How to Pay for IVF Treatment: Loans, Grants, and More

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Fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) can provide hope when you have difficulty starting or growing your family. But IVF is expensive, and your health insurance is unlikely to cover the costs. For most people, the options are:

  1. Pay out-of-pocket, if possible.
  2. Get assistance.
  3. Borrow money for IVF treatment.

IVF loans often appear to be the easiest solution. You can get money quickly—through your fertility clinic, if you choose—but it’s critical to rule out the alternatives and understand the risks before taking on debt. So, what are your options?

Alternatives to IVF Loans

Lenders are eager to give you money, and we’ll discuss IVF financing below. But borrowing might not be the best option for your family. If you’re already short on funds, a debt burden only makes things harder for your family. Some lenders allow you to take on six-figure debts, and repayment will weigh you down unless you have (and keep) a high income.

Before applying for a loan, at least try to reduce the amount you borrow for IVF procedures. You may even eliminate borrowing altogether.

Grants and scholarships: You might be able to receive funding, donated cycles, and other forms of assistance to pay for treatment. Free money is never easy to come by, but it could be worth trying. Before applying for IVF assistance programs, do your homework. Research the organization (some programs are scams), budget for application fees, and study the details on what happens if your application is approved.

Crowdsourcing: Whether or not you want to ask for money is a personal decision. But crowdsourcing makes it easy to receive funds from an extended network of friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers. Of course, that means making your journey public, which you may or may not want to do. Fertility treatment is nothing to be ashamed of, but you’ll open yourself up to more questions and discussion along the way.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA): If you’re fortunate enough to have funds available, it may make sense to pay cash. HSAs are just one source of potential funds. If you’ve been saving money in an HSA without spending it, your fertility treatments might be a reason to use the money. Even if you haven’t built up assets in an HSA, running money through one may ease the burden with some minor tax benefits. But before you do anything, verify that you’re eligible, review your tax situation with a CPA, and evaluate the impact on retirement and other healthcare needs.

Payment plan: Ask your treatment providers about potential payment plans and guarantees. You may be able to pay over time without technically getting a loan. This strategy may make it easier to qualify for other loans down the road—but you’ll still have the payments to contend with. Be sure to understand whether or not you’re really getting a loan before you agree to move forward.

Loans for IVF Treatment

If you decide to borrow money to fund IVF, borrow wisely. Shop among multiple providers, and get familiar with the monthly payments and interest costs that come with borrowing. Especially if your healthcare provider offers financing, compare those loans to an online lender and your favorite bank or credit union.

Personal loans: Personal loans allow you to spend on anything you want, including fertility treatment and medications. You don’t need to secure those loans with collateral—you only need sufficient income and credit scores to qualify. Personal loans are available from several sources:

  • Banks and credit unions: Apply for a personal loan with at least one local bank or credit union. Small institutions tend to be more affordable and accessible to borrowers who have bad credit. Ask about repayment options (like how long you have to repay), prepayment penalties, and any processing fees.
  • Online lenders: It’s easy to borrow online. You can find great rates, and the best websites and apps are extremely easy to use. Popular vendors include SoFi, Prosper, Lending Club, and others. Be sure to examine funding fees that come out of your loan, and compare interest rates from multiple lenders. Typically, the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate and fees.

    IVF clinic financing: It’s convenient to borrow money from your healthcare provider, so go ahead and take a look at their offer. But acknowledge that the provider may have a conflict of interest. For starters, that provider gets paid with the loan proceeds, allowing you to be a paying customer. Furthermore, some providers (maybe not yours) have received additional compensation from lenders for promoting loan products.

    Home equity: If you have significant equity in your home, you might be able to use it as a resource. Second mortgages help you get a low interest rate, but they are far from ideal. Tapping your home equity means you risk losing your home in foreclosure if you can’t make payments. You might also need to pay closing costs to borrow, although home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) could be affordable.

    Credit cards: For small expenses or charges that you can pay off quickly, credit cards are also an option. But interest rates are typically high on credit cards—especially if you have bad credit. With high rates, it’s hard to get out of debt, and you effectively pay much more for your fertility treatments.

    Borrowing for IVF treatment is all well and good when things work out (when treatment is successful, and you can easily afford the monthly payments). But, as hard as it is, make an effort to imagine a different outcome, and how your family may be affected. Even if the medical procedures are successful, debt payments may make it harder for you to provide everything you want for your child. Debt isn’t necessarily good or bad—it’s entirely up to you to decide what’s best—but minimizing debt could make your life easier down the road.