When IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) is recommended for couples diagnosed with infertility, the idea and process involved can be overwhelming. Factor in the cost for one IVF cycle, an average of £8,060 in the United States in 2009 according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and it can become a financial burden. There is financial help for couples going through IVF in the form of refund programs, financing, low-cost programs and health insurance.
According to ASRM.org, IVF was first introduced in 1978 and was introduced in the United States in 1981. IVF is the process in which eggs are surgically removed from an ovary and mixed with sperm outside the body in a petri dish. The eggs are checked after about 40 hours to see if they were fertilised and are dividing into cells. Some of the fertilised eggs, or embryos, are placed into the female patient's uterus.
Refund programmes allow patients to pay for a specific number of IVF cycles. If at the end of their cycles they have not taken home a baby, the patient is refunded a portion or all (usually 70 to 100 per cent) of their IVF costs, depending on the company and programme. There are usually some exclusions and limitations for age, number of minimum and maximum cycles and services covered. One example is the Attain™ IVF Program offered by IntegraMed.com.
IVF patients can obtain unsecured loans that cover treatment and pharmaceutical expenses through companies specialising in IVF financing. Other companies offer IVF options in addition to the non-medical financing they provide. Some companies also offer a refund programme for patients financing IVF. Advanced Reproductive Care, Inc. offers financing options at ARCfertility.com.
Patients can obtain low-cost IVF by looking for fertility clinics specifically offering low-cost procedures or visiting overseas clinics that provide IVF treatment at lower costs. Additionally, patients can participate in a research programme to offset IVF costs or apply to the only national IVF scholarship programme offered through the InterNational Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc. at INCIID.org.
Some health insurance plans cover a portion or all of the costs associated with IVF. Contact your employer's human resources or benefits department or your health insurance company to learn if IVF costs are a covered expense. In addition, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia currently have laws requiring insurers to cover or offer to cover some form of infertility diagnosis and treatment. Contact the Insurance Commission in the state where you reside; state laws vary.
Only a doctor can diagnose infertility and recommend IVF as a treatment option. Since IVF costs vary based on location and degree of services required, check with your doctor to see what financial options they offer or recommend based on your specific situation.