Finance Guides

Tips on Saving to Afford IVF

How to start preparing your finances to pay for in vitro fertilization treatment and grow your Baby Fund
Woman in a dress holding a large piggy-bank
Woman in a dress holding a large piggy-bank
Infertility treatment is notoriously expensive and perhaps even more notoriously known as being poorly covered by insurance companies. This leaves a lot of couples and individuals with the full responsibility of paying for their treatment and procedures. 

An IUI (intrauterine insemination) cycle will run you somewhere between $1,000- $2,000 for a single cycle + your cost of medications.

For those who need IVF (in vitro fertilization), a single cycle can run you between $15,000-$20,000. 😵

And even after IVF is done and paid for, if you need to do a frozen embryo transfer (FET), each embryo transfer cycle will run you somewhere between $3,000-$5,000. 

The prices vary based on the clinic, your medication protocol and any ancillary procedures included in the treatment tailored to your specific needs. 

Either way, whether IUI, IVF, or even egg freezing (around $10k), we’re still talking thousands of dollars so it’s a lot of money. If you’ve already gotten your estimated numbers from a clinic or you’re trying to prepare ahead of even your first consultation, now’s the time to start saving. 

Here are some ways you can start to prepare financially for treatment:

Find out if you have any insurance coverage for infertility 

We know, we know. You're probably reading this being like, do you think I'd be asking how to fund IVF if I have insurance coverage!? Bur bear with us for a moment.

Any tiny bit of coverage even for ultrasounds or testing can help you out and we want to make sure that you ask your benefits team and health insurance provider if you're missing any details about your health coverage that you can make use of!

The smallest bit of coverage can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars, testing and ultrasounds add up, so check on all aspects of the fertility process where you might be able to get something paid for by your medical plan.

Certain states mandate IVF coverage, so it's possible your employer falls under these laws and does provides some infertility coverage. 

You can contact your benefits team in HR or reach out to your insurance plan directly to find out what your company offers. It could be that there is a plan that has infertility coverage that you can elect when it's time the insurance enrollment period comes around for the next year.  

Ask whether you're covered for: 
  • infertility testing
  • infertility treatment (ask about IUI and IVF separately)
  • specialty infertility medications

If your health plan covers testing or any part of treatment, make sure you find out which clinics are in-network for you. You can then take a look at your deductible and coinsurance to see what you will pay your insurance plan for anything covered.

If you’re not sure what those words are, it’s ok! Check out our infertility insurance guide for a step-by-step on what you should expect to pay when using insurance coverage. 

If your plan covers specialty medication for infertility, ask:
  1. if there is a specific pharmacy you have to use
  2. if the meds are mail-order or local pickup
  3. where to get the list of medication brands they will cover (known as a formulary list)

Give all this coverage information to your doctor or nurse so they order as many of the covered medications brands as possible. 

Load up your HSA/FSA to pay for treatment with pre-tax dollars

If your medical plan includes a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), load it up! You can fund these accounts with pre-tax dollars to pay for medical expenses at your fertility clinic! Make sure to check the list of eligible expenses for you specifically but usually fertility treatments are eligible.

Both an HSA and FSA allow you to set aside pre-tax money to pay for health expenses throughout the year. There is a dollar limit on the annual amount of money you can contribute to these accounts, so try to max it out because you’ll definitely use it all with the cost of treatment. 

So right there you've saved some money just by not being taxed on this amount of money you'll use to pay for testing, IUI or IVF! 

Keep in mind that your insurance plan doesn't need to have infertility coverage for you to use your HSA and FSA to pay for infertility. 

Make sure that you use all of your FSA money before the year is up; FSA funds are ‘use it or lose it’ on an annual basis, that money doesn't roll over to the next year, so spend it! 

Unlike an FSA, HSA funds will rollover to the next year so no need to worry there. 

You can also invest money sitting in your HSA to grow the amount you have available to spend on medical expenses, the gains are tax-free! If you have an HSA but haven’t added much money, contact your HR team to change your contribution, you can change the amount anytime during the year. 

If you have an HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement), you can get reimbursed from an employer-funded account to pay for medical expenses that are not covered by your medical plan. Check with your benefits team on qualifying expenses.

Speaking of taxes, depending on your income and the amount you self-fund for IVF, you may be able to do an IVF tax write-off where you can deduct your IVF expenses on your tax return. 

 Shop around a few clinics to compare prices

Pricing varies based on the clinic, so shop around.

You can reach out to a few clinics in your area for a consultation and get some estimates. Here's where you can search clinics in your area

Keep in mind that the pricing the clinic will show you, including any financing packages, are typically the numbers for self-pay patients who do not have insurance coverage. 

If you are using insurance, the amounts the clinic will charge your health plan will likely be different. 

If self-pay prices are similar between clinics, check to see if you qualify for any programs each might offer.

Fertility clinic programs that may cut your cost include:
  • in-house financing programs
  • clinical research trials
  • multi-cycle package discounts

Multi-cycle packages are not for everyone and clinics that offer this usually have strict criteria for who qualifies, which are based on initial test results.

A multi-cycle package offer would be advantageous for a patient whose diagnosis indicates she may need more than one IVF cycle to successfully conceive. Many of these packages refund all or most of the payment made if a live birth is not achieved after the completion of all cycles offered as part of the program.

If the pricing is comparable between clinics or you also want to take other factors into account, you can also use our suggested criteria on how to choose the best fertility clinic for you.

In addition to pricing packages, certain reproductive technologies could help you avoid paying for multiple cycles.

If you choose to genetically test your embryos during IVF, PGT-A could save you money in the long run by avoiding the transfer of an abnormal embryos that would lead to a failed cycle. 

Apply for infertility grants

There are a lot of different infertility grants offered by non-profit groups that you can apply for to help cover your cost of treatment. 

These grants are most often to help cover the cost of IVF and some even will help pay for donor egg/sperm, gestational carrier expenses or the cost of using donor embryos.

IVF grants usually have very particular criteria for the type of patient that is eligible to apply so you'll need to review the requirements for each grant ahead of time to see if you're a good fit.

We suggest you start by taking a look at the grants of programs that have been verified as legitimate non-profit organizations by the National Fertility Association, Resolve.

Label a savings account to keep you focused 

Most online bank accounts allow you to nickname a savings account so that it specifies exactly what you are saving for.

Seeing an account named Baby Fund in your bank account will motivate you to add any extra money to it because it'll remind you what you're working towards (like you could forget!). 

Because these funds won’t be lost amongst the other money in your checking account, it'll be easier for you to track how close you are getting to your goal. 

You can even set up an automatic deposits from your paycheck that will go straight into your 'Baby Fund' so you don't have to worry about remembering to manually transfer money into the account each month.  

Cut out spending habits that negatively affect your fertility goals 

What you consider to be an expense that doesn’t serve your fertility goals can be subjective. An example might be that your doctor has recommended that you lose weight before you can start treatment or lower your caffeine intake, etc.

That means you can put that Starbucks or take-out money into your 'Baby Fund' instead. So you’re really killing two birds with one stone, getting your body baby-ready and saving to make your baby.

You can also take a look through the different monthly subscriptions you pay for and see if there are any you can temporarily cancel and instead deposit these monthly fees into your IVF Fund. 

Every little bit helps, one month of a beauty subscription box could be one vial of Menopur.

Substitute IVF medication brands for cheaper options & avoid over-ordering

Substitute for the less expensive brands

If you don't have insurance coverage for your fertility medications, then make sure you let your doctor and nurse know that you’d appreciate if they could help you out by ordering brand names for each IVF medication that are the cheapest at the pharmacy.

For example, the IVF medication Gonal-F is more expensive than the brand, Follistim. 

So depending on which brand name your physician orders, you could end up paying more for your IVF medications. 

There may be a specific reason why you need to use a certain brand, sometimes due to allergies, but often times if you bring it up with your nursing team, your doctor may actually say it's fine for you to substitute brand names. 

The less expensive brand can sometimes come in a form that takes more time to prepare. So it may not come in a pre-loaded injectable pen but instead as powder in a vial that you would need to mix with a syringe yourself before injecting. 

You may have to mix a couple of extra powders yourself but the difference between mixing vials and the ease of a twisty-top ready-to-inject pen can save you hundreds of dollars for the same drug. 

Apply for discount IVF medication programs

We would definitely encourage people to apply for the Compassionate Care program through EMD Serono. It’s income based and if you qualify, you can get some pretty hefty discounts on IVF medications through this program.

It’s tiered so you could get up to 75% off on commonly prescribed IVF medications if you meet the requirements. This manufacturer also has a rebate program where you can get a discount.

Avoid medication over-ordering

Once your IVF protocol is set, your nurse will contact the pharmacy to order all of the medications you'll need for the cycle.

The thing is that amount of medications ordered by your clinical team is an estimation of the number of days they think you’ll take stimulation medications for. And they often order all your medication at once. 

Because of this, sometimes your care team will order more medication than you might need in order to give you a little buffer in case you have to do another day or two extra of injections.

This can leave some women with extra medication at the end of their cycle that they paid for but won't use. It's not an ideal system if you're not planning on undergoing any further cycles.

Once you have these extra meds, you can’t return them for a refund and it's against the law to sell them to another patient directly.

To avoid this, you can ask your nurse & pharmacy if you can space out the shipments so that you only order what you need as you go.

Then you don't end up with unused medication that you had to pay for. 

Some women start by ordering half of the medications needed to get through the first 4-5 days of the cycle and then call their pharmacy for another 2-3 days worth of refills as needed.

If a loan is your only option, try to qualify for a 0% interest credit card

Some people do turn to taking out a loan to pay for IVF. 

If you’re leaning towards looking into a loan, it might end up costing you much more in the long run with the amount of interest charged. Be very careful with the loan servicer you choose because some of them have really high interest rates. 

An alternative option is to see if you or your partner qualifies for a 0% interest credit card. 

These cards typically only offer 0% interest on the charged amount for a specified period of time, so make sure you're aware of when the grace period for interest expires. 

If you can use a card like this to pay for treatment, the idea is to place the cost of treatment on the credit card and diligently pay the amount off before the grace period for interest expires. 

That way, you’ll have financed your treatment with no interest paid.

Only do this if you know you will be able to responsibly pay all or most of the amount back before the ‘no interest’ time limit is up and make sure you’re aware of what the interest will shoot up to once the grace period is over.

Deduct IVF on your taxes!

Did you know that you can deduct your IVF expenses on your taxes?

You can itemize your tax return and list any expenses that weren't covered by insurance for your treatment costs. You can deduct uninsured medical costs that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

If your itemized return amount ends up being larger than the standard deduction option, then definitely itemize so you can get the best return possible!

Is your head already swimming just thinking about this?

Don't worry! We have a guide you can follow on how to deduct IVF costs on your taxes

If you have an IVF cycle coming up this year, it's helpful even to read the guide now so that you can be prepared next year when tax season comes around.

How do you prepare for this during the year?

Make sure to keep track of all your receipts throughout the year for all of your uninsured medical expenses. You can even keep a spreadsheet and update your expense amounts as you go for easy tracking. Make sure to included a link to each receipt as well. 

Then at the end of the year you can quickly check to see if the amount you spent could get you a big tax break. 

It's helpful to discuss with a tax professional to make sure you're getting every deduction possible and tracking records correctly.

Anything we missed?

These are many ways you can begin to prepare financially for fertility treatment, so these are just a few to get you started. 

Here's a recap of the list so you can follow each step: 
  • call your health insurance to ask about infertility coverage
  • ask your HR if any health insurance plans cover infertility & if you have any other fertility-related benefits
  • Max out your HSA and/or FSA contribution (use this money to pay for treatment costs)
  • Compare treatment prices between fertility clinics (ask about financial packages)
  • apply for infertility grants
  • set up a separate savings account just for IVF
  • cut out extra spending (subscriptions, takeout, etc)

How much you can self-fund will depend on your IVF timeline for treatment. The more lead time you can give yourself, the better. 

You’d be amazed how much money you can set aside once you have a goal set. 

Be sure to share with our ladies in the community if you used any of these methods or have discovered any other helpful ways to fund your treatment!

🕵️‍♀️ Ready to start looking for a fertility clinic? Find fertility doctors near you and check out their clinic's profiles to learn more about each provider & see their IVF success rates.