pursue your long-term goals.
Tailored repayment plans: Many IVF loan providers offer flexible repayment terms. Make sure you select the schedule and loan terms that align best with your budget, repayment capacity, and goals.
Eligibility and application process
Lenders evaluate two main aspects of prospective borrowers when making loan decisions: financial stability and creditworthiness. The common factors that lenders take into account include:
- Credit score
- Credit history length
- Existing debt obligations
- Whether you have defaulted on a loan before
- Credit utilization ratio
- If you have a good relationship with the creditor already
- Loan purpose
- Desired loan amount
Tips for comparing interest rates and terms
The interest rate directly impacts your cost of borrowing. If you have a high credit score, it becomes easier to find a loan with favorable terms and low interest rates.
To save money on taking out a loan, it’s advisable to compare loan terms and shop around for the lender most suitable for your needs. A quick way to compare the cost of borrowing is to look at the annual percentage rate (APR). The APR is how much you can expect to pay in a year for taking out the loan. This percentage includes:
- Discount points
- Lender fees (e.g. origination fee, processing fees)
In addition, it’s also a good idea to review the following:
- Late payment fees
- Prepayment penalties
- Lender reputation
- Loan tenure
Remember, an IVF loan with the lowest interest rate might not necessarily suit your personal needs and goals the best. Consider the loan as a whole to get a comprehensive look into whether it is the optimal financing strategy for your IVF process.
Payment plans offered by clinics
Many IVF clinics offer in-house payment plans. These are incredibly convenient because you can access them directly from the clinic that is performing IVF for you. However, the interest rates may be higher than other financing methods, which can raise the overall cost of IVF in the long term for you. It’s often a good idea to look into other financing methods before committing to the clinic’s payment plans.
Grants and scholarships for IVF
Some organizations, charities, and programs offer fertility treatment scholarships and grants for IVF.
- Your financial needs
- Personal statement, including your fertility journey and why you need IVF
- Medical diagnosis of infertility
- U.S. citizenship or residency
- Previous treatment history
To apply for an IVF grant or program, you will first need to research organizations that provide fertility treatment scholarships and grants that you may be eligible for. Prepare a personal statement talking about your journey and gather all the required documentation. Submit your application, ensuring you meet any specified deadlines.
If you’re awarded the grant, take care to follow the acceptance and fund usage guidelines. In the meantime, explore other financing avenues to increase your chances of a successful IVF process.
Key considerations before opting for IVF financing
Choosing your method of IVF financing is an important decision that can have lasting financial impact. Here are some key points to consider before choosing your financing strategy.
Assess your personal financial health
If you take out any sort of loan for your IVF process, you will need to repay that debt over time. It’s a good idea to evaluate your repayment capacity, which is based on various factors such as:
- Your income
- Monthly budget
- Existing debt and financial obligations
- How child-rearing will impact your future finances
If you aren’t sure you can make the monthly loan installments on time, carefully consider whether an IVF loan is right for you at the moment.
Research the various options available to you
There are many kinds of IVF financing, and within each type, there are different options. For example, if you’re choosing a personal or medical loan for IVF, make sure you compare loan offers to secure the optimal rates and terms.
Consider how future child-rearing will change your life
Taking care of a child means paying for additional child-related expenses. This can significantly change your budget, repayment capacity, and income.
Preparing for financial uncertainties
IVF success rates can vary greatly depending on your individual circumstances and factors, such as age, biological factors, embryo quality, lifestyle habits, and medical history. Because of the unpredictability associated with IVF, it’s advisable to prepare for financial uncertainties.
Budget for multiple treatment cycles
Many potential parents are advised to budget for multiple IVF treatment cycles. This is because there is no guarantee that the first cycle will be successful.
Consider alternatives if IVF is not successful
It is understandable to be frustrated if there are no successful outcomes. If IVF isn’t working for you, it might be time to consider alternatives. There are other fertility and child-rearing options that may be worth exploring.
There are many types of financing avenues for IVF. With careful financial planning and budgeting, you can increase your chances of favorable IVF financing outcomes.
One of the more flexible and accessible financing methods is to take out a personal loan for IVF. The main benefits of a personal loan for IVF are:
- Fast funding for timely fertility testing and IVF procedures
- Flexible repayment terms
- Accessible financing with relatively low interest rates
Resources and further reading
If you opt for a personal loan to fund your IVF process, make sure you research loan provider options to find a suitable lender with good rates. Here are a few reputable lenders to get you started.
Personal Loans Company Reviews
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