How to Financially Prepare for IVFSubmitted by Castlebar Asset Management on November 13th, 2017
Most couples don’t expect getting pregnant to be fraught with difficulty or months of trying to add to their family with no luck. It can be an emotionally exhausting process -- and if you choose to turn to fertility treatments, trying for a baby can be financially exhausting, too.
The best path forward for you and your family is a highly personal, complex decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. But by planning ahead and knowing how you’ll pay for treatments like IVF can help ease some of the stress around the process.
Here’s what you might want to consider and think about -- from a financial standpoint -- before starting fertility treatments and how you can plan for the cost of the process.
Understanding the Cost of IVF
Every couple’s experience is different, and your specific situation might not look like the average one. Still, it’s good to start with a reasonable baseline so you understand what the typical cost of IVF is.
Once you have the facts and data in front of you, you can make a more informed decision about how to move forward.
Here are some of the options, and how much each might cost:
Oral Medications: Also known as fertility drugs, these pills can help induce ovulation in women and can cost around $100 per month. Additional doctor’s visits and screenings may increase your cost up to $500 to $700 without insurance. Depending on your policy and what your coverage includes, your costs could be less.
Hormone Shots: Injectable hormones are another type of fertility drug that are both more effective and more costly than oral medications. Treatments can range up to $3,000 per month, but again, the specific cost will depend on your insurance policy and coverage.
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF): IVF is the most successful type of fertility treatment, but it’s also the most physically intensive and costs the most money. Each cycle of IVF costs about $12,000, but the expense can range depending on your insurance and other medical procedures you may need.
In addition, some women may need or opt for surgery to help address fertility issues. The cost of surgery can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, and it’s important to do extensive research and consult with both your doctor and insurance company as part of the process to explore this option.
How to Pay for Fertility Treatments
The right treatment for you depends more on your medical situation than your personal finances, although it’s worth talking through all your options with a medical professional and then considering starting with the lowest-cost treatment to see what might work for you.
When you have an idea of how much your fertility treatment will cost, it’s time to look at your financial options.
Consider your existing savings accounts, investment accounts, and any other potential source of funding. For some couples, family members are willing to gift some amount of money to help pay for IVF.
Don’t forget to look at your existing budget and see where you can cut back on expenses to make more room for the cost of IVF in your cash flow, too. Any little bit of cost you can cut is money that can go toward your treatment without pulling from existing savings.
Next, consider how much you have saved that you are willing to use toward the cost of IVF. It helps to talk to your partner and have a few conversations about how much this treatment is worth to you, what your other options are, and what you’re willing -- and not willing -- to do financially.
The answer is different for everyone, and only you and your partner can truly determined where on your priority list paying for something like IVF falls. Remember that you don’t have to leap into treatments right away if your financial situation isn’t ideal.
This is about financially planning for IVF, not financially stressing about it. Step back and consider how you could cut back on costs and save money upfront for the cost of IVF.
Even if you created a plan to save for 6 months to a year, you’ll likely be in a better financial position to take care of a growing family down the road than if you acted immediately and had to drain your savings accounts first.
You might also want to consider if you and your partner have a financial limit before you get started. Again, this is an emotional and stressful process.
Determining when enough is enough ahead of time and writing that down somewhere where you both can see what your rational, level-headed decision was may help make a hard decision easier if you need to make it down the road.
Communicate with Your Insurance Company
Before you start any treatments, grill your insurance company about the ins and outs of what’s covered -- and what’s not. Ask about copays, discounts, alternatives to treatments that are covered if the original recommendation is not, and so on.
Be polite, friendly, and make requests (not demands), but get on the phone and stay in communication with them.
You’ll also want to talk with your doctor’s office and request estimates and exact costs before you start any medical procedures. Your doctor probably won’t know this information, but there should be a billing or financial counseling department at their office that can help you.
You may be able to negotiate some medical bills as they start coming down the line, too. You won’t be able to get a lower bill every time, but with medical treatments that can cost you tens of thousands, it’s smart to invest a little time to at least ask.
Other Ways to Cope with the Stress -- Financial and Otherwise -- of Fertility Treatments
Don’t forget that you’re not alone through this journey. Lean on your support system, whether that’s friends, family, or other groups in your local community or even online. Make use of the resources you have available, including the people in your life who want to support you.
And although this conversation is a highly personal one, it can make a big impact on your finances, too.
That’s what a fiduciary financial planner is there to help you with. If you feel comfortable, share your experiences, thoughts, concerns, and questions about paying for IVF with a financial advisor you trust.
The right professional will respect your privacy while working with you to review the numbers and help you see what’s possible, or plan for different opportunities that you might not even be aware of yet.
Nothing can alleviate the physical and mental stress of going through fertility treatments. But financial stress might not need to be part of the picture if you know how to plan and take the right steps with your finances ahead of time.
Andrew Comstock, CFA
Please contact me at 913-660-0708 or by email to discuss your financial planning and investment management needs. You can sign up for our monthly newsletter here. Follow me on Twitter @CastlebarAM.
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