- 67% of respondents who have undergone fertility treatment say the cost of fertility treatment had long-term effects on their finances
- 71% of respondents are willing to take on debt to finance their fertility treatment
- Nearly one third of respondents have used, or plan to use, credit to pay for fertility treatment (29%)
Note: The following data is based on survey responses from 1,003 Americans ages 18 and older who have undergone fertility treatment, on their own or with their partner, and/or are considering undergoing fertility treatment.
Raising a child is expensive and, for a growing population of people, so is the cost of conceiving one. In fact, that’s the reality for 15% of reproductive-aged couples who are actively trying to have a child and are unable to do so, as well as another 186 million individuals globally who have infertility. For those struggling to conceive, the desire to be a parent can come with major financial obligations, which can have long lasting effects on their finances.
To understand just how big of a financial undertaking fertility treatments are for consumers, Qualtrics conducted a study on behalf of Credit Karma of Americans ages 18 and older who have undergone fertility treatment, on their own or with their partner, and/or are considering undergoing fertility treatment.
According to the study, two-thirds of respondents and/or their partners have undergone some form of fertility treatment, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI) or surrogacy (65%) and, for two-thirds of those respondents, it’s had a long-term impact on their finances (67%). Of those who have already undergone treatment, 42% estimate they’ve spent more than $10,000 to finance their treatment with 13% saying they’ve spent more than $20,000. Nearly half of those who have not yet undergone treatment but are considering it say they’d be willing to spend between $5,001 and $20,000 (49%) with another 14% saying they’d put $20,000 or more toward their future fertility treatment.
The high cost of treatment could price some Americans out of growing their family altogether.
According to the study, nearly three quarters of respondents with a household income (HHI) below $50,000 estimate they’ve spent, or would be willing to spend, no more than $10,000 on fertility treatment (74%). That’s a lot of money for most US households, but the value diminishes when you consider a single IVF cycle can range from $15,000 to $30,000, depending on the state, clinic and person undergoing treatment, and not all treatments are successful. According to the study, nearly one in five respondents were unsuccessful in having a child after undergoing fertility treatment (18%) and another 23% are still trying which means they’re likely still paying for some form of treatment or preparing to do so.
Are you paying cash for that?
In most cases, Americans who have undergone fertility treatment say they’ve used a credit card to finance their treatment (31%) while others have used savings (28%) or paid with an installment plan through their provider (22%). Of those who are still considering treatment, 26% say they plan to pay with some or all of their savings or use a credit card (23%). If not used responsibly, the use of credit cards and other credit products could fuel a cycle of debt for many hopeful couples, especially as interest rates remain elevated.
According to the study, 71% of respondents say they’re willing to take on debt to finance their fertility treatment. Factor in interest, and this could become quite costly for borrowers. The average APR for respondents who used a credit product to finance some or all of their fertility treatment was just over 15% with women recording higher APRs than men, an average of 15.6% compared to 14.6%.
It’s all about the benefits.
With the cost of fertility treatment pricing many people out of growing their families, employees are starting to prioritize fertility benefits when considering where they want to work and if they wish to remain at their current employer. In fact, recent reports have shown people are even willing to take on less desirable jobs to gain access to such benefits, indicating they’re not easy to come by.
That was the case for 61% of respondents who say their employer does not offer any fertility benefits. This was most common among low wage earners, those who make $50,000 or less a year (66%), and part time employees (63%). Among respondents who have undergone treatment of some kind, 72% say their employer did not help pay for any of their fertility treatment. In both cases, however, men were more likely to report their employer offered fertility benefits (28%) or some kind of financial assistance for treatment (32%).
Benefits or not, fertility treatment is worth the cost for most people.
Despite varying degrees of success, the majority of people say the cost of fertility is worth it. More than three quarters of respondents say the cost of fertility treatment feels worth it to them with responses remaining consistent across gender, age brackets and income levels.
“Outside of the physical and emotional burden of undergoing fertility treatment, there’s often a major financial burden as well. However, if we’ve seen anything in the data it’s that, despite the high cost, it’s worth it for most people,” said Colleen McCreary, consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma. “In general I’m a big believer in putting your money toward the life you wish to live and if having a family is an important part of that then fertility treatment is just another expense to consider when planning for a family. And, for those who find out early enough, it’s an expense they can potentially plan for.”
For information on ways to pay for fertility treatment visit: https://www.creditkarma.com/personal-loans/i/ivf-loans
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma from August 25-30, 2022 among 1,003 adults ages 18 and older who have undergone fertility treatment, on their own or with their partner, and/or are considering undergoing fertility treatment.