The high cost of raising a child in the U.S. is no secret, but for the one in eight couples struggling with infertility, the cost of fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), can start adding up well before the pregnancy begins.
IVF treatment costs can vary widely depending on age, medical history, location, and the number of accessible fertility clinics. According to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, the average cost of a single IVF cycle using fresh embryos is $8,158—not including medications.[i] Each IVF treatment cycle is a multistep process, in which eggs are extracted, fertilized with sperm in a lab, then placed in the uterus once the embryo develops 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 IVF treatment and drugs be costly, it may take several cycles to achieve pregnancy. One study found that after three IVF cycles, success rates increased to 66%.[iii] But three rounds of medication and IVF treatment 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 IVF treatments, too. Donor sperm can cost an additional $500 per vial. Donor eggs could add an additional $24,000-$25,000 per cycle to your IVF costs. Surrogate mothers can cost as much as $80,000-$100,000.[iv]
Will Insurance Cover IVF Costs?
Unfortunately, the biological urgency of fertility treatments doesn’t always allow enough time to save up to cover the cost of IVF. Start your journey toward your new family by finding out what, if any, aspects of fertility treatment are covered by insurance. Right now, just 15 states require insurance to cover fertility treatments, and not all mandates include the same level of coverage. Comb through the fine print of your insurance policy and don’t be afraid to call your provider to figure out exactly what it will 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 you know the ins and outs of your plan so you can maximize your coverage and minimize IVF costs when seeking treatment.
If your employer offers a flexible spending account as part of your benefits package, you may be able to earmark a portion of your pre-tax income to offset IVF treatment costs. Look into your company’s policy or contact your human resources department to see if this option is available.
As you speak to your doctor about the cost of IVF, be sure to find out exactly what’s included and what services will be billed as additionally—blood work, ultrasounds, and medication, for example—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, checked with your insurance provider, and discussed your benefits package with your HR department, you’ll have a clear picture of how much money you need to raise to cover IVF treatment costs.
While it may be tempting, avoid taking money out of your retirement funds to finance your IVF treatments. Using 401k funds to fund fertility treatments can come with steep penalties. 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 IVF treatments, a personal loan from Discover is one option to help 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 offset the costs of whatever your insurance doesn’t cover.
Finally, consider contacting nearby fertility treatment centers to ask if they’re conducting any studies in which you can participate. You may be able to reduce your IVF 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 can help you develop a financial plan that allows you to focus on your journey to parenthood.