Children are expensive – any parent will tell you so. The cumulated cost of food, education, healthcare, etc. is astronomical. However, for some parents, the expense of raising a child starts before conception, and the numbers are staggering. For those who are struggling with infertility, it’s a long, emotionally taxing, and expensive road before they’re able to hold their baby in their arms.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASMR), the estimated cost of a single cycle of IVF in the United States is $12,400. Only approximately 30% of IVF cycles will produce a live birth, which leads to the majority of patients going through several rounds of IVF before having a child.
In most cases, fertility treatments aren’t covered by health insurance, putting the burden solely on hopeful parents. As hard as it is to put a price on your desire for a child, financial constraint is the main reason why patients give up on fertility treatments. Alternative options, like adoption or surrogacy, can be even more expensive.
Due to the high cost of IVF, most patients incur a significant amount of debt to pay for their treatments. According to a 2015 survey sponsored by online lender Prosper, 70% of respondents incurred debt from fertility treatments, with 44% of respondents contracting $10,000 or more in debt. The majority turn toward credit cards and personal loans. Many fertility clinics also offer their own financing programs. However, a growing number of future parents is opting for alternative solutions.
Future Family is a fertility startup dedicated to offering flexible financing plans specifically designed for supporting IVF and other fertility treatments like egg freezing. The company launched in 2016 and has been working with 250 fertility clinics so far. They offer competitive plans starting at $250 a month, as well as services geared toward would-be parents such as fertility coaching with a registered nurse, discounted lab work, and fertility doctor matching.
Patients also turn toward crowdfunding to finance their fertility journey. There are thousands of results for virtual campaigns on websites such as GoFundMe or Indiegogo for “IVF,” appealing to the generosity of strangers. Besides, couples and individuals are also looking to raise funds closer to home, organizing fundraising events geared towards friends, neighbors, and families like baking sales or yard sales.
Prospective parents also turn toward those who often have a significant interest in the future baby as well: the intended grandparents. On July 17, 2019, Future Family launched the “Grandbaby Plan” allowing the grandparents-to-be, but also other family members such as siblings, cousins, etc. to take a loan on behalf of the future parents or to co-sign on a financing plan.
No matter their choice, most couples and individuals seeking IVF treatments need help in footing the bill. Unlike other significant expenses – like purchasing a house, for example – one is often caught off-guard by a diagnosis that not only, is extremely onerous, but has no guarantee of success.
With the added cost of raising a child and the change in lifestyle that comes with it – one of the parents staying home with the baby for example – taking on a traditional loan to finance expensive fertility treatments isn’t always an option. Until most health insurances cover IVF treatments, patients must find alternative ways to finance their dream of becoming a parent.
Grandbaby Plans: Funding IVF Through Family Help: Sources
Business Insider: Cost of Test Tube Babies
BizJournals: Fertility Inc.
Fast Company: Unable to Afford IVF, Couples Turn to Hopeful Grandparents
Fertility IQ: Paying For IVF
VeryWellFamily: Crowdfunding for IVF
Future Family: Grandbaby Funding