Paying for IVF
|Once you have embarked on a program of IVF treatment, one of the major concerns is how to pay for IVF. If you are lucky and you have a mild infertility problem, this can often be resolved at low cost. However, with the current pregnancy rate after IVF in the region of 30%, it is possible that you will have to prepare a solid plan of action to fund IVF treatment. The more severe your infertility diagnosis, the more you should prepare in advance for funding IVF treatment. You may find you need to repeat the procedure or require more complex and therefore costly IVF tests, and this can start to burn a hole in your budget.|
Infertility costs may include IVF specialist visits, blood tests and other examinations, surgical procedures, and of course IVF. Although the IVF procedure is apparently the major cost, other visits can often accumulate and become a major financial strain. Another major cost are the hormonal therapies required to enable the production of multiple eggs for IVF.
So, how to pay for IVF, win, and not blow a hole in your family finances? The first consideration should be to establish a yearly budget. If for example your joint income is in the region of £20000 ($30000-$35000), you should really try not to spend over $3000 per year on infertility treatment. This of course depends on your overall disposable income which is the money left after basic expenses are met.
Some tips for paying for IVF without blowing a hole in your budget:
1) Choice of infertility therapy.
Typical infertility therapy costs can run into thousands of pounds just for the hormones. However, did you know you have a choice? For example, if you are a suitable case, you could use clomiphene citrate instead of recombinant FSH. Of course, this depends on your suitability and you should follow the advice of your doctor, but perhaps you could ask your IVF specialist to prescribe a cheaper therapy, at least for the first attempt.
2) Egg sharing.
In this procedure, you go through an IVF cycle, but some of your eggs will be donated to another couple. Usually, there is a major discount to your own IVF cycle with this form of treatment. In many cases, the discount runs to your own cycle free of charge. This is an excellent way of paying for IVF. However, there are drawbacks. One drawback is the theory that you have fewer embryos to choose from for your own IVF cycle. However, this tends not to affect the chances of egg sharers of getting pregnant; although you may not have excess embryos to cryopreserve. Secondly; although in some countries egg donation is an anonymous procedure; in other countries egg donation is traceable by Law. When egg donation is traceable, you must leave identifiable information, and a child born through egg donation has the right to search his or her parents (once they reach 18 years of age). This means that you might find that a child born with your eggs contacts you.
3) Donate blood.
To be able to have an IVF procedure, you must have blood tests for infectious diseases such as HBsAg, HCV, HIV. Although these tests do not cost an excessive amount, they must not be older than 6 months. To get them free, why not donate blood? In this way, you do good for someone else (‘feel good factor’) and get your tests free. The tests do not usually cover all required exams, but many of the exams required for the oocyte retrieval process are covered here.
4) Paying for IVF with a credit card or other loan.
A credit card is effectively a small unsecured loan right there in your pocket. Credit cards are a good way of paying for IVF, because once you have a credit card you don’t need to ask or produce documents for your loan. Choose a reasonable monthly repayment and you have budgeted for IVF. The bad side of credit cards: the interest rates are higher than other forms of loan. Furthermore, don’t use the card to get into excess debt because this will become a problem in itself and a cause of stress between you and your partner. Another form of loan could be remortgaging the house. This tends to release extra funds, and is effectively a cheap, long-term loan. Again, don’t get into debt that you can’t pay for.
5) Pay multiple cycles together.
Some IVF centres offer packages of IVF. For example, pay for a packages of 3 cycles upfront, and the cost will be equivalent to 2 cycles. Therefore, if you need all 3, you have effectively saved about 30% of the cost. Pay with a loan, and you have budgeted for 1-2 years cycles together. It is a good way of budgeting for IVF, but the drawback is that if you get pregnant on the first cycle, you have effectively overpaid your IVF treatment (but you got pregnant so the major aim of the treatment has been achieved). That’s part of the risk of IVF (and the risk is in the positive sense here). Unfortunately, centres consider the ‘contract’ and therefore the package complete here – you can’t use the credit for a second child for example.
6) Crowdfunded IVF.
Crowdfunding is where the mass helps share the risk that a few will need. National health services for example are a form of crowdfunding. The example above is also a form of crowdfunding, because patients achieving pregnancy after 1 cycle effectively finance the 3rd cycle of repeaters. Another form of crowdfunded IVF is listed on this site: here, people contribute a small amount of money to pay for your IVF cycle. So, send us your story and we will attempt to fund you an IVF cycle.
In essence, although you may need IVF, don’t lose sight of your budget; remember that you need to look towards the long term wellbeing for the health of yourself, partner and child, and financial considerations form part of this wellbeing.