Any parent will tell you that the price of having children is worth every penny. But stress and desperation can lead trying couples to make some regrettable financial decisions regarding infertility. Here are some tips and ways to afford fertility treatments to give you hope and ease your bank account.
I’m at an age where all of my friends are getting pregnant, some with their second or third child. It’s enough to make want to hold all the babies but not enough that I’d stop my birth control.
I’ve also talked to dozens of women at my job who are dealing with infertility. Some are persistent in trying naturally, and others are at the end of their rope after several failed fertility treatments.
In addition to the heartbreak that comes with not being able to conceive naturally, comes the financial burden of affording fertility treatments. Many of which are expensive and have a low rate of success.
But for some women trying to get pregnant, any rate of success is worth taking out a loan, credit card, or financing treatments. You don’t have to jeopardize your financial future to get pregnant. While upfront costs can be high, there are things to know so you don’t waste money on risky treatments and save money on the most effective ones.
How Much Does Fertility Treatment Cost?
Clomiphene (Clomid) and gonadotropins are fertility drugs that increase follicle production. Clomid has a 30-40% success rate after three treatment cycles and gonadotropins have a 15% success rate after three cycles. Clomiphene costs $10-$100 per month, gonadotropin injections cost $1,000-$5,000 per month.
After three cycles most doctors will agree it’s not worth pursuing further. Not only is it a waste of money but Clomid has been linked with an increase in ovarian cancer if used longer than one year.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
In an Intrauterine Insemination, sperm is injected directly into the uterus. The cost is about $865 per cycle but is often paired with fertility drugs that have an additional charge. IUI has only about a 7-16% success rate for one cycle.
The success rate of IUI can increase with more cycles, but if you haven’t gotten pregnant after 3-6 cycles, then it’s probably not going to happen. Compared to other treatments it is lower cost, lower stress, and less time commitment but if your body’s conditions are anything less than perfect, IUI may not be worth the risk.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In an in vitro fertilization, eggs are taken out and inseminated with sperm. The eggs in which fertilization is successful are then transferred into the uterus. The success rate varies by age with women under 34 experiencing a 40% success rate and women over 43 seeing only 5%.
The national average for an all-inclusive single round of IVF is about $11,500. That number increases if you’re using donor eggs or sperm. Because IVF is still “experimental,” most insurance plans don’t cover it.
IVF takes more time and effort than IUI but has a higher success rate. It’s important to weigh up the options on whether you want to try multiple rounds of IUI only to end up doing IVF, or to start with IVF. Visit this article from Advanced Fertility to determine which route is best for you to start.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI is added to an IVF treatment if there are male fertility problems to help with fertilization. ICSI successfully fertilizes 50-80% of eggs, but after fertilization, your chance of having a baby is the same as those who used IVF without ICSI.
Ways to Afford Fertility Treatments
Start a Side Hustle
There are legitimate ways to make money at home or turn your trash into cash. Working extra even for a few months to avoid taking out a loan to pay for fertility treatments could be worth the inconvenience.
Check Your Health Insurance
If you live in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas or West Virginia check your health insurance. These states have laws stating that insurers must provide coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment.
Thousands of families have used sites like GoFundMe to raise money for fertility treatments. If you have a compelling story you think will resonate with people, then this is the route to follow.
Many Americans travel abroad for everything from dental procedures to fertility treatments. One California couple went through IVF in Barbados, paying $13,000 in total for the procedure and trip, this compared to the $18,000 it was projected to cost them at home.
Do your research and make sure you’re getting a reputable and honest facility.
Scholarships and Grants
There are scholarships and grants available for couples who can’t afford the full cost of fertility treatments. The downside is that they’re limited, competitive, and most won’t cover the whole cost of treatment. Some even have an application fee. If this route is your only option, then visit Verywell for a list of awards.
How to Increase the Success Rate of Fertility Treatments
The best way to make your investment most cost-effective is to do everything you can to maximize your body’s capacity for retaining a pregnancy. Here are some things you can do to make your body ready for conception.
- Cut out common food allergens. Allergens such as dairy, gluten, and eggs are foods that take a lot of your body’s energy to digest. Eliminating them will put less stress on your body and make for a better reproductive environment.
- Eliminate highly acidic foods. Alcohol, caffeine, and refined sugar are all highly acidic. If your body pH is too acidic, then the lining of your uterus will be affected, essentially killing any sperm that enters. A pregnancy-promoting diet is more alkaline, with lots of fruits and green veggies.
- Hot bag or water bottle on the uterus. Leading up to insemination or implantation or right after sex you can place a hot bag or water bottle to increase blood flow to your reproductive area. Leave it there for about five minutes or until it gets to room temperature. And don’t use heat after your transfer.
- Try acupuncture. Acupuncture can increase blood flow to the reproductive area and reduce inflammation from autoimmune disorders or food allergies.
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