The high cost of in vitro fertilization can make the procedure seem out of reach for some people.
After all, one cycle of IVF — including medication, consultations and other associated expenses — can cost more than $23,000 per patient, according to data from FertilityIQ, an online resource for people seeking fertility treatments. And according to the site, many women undergo two to three IVF cycles, making it very expensive to try to have a baby using this method.
If you’re seeking IVF treatments and your health insurance doesn’t cover the procedure, here’s an overview of some possible financing options, along with alternatives to IVF loans.
What is an IVF loan?
With an IVF loan, a lender will give you a lump sum of money to help pay for a portion or all of the fertility treatment. The amount you can borrow, loan term and annual percentage rate, or APR all vary by lender and may be based partly on your credit scores. You’ll generally need strong credit to qualify for low interest rates.
Some lenders allow you to see if you might qualify for an IVF loan without a hard credit inquiry. If you prequalify, you can see what estimated loan rates and terms you may get on a loan. If you decide on a loan offer, then you can apply formally, which triggers a hard inquiry. Just remember that prequalification isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be approved and that you may be offered different terms after completing a full application.
Before taking out an IVF loan, check whether your health insurance will pay for a portion or all of the procedure. Laws in 16 states require insurers to either cover or offer coverage for infertility treatment. But because laws differ in each state, you may still need a loan to cover some of the costs.
Who offers IVF loans?
When it comes to financing IVF treatments, two financing options are loans offered through fertility financing companies and traditional personal loans.
Fertility treatment financing companies
Some lenders specialize in fertility financing and offer loans or discounted treatment packages. Conveniently, you may be able to apply for this financing right at your fertility clinic, or — in other cases — have your loan funds sent directly to your clinic.
But these loans may have higher starting APRs and fees than some personal loans — and in some cases, you’ll need to go to a clinic within the lender’s network.
Traditional personal loan lenders
A personal loan can also help provide the funds you need for IVF treatment. Most personal loans come with a fixed repayment that you pay in monthly installments with interest. To determine your interest rate the lender can consider the amount you borrow, your credit and other factors.
Personal loans are offered by banks, credit unions and online lenders, with loan amounts that could range from as low as $1,000 up to $100,000, depending on the lender.
Some personal loan lenders offer loans specifically for fertility treatments through providers they partner with.
Alternatives to an IVF loan
If you aren’t sure whether a personal loan or fertility treatment financing is right for you, consider these alternatives.
HELOC or home equity loan
A home equity line of credit or home equity loan could provide funds you could use toward fertility treatments.
With a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, your lender agrees to lend you a specific amount of money that you can draw from, up to the maximum amount. A home equity loan is a lump sum of money a bank lends you with the agreement you’ll pay it back over the fixed loan term.
Both of these options come with interest charges on the amount you borrow, though they may have lower interest rates than unsecured personal loans. But keep in mind that those rates may be lower because your home serves as the collateral. Before getting a home equity loan or HELOC, consider whether you’re comfortable putting your home at risk if you can’t make payments.
HSA or FSA
Health savings accounts, or HSAs, and flexible spending accounts, or FSAs, help you set aside tax-exempt money to pay for qualified medical expenses, which may include IVF cycles.
But these options come with annual contribution limits. For an HSA in 2021, a single person in a high-deductible health plan can contribute up to $3,600 or up to $7,200 for family coverage. The limit for FSA contributions in 2021 is $2,750. These limits are far lower than the cost of an IVF cycle, so if you go this route, you’ll need to find the rest of the money elsewhere.
Some credit cards that you might want to consider come with a 0% intro APR on purchases within a specific time period, usually around 12 to 21 months, depending on the card. A card with this offer could help you cover some or all of the costs of IVF treatments — depending on your credit card limit — and give you time to gradually pay off the balance interest-free.
Make sure you can pay off the balance before the intro period ends because the regular purchase APR will apply to any remaining balance. Interest rates after this time frame will likely be higher than rates on a personal loan. Shop around and compare fees, interest rates and the length of the intro 0% APR period across cards.
Fertility grants offered by organizations and foundations can also help with IVF costs. Some of these grants come in set amounts, such as $5,000 or $10,000, that you can use toward treatment. Others cover the full cost of a procedure, such as a standard IVF cycle. These grants may not cover all of the treatment costs, but they don’t have to be repaid, which helps supplement your financing options.
If you decide to go this route, you’ll typically need to fill out an application and you may need to pay an application fee. The organization will review your application (timelines vary by grant), may perform a financial or background check, and will let you know whether you’re awarded funds. Each program has its own guidelines and eligibility rules, so make sure you do some research before applying for the grant.
When it comes to paying for IVF, you have quite a few options to consider, from IVF loans and personal loans to home loans or using funds from tax-advantaged savings accounts.
Before you get a loan of any type, be sure to shop around — you can try to prequalify for personal loans, comparing the terms for a number of them to see what best options might be. Also consider the interest rate, monthly payment, loan term and potential extra costs such as prepayment penalties and application fees.