How to Financially Plan for IVF

A couple talking about the costs of IVF with their doctor

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In vitro fertilization (IVF) has made having a baby possible for many families. This is wonderful news for the approximately 13% of women of reproductive age who face fertility issues. However, like most fertility treatments, IVF can be quite expensive and is often not covered by insurance. This reality leaves many hopeful parents-to-be suddenly on the hook for thousands of dollars if they decide to pursue this particular avenue toward parenthood.

If you don't happen to have the necessary resources to pay for IVF outright, the high price tag may feel like a dead end. "Sadly, this reality prompts some people to give up on their baby dreams," says Leslie Van Everly, head of content & communications at Future Family, a San Francisco-based online company offering fertility financing for IVF.

Others may scrape together the necessary funds, borrow the money from family, friends, or banks, or put it all on a credit card and hope for the best, says Van Everly. Often, these decisions are made without taking a beat to truly evaluate every option along with the long-term impacts. Ahead, learn more about how to make an effective plan to pay for IVF so that you can make the most financially-sound choice for expanding your family.

How Much Does IVF Cost?

"The average cost of an IVF cycle in the United States is $15,000," says Betsy Campbell, chief engagement officer at RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. Sometimes, with all the tests, lab fees, and other costs, the price can reach $20,000 or more. Keep in mind that some people may need to do several rounds of IVF before getting pregnant, and it's clear how the cost can quickly skyrocket.

In fact, explains Campbell, "A recent survey found that women (25 to 34 years old) accrued $30,000 of debt on average after undergoing fertility treatment." Plus, nearly 50% of hopeful IVF patients have no insurance coverage for these treatments.

There's clearly a great need to address the financial concerns of people considering IVF. This is important not only to make sure hopeful parents make informed financial choices that don't have negative impacts on their future but also to make IVF accessible to all who want it.

Why IVF Payment Options Matter

For many people, it might not be possible to come up with the extra cash needed to fully fund their treatment without going into debt, explains Van Everly. "It's a rare, small group that has $20,000 or $30,000 just sitting in a bank." Sadly, many people, particularly those with lower incomes and from historically underserved communities, do abandon their dream of having a baby due to financial reasons.

The cost of IVF quickly becomes an impediment for many candidates of this particular fertility treatment. "We know that only one in four people get the treatment needed to overcome infertility and that the number one barrier to care is the cost of treatment," says Campbell. However, with the help of advocacy groups, states are passing laws mandating more insurance coverage for infertility treatments. As of publishing, 19 states require expanded insurance benefits for those needing IVF.

"The most important thing is not to get discouraged. Don’t let the sticker shock scare you from finding a solution, because there are ways to make it happen," says Van Everly.

Payment Methods for IVF

There are as many ways to cover the cost of IVF as there are for paying for any big ticket item, such as a vacation, car, or house remodel. Options include using savings, crowd-sourced funding, credit cards, insurance, loans, grants, or gifts from relatives or friends. Sometimes, people use home equity loans, but the most common way people fund their treatments is to simply charge it to their credit card, says Van Everly.

"We had been discussing IVF for a few years and we weren't sure how we'd pay for it," says Megan Matrone, 37, who is now pregnant after using IVF. She and her partner refinanced their home to acquire the funds for her initial treatments. But when they learned a second retrieval would be required, she started researching alternative financial options. "I stumbled upon Future Family in an online support group for women going through IVF," says Matrone, who then was quickly approved for a fertility loan.

However, rather than using more affordable loans, says Campbell, studies show that nearly half of people pay for infertility treatment by credit card. Often, that's not the best option.

"There is no worse way to pay for IVF than putting it on a credit card because the interest rates are so high," explains Van Everly. Unfortunately, many people just jump right in and charge it without considering other ways to pay.

"There are a growing number of these fertility grants out there," says Van Everly, making finding workable financing increasingly more available to those without the financial resources to pay for IVF treatment up front.

So, it's definitely worth exploring all your options before you pay or decide if you can afford IVF treatment.

How to Make an IVF Payment Plan

Planning financially for IVF includes putting in some time to evaluate all the relevant elements and then using that information to choose the best option for your situation. Follow these steps to better understand your financial picture and make a sound payment plan.

Find Out How Much It Will Cost

The first step is learn how much your unique treatment is likely to cost. You can find this out by talking to the accounting department at your fertility clinic, says Van Everly. "Also, note that some clinics offer some level financial planning support, while others do not." Your healthcare provider can also offer insights into how many rounds of IVF they expect you'll need and any other related treatments or services you may need to plan to pay for.

"Some clinics have financial coordinators to help you, but often times it’s transactional and it is relied on the person to figure out by themselves," says Van Everly, who recommends asking your fertility clinic lots of questions to get the help and guidance you need.

Determine What Your Insurance Will Cover

Contact your health insurance company to find out what, if any part, of your IVF treatment is covered. Some plans include full coverage, but this is not typical. However, other plans may reimburse some treatment components, such as testing, medication, or doctor visits, even if the IVF procedure is not included. Also, it's worth talking to the human resources department at your work to advocate for expanding infertility medical treatment coverage. Sometimes, all a company needs is some artful nudging.

"Your efforts can really make a difference—for you and others," says Campbell. "Employers often don’t realize there is a gap in their insurance coverage until an employee tells them."

Review Your Personal Finances

Take a close look at your personal finances. You'll want to know how much you have in savings, and how much income you can expect in the near future. Do you have access to other potential sources of cash, which may include gifts or loans? For example, maybe you have family members who may be willing to help support your desire to pursue IVF. Or you might have some property you can sell to come up with some of the money.

Evaluate Your Borrowing Options

Next, look at your borrowing options, including possible loans. While credit cards are not the best option, they are still an option. Find out how much credit you have available and at what interest rates to see if it makes financial sense for you. If you own a home, you can look into getting a home equity loan. Loans are also available from lenders, such as Future Family, ARC Fertility, and CapexMD, specifically to finance fertility treatments.

Look online and call around to compare available funds, interest rates, and terms. Your personal credit score, income, and assets will impact the specifics of what you are offered and how you chose to borrow money.

Ask for Help

Don't forget to ask for help from your loved ones, community, financial planner, and doctors. If you're comfortable sharing, let the people closest to you know about your hopes for a baby and that you are considering IVF. Ask for guidance about how to pay and/or how to evaluate your finances and funding options, if you need support in that area.

"Be sure to talk with your clinic about any financing programs or discounts they offer," advises Campbell.

Give Yourself Time to Make a Plan

Most important is to give yourself the time to evaluate all your options before deciding how to pay. "The thing that’s kind of wild about going through IVF is there is often a time crunch as they need to get their payments in order before their appointments," says Van Everly. This urgency can sometimes lead to making rash decisions. "That’s why people often just put it on a credit card or take it out of savings without giving a lot of thought into how it will impact their financial picture."

Instead, take a good look at what your best possibilities are for covering this expense. Then, you can make a fully informed decision and choose a financial plan that makes sense for you. And ideally, won't leave you in huge debt.

"We spent a few years contemplating how we wanted to pay for IVF," says Matrone, before discovering that fertility loans even existed. "Had I done more research about financing companies sooner, we could've gotten the process started sooner. But everything happens for a reason and it's all worked out beautifully."

A Word From Verywell

Coming up with thousands of dollars on the spot to fund IVF treatments can feel daunting, to say the least. However, before giving up or getting yourself into substantial debt by choosing a high-interest financing plan, know that there are likely more financially-sound options out there to help you cover this cost. With some financial planning and access to infertility support resources, you can often find a better way to pay.

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infertility.

  2. RESOLVE. Increasing insurance coverage.

  3. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. State and Territory Infertility Insurance Laws.

  4. National Conference of State Legislatures. State Laws Related to Insurance Coverage for Infertility Treatment.

By Sarah Vanbuskirk
Sarah Vanbuskirk is a writer and editor with 20 years of experience covering parenting, health, wellness, lifestyle, and family-related topics. Her work has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, and websites, including Activity Connection, Glamour, PDX Parent, Self, TripSavvy, Marie Claire, and TimeOut NY.