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Health & Family

Fertility Costs: What They Are and How to Afford Them

Couple consults doctor

The high cost of raising a child in the U.S. is no secret, but for the one in eight couples struggling with infertility, fertility treatment costs can start adding up well before the pregnancy begins. These costs vary widely depending on age, medical history, the type of fertility treatment needed, location, and the number of fertility clinics in your area.

According to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, the average cost of a single IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle using fresh embryos is $8,158—not including medications.[i] IVF is a multistep process (or a cycle), in which eggs are extracted, fertilized with sperm in a lab, then placed in the uterus once the embryos develop to a certain point. The fertility drugs that release the hormones that boost egg production and make the uterus more receptive to embryo implantation can vary from $60 to $6,000 per cycle.[ii]

Not only can fertility treatments like IVF be costly, it may take several rounds of treatment to achieve pregnancy. One study found that after three IVF cycles, success rates increased to 66%.[iii] But three rounds of medication and IVF can add up to tens of thousands of dollars without any guarantee of a successful pregnancy.

There are a number of other costs involved in fertility treatments, too. If you decide to use donor sperm to get pregnant, you can expect to pay an additional $500 per vial. If you’re using donor eggs, that could add an additional $24,000-$25,000 per cycle to your costs. If you opt for a surrogate to carry your pregnancy for you, you could pay as much as $80,000-$100,000.[iv]

Will Insurance Cover Fertility Treatment Costs?

Unfortunately, the biological urgency of fertility treatments doesn’t always allow enough time to save up to cover the cost of their high price tags. Start your journey toward your new family by finding out what, if any, aspect of your fertility treatment is covered by your insurance. Right now, just 15 states require insurance to cover fertility treatments, and not all mandates ensure the same level of coverage of care. Comb through the fine print of your insurance policy and don’t be afraid to call your provider to figure out exactly what they’ll cover.

For example, your plan may cover fertility medications, but only for a specific brand. Or they may cover routine lab work, but only for designated labs. Make sure both you and your health care provider know the ins and outs of your plan so you can maximize your coverage when seeking fertility treatment.

If your employer offers a flexible spending account as part of your benefit package, you may be able to earmark a portion of your pre-tax income to pay for your fertility treatment costs. Look into your company’s policy or contact your human resources department to see if this may be an option available to you.

As you speak to your doctor about the cost of care, be sure to find out exactly what’s included in their price quote, and what charges will be billed as additional fees—for example, blood work, ultrasounds, medication, etc.—so you can get a clear picture of the bottom line before making any major financing decisions.

Other Sources of Paying for Fertility Treatments

Once you’ve spoken with your health care provider for a complete list of costs, checked with your insurance provider about coverage limits, and discussed with your HR department about any additional options through your employer-based coverage, you’ll have a clear picture of how much money you need to raise to cover fertility treatment costs.

While it may be tempting, you may want to avoid taking money out of your retirement funds to finance your fertility treatments. Using 401k funds to fund fertility treatments can come with steep penalties and translates into cash that will not be available to you when it comes time to retire. You may also want to resist leveraging other necessary assets, such as taking a second mortgage on your home or securing a home equity loan.

To access affordable financing for your fertility treatments, a is one option people use to pay for uncovered medical expenses or big life events. With quick access to cash at a competitive rate, a personal loan may be able to supplement the costs of whatever your insurance doesn’t cover.

Finally, consider contacting nearby fertility treatment centers and ask if they’re doing any studies you can participate in. You may be able to reduce you fertility treatment costs by taking part.

While it’s impossible to put a price on the joy of parenthood, understanding the costs you’re likely to encounter and your options for funding each can help you develop a financial plan that allows you to focus on your journey to parenthood.