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Budgeting Tips for IVF and Fertility Treatments

Jun 11, 2021 3 min read Ilana Polyak

Key takeaways

  • Know the average costs of IVF or other fertility treatments, so you can set a budget.
  • Check with HR; programs are available to help with out-of-pocket costs.
  • Don’t forget to take any tax breaks you qualify for.

 

As any parent knows, raising children is expensive. According to an oft-cited statistic from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, parents will shell out $233,000 to raise a child until he or she hits age 18.1 That includes food, housing, healthcare and other expenses but does not include the cost of college.

For some, the bills start arriving well before a child does, and knowing how to make a budget will ensure you have the capability to afford the costs.

Not everyone can have children in the traditional way. About 12% of women of childbearing age have received fertility assistance,2 sometimes at a staggering expense. And same-sex couples must pursue an alternative—and costlier—path to parenthood in almost all cases.

 

 

Along with the high emotions and stresses that can come with creating a family in non-traditional ways, there can also be some high expenses. If you and your partner find yourself in this situation, here’s how to pay for IVF and other fertility treatments.

 

Understand what you’ll pay

The average cost of intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is $865.3 However, one cycle of IVF can run between $10,000 and $15,000, depending on where you live, and that doesn’t include the medicines you’ll need for the procedure. Plus, many patients undergo the procedure more than once before bringing a baby to full term.

Unfortunately, only 15 states currently require insurers to either cover or offer coverage for infertility;4 so, for many families, treatments such as IVF or the less invasive IUI are an out-of-pocket expense. If you don’t happen to live in one of those 15 states, you have some options to pay for the procedure.

First, consider applying for a grant or scholarship provided by a non-profit organization to help defray the cost of IVF. Do an online search for “IVF grants” for a list of options. You can also check with fertility clinics near you to see if they have a payment plan that helps you spread out the cost over time. The more you can lower your monthly cost and reduce any interest you might face, the easier time you will have in paying down the balance of the procedures.

Surrogacy, meanwhile, is a whole other cost universe. The procedure involves implanting either your own eggs and sperm or a donor’s in a woman who carries the baby to term. It can run as high as $150,000, including the expenses of IVF, payment to the surrogate and hefty legal bills.5

 

Get help from your employer

You may not have to shoulder all the expenses on your own. Find out about employee benefits your company offers that can help with growing a non-traditional family. Your HR department might be a good starting point for understanding available benefits.

Start by reviewing your health insurance coverage to understand what types of fertility treatments—if any—will be covered. Even if your policy doesn’t pay for IVF, IUI, or other types of therapies, it may pay for some diagnostic tests to determine the cause of infertility.

 

Don’t forget your tax breaks

While there is no direct tax deduction for infertility treatments, you can take a deduction for major medical expenses. In order to take the deduction, you must itemize rather than take the standard deduction. And your medical bills must exceed 7.5% of your gross income for 2021.6

You can deduct co-pays and co-insurance, lab fees and medications, and IVF and IUI fees not covered by your insurance. Remember that you can also deduct medical expenses unrelated to fertility treatments, so that may help you reach 7.5% of your gross income. Travel-related expenses qualify, too. Please consult your tax and legal advisors regarding your particular circumstances.

 

Be strategic about debt

Many wouldbe parents do not have the money or the medical coverage to pay for fertility treatments, so they resort to credit cards or other types of debt. Student Loan Hero reports that over half of the hundreds of people it surveyed took on credit card debt to cover this cost.7

Before taking on debt, calculate how much you can afford to pay back each month (factoring in other expenses like student loans, housing, and other costs) and stay below that amount. Also make sure you’re getting the best interest rate you can and have a plan for paying it off. If you have a mortgage, a home equity loan might offer a lower interest rate than a credit card. Create a budget while you’re paying off the loan to ensure that you don’t miss a payment or default on the loan.

 

What you can do next

Your road to parenthood may take many expensive twists and turns before you can have a child of your own. Prepare early and take advantage of the different benefits that can help you avoid a financial parent trap. Then, of course, your money concerns will shift to budgeting for those high costs of raising your child.

Footnotes

  1. 1. USDA, https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/01/13/cost-raising-child
  2. 2. CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/infertility.htm
  3. 3. BabyCenter.com, https://www.babycenter.com/0_fertility-treatment-intrauterine-insemination-iui_4092.bc
  4. 4. National Conference of State Legislatures https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/insurance-coverage-for-infertility-laws.aspx
  5. 5. BabyCenter.com, https://www.babycenter.com/surrogacy
  6. 6. IRS.gov https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc502
  7. 7. Student Loan Hero https://studentloanhero.com/featured/survey-ivf-candidates-resort-credit-cards-pay-treatment/

Ilana Polyak is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance and the financial advisory industry. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Barron's, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and CNBC.com.

 

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