Many people facing infertility often run into a big brick wall. Money. These treatments don't come cheap. In the US IVF can cost up to $20,000 a cycle. It's really not hard to spend close to $10,000 before you even to that point. If you don't have health insurance to help with these costs, they will add up. And they will add up quickly!! This can lead to a lot of additional stress that, frankly none of us dealing with it needs. However, it is what is. Here are a few tips that might be of use to anyone trying to save up the funds they to have to get the baby they dream of.
Currently there are 15 states that mandate by law insurance companies to provide coverage for fertility treatments. This coverage does vary. So the very first thing that you want to do is to contact your health insurance provider. Find out exactly what they cover, how much coverage you have, and if they cover procedures such as IUI or IVF. Also, make sure to ask them how many cycles they will cover. It might be one, maybe two, or if you have excellent coverage as many tries as you need. Don't be afraid to keep pushing until you get the answers you need.
Now that you know what your insurance will cover and won't cover it's time to call the hospital or fertility clinic that you will be seeking treatment through. Ask what their rates are, if they offer discounts for upfront payment in full, payment plan rates, or if they have any other discount options available. Don't be surprised when you realize the differences between options offered by a hospital and a fertility clinic.
For example, since I don't have any health insurance at all the best my local hospital could offer me was a 1% discount for upfront payment in full, and a payment plan of 50% upfront with the remainder paid in two payments in the next two months. The bill for the first had to paid in full before I could charge another one. My doctor wanted me to have an hsg and two ultrasounds within about three weeks of each other. That meant I had to come up with approx. $4,000, being able to finance about $500 over the next two months. They were very clear that if I had even horrid health insurance I could get a much better and more reasonable payment plan.
On the other hand you can go to a fertility clinic. Most fertility clinics have a completely different system up for dealing with patient bills. Usually you can speak with a financial planner that will work with you to get the treatment you need, and the payment plan you can work with. They will also be able to give you personalized, unbiased advice about your situation.
Fertility clinics also offer other discounts and payment options that you won't typically find anywhere else. If are in the position to visit one of the clinics operated by Attain Fertility you can apply for their Attain IVF program. While everyone hopes that they become pregnant with their first try at IVF, it doesn't always happen. They have different programs to choose from, but you can save between 30-40% off the price of paying for each cycle individually.
Now you've got a good grasp on how much you fertility treatments will cost out of your pocket. There's a good chance that you're gonna cry. Don't feel bad or embarrassed. Grab a bottle of wine, drink feel sorry for yourself, and cry your eyes out. Nothing about this part is easy. Sorry :( I wish I could lie and say differently, but I'm just not that kinda girl. I can't stress the point enough that this journey will make you cry and you'll have many pity parties!
NEVER FEEL BAD ABOUT IT!!!
After you've have your moment and gotten yourself together, it's time to think of options. The first thing you want to look for is grants. Just do a simple Google search and look through the options. There are many different programs out there to check into. Look over their requirements carefully and apply for the ones that you think you qualify for. You also want to look for any hospital sponsored studies that you might qualify for. Participants can usually get their treatments for free in exchange for their participation.
Once you've exhausted all of your free options it's time to take a serious look at your finances. If you've never taken the time to really look at your credit then you need to now! Once you start talking about needing thousands of dollars you will want to know what your credit score is.
Go over it with a fine tooth comb. We actually had to call and make them take all our in-law information off our report. I remember the woman asked me why I wanted to take it all away since our in-laws have awesome credit!! It's amazing how good their credit is.
There's a part of me that was more than happy to leave it there! lol Since the had such awesome credit we would never be able to get anymore. According to the machines we already had access to more than enough money to finance anything we want. So while our credit rating took a big hit getting all of their info off our report, there was no way we'd ever be able to any loans, credit cards, or any other type of credit with it.
So now you need to start coming up with the money for your treatments. Always pay for your treatments with cash if possible. Try to keep any new debt to a minimum. When you can't pay with cash, then it's time to start looking into other options.
One option that is growing in popularity is fundraising for fertility treatments. Thanks to the rise of crowdfunding sites more and more people are hosting their own events to pay for the treatments. Please see this post I wrote, Fundraising for Babies, with ideas on how to hold a success fundraiser.
Another option is a personal loan. The status of your credit will determine if you qualify for one, your interest rate, and how much you can borrow. You can apply for one through your local bank, or online. If you've never applied for a loan before it might be best to visit one in person. The loan officer will be able to go through everything with you, answer any questions, and help you get the right loan for your needs.
If you own your home then you might want to consider taking out a loan against it. You'll definitely have to talk to your bank about this. Things they will consider is your credit, how much you currently owe against the house, and the amount of equity you've build up among other things.
Almost everyone has a credit card these days. While they can be a great way to help finance your fertility treatments, you need to be careful about how you use them. If the facility that you are attending accepts credit cards then just pay the bills with the card. Don't get a cash advance unless you have absolutely no other choice! Many credit cards charge over 20% in interest rates for cash advances. This will dramatically eat up your available credit and cost you a lot more money.
Many people also have yard sales to raise money. Personally, I hate yard sales myself, but they are a great way to clean out your house. If you don't want, can't fit it in anymore, or simply hate it, then it goes up for sale. While a yard sale probably won't raise you the thousands that you might need it can be a excellent way to get started.
If it's an option for you then a second job will definitely help you to raise some money quickly. Working two jobs can be stressful for you and your partner. Give this some careful thought and consideration before you decide to go this route. You can also find ways to make income by working online. There are ways to make blogging, writing, doing customer service, data entry, surveys and more. Many of these positions can be done easily from the comfort of your home around your own schedule.
These are just a few suggestions on how to raise money for your treatments. Be creative and I'm sure you'll think up even more. My final word of advice is to cut your spending. Every time you see a gorgeous pair of shoes that you "just have to have" ask yourself if that $50 is better spent on a pair of shoes that you really don't need, or if it would be better in your fertility savings account. Always keep your eyes on the real prize!