Whether to grow your family is an emotional decision, no matter the means of getting there. Undergoing fertility treatments increases the weight of it — with the addition of financial pressure, too.
That’s because these procedures often come with a hefty price tag. Egg freezing, which involves harvesting and preserving viable eggs for the future, is in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $12,000, according to Dr. Mark P. Trolice, an Orlando, Florida–based infertility specialist with Fertility CARE: The IVF Center. Most clinics also tack on an annual storage fee of about $500.
In vitro fertilization (IVF), meanwhile, can be north of $20,000 in most major cities per cycle, according to research put out by FertilityIQ. And the average IVF patient undergoes two cycles, which makes the total cost on par with a year of college.
But there are ways you can help pay for fertility treatments and offset some of these costs. Here’s what to consider if you’re thinking about taking this step.
SEE IF YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE OFFERS COVERAGE
Every insurance plan is different, so contact your provider at the beginning of the journey. In 15 states, insurance companies are actually required either to cover or offer coverage for fertility treatments.
If you have a high-deductible health care plan, you likely also have a health savings account (HSA) attached to it. An HSA allows you to save money pre-tax for medical costs that aren’t covered by insurance. If you withdraw money from the account to cover IRS-approved qualified medical expenses, you also won’t have to pay any taxes on those withdrawals. Fertility treatments like IVF as well as egg and sperm storage are considered qualified medical expenses.
Just be aware that there are limits to how much you can contribute to an HSA each year. For 2018, the contribution limit is $3,450 for individuals and $6,900 for families.
CHECK YOUR WORKPLACE BENEFITS
Ask your human resources department if you are overlooking any employee perks. More than 250 employers in the U.S. offered some sort of fertility benefit in 2017, up 10 percent from the year before, according to FertilityIQ — and nearly 20% of patients that year received full reimbursements for their costs. Industries leading the way in these types of benefits include technology, consulting and auditing, finance, media and city governments.
And here’s a pro tip: If your company doesn’t offer any help, ask them if they would consider it; you just might be surprised at the answer. “Most companies that offer infertility benefits do so because they’ve been asked,” Trolice says.
But even without these specific benefits, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA) through work you can use those funds to help reimburse yourself for certain costs associated with fertility treatments; check with your FSA administrator to know what is and isn’t covered. As with an HSA, FSAs have annual contribution limits; for 2018, employees can contribute up to $2,650. FSA funds, however, are often use-it-or-lose-it by the end of the year, so unlike with an HSA, you won’t be able to continue to build your savings.
SEE IF YOU QUALIFY FOR GRANTS
There are a number of nonprofits and foundations whose goal is to provide financial assistance for couples struggling with infertility. As with other types of grants, you must apply and may have to meet certain qualifications, such as state residency, income limits, or be interested in a specific type of fertility treatment. You can find a list of foundations at the National Infertility Association’s website.
ASK YOUR CLINIC IF FINANCING OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE
If taking out a loan seems like it may be your only available option, ask your clinic if it offers any payment plans or financing — and what typical interest rates are — before scheduling your first appointment. There are lenders that work specifically with healthcare providers to provide lending for fertility treatments, often taking into account special circumstances such as the number of IVF cycles you may have to go through. A few may even offer some money back if treatments aren’t successful.
But these lenders won’t necessarily offer you a better interest rate than what you would receive on a personal loan through a traditional lender, so consider talking to a financial pro to see what your options are before you sign on the dotted line. He or she may even be able to offer other suggestions for freeing up funds that you can use toward fertility treatments so money doesn’t get in the way of growing your family.