Undergoing fertility treatment can be hugely expensive.
Fertility treatment is a huge investment and financing IVF treatment is understandably a common concern is cost. With no guarantees that one cycle will be “enough”, the possible cost of IVF can skyrocket.
Just one round of IVF can set intended parents back around £5,000 to £7,000 in the UK and potentially more if using a London-based clinic.
In the US, one cycle of IVF can cost in the region of $12,000 to $19,000.
Our Ribbon Box readers come from all over the world and depending on where you’re based will depend on the IVF finance options available to you to pay for fertility treatment. Read on to find out about the different IVF funding options in the UK and the US.
The NHS: A Postcode Lottery
In the UK, the NHS is free at the point of contact and it’s not surprising that many British citizens seeking assisted reproduction wonder, “Can I get IVF on the NHS?” Sadly, the answer isn’t clear-cut.
If you’re hoping for IVF treatment on the NHS, there are criteria to meet (and criteria can be stricter in some areas than others – which is why people call it a “postcode lottery”).
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own rules when it comes to financing fertility treatment and in England, local authorities (Clinical Commissioning Groups) decide whether someone is eligible for fertility treatment and, if so, for how many rounds.
This means that some individuals may be offered three attempts at IVF whereas individuals somewhere else in the country may be offered no attempts. It becomes more complicated when we understand that some NHS hospitals also offer privately-funded IVF treatment.
If you’re unsure on what fertility treatment is available on the NHS in your area, speak with your GP.
Whilst the HFEA regulates fertility clinics’ standards of care and treatment, clinics have the freedom to set their own costs. Whilst you may be tempted to opt for a cheaper clinic if they offer you a lower rate, it’s important to check success rates of the clinic (depending on your treatment plan).
Before you pay for your treatment, find out if the medication is included in the cost or how much the medication is expected to be for your treatment.
Can you find the medication cheaper somewhere else? Some clinics offer a discount if IVF drugs are bulk-bought but this won’t be helpful if you’re financing just one round or find you get pregnant the first cycle. Remember there might also be prescription charges to pay.
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If you’re freezing your eggs, sperm or embryos, you’ll also need to fund the freezer space.
Often, you pay for yearly storage but be aware that you may have to pay per freeze, for example two rounds of egg collection and one round of embryo creation and freezing can cost you three annual storage plans, not one.
There are other costs to consider before you pay for treatment, and your clinic should give you a breakdown of predicted costs so you can make a fully-informed decision.
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Similarly to the UK, states across the US have different eligibility terms for accessing fertility insurance. Some insurers cover only specific treatments whilst others require proof of a certain number of years’ struggle TTC. Check what fertility treatment is available on your insurance where you’re based.
In the US, not all medical insurance covers IVF and if an insurance provider does cover fertility costs, they may not cover all of your expenses, so check with your provider first. At work, your employer may offer fertility benefits or infertility insurance. It’s worth asking as they may have an infertility insurance plan activated or in the pipeline.
You may wish to take out a loan to pay for your fertility treatment in the US (or in the UK, for that matter). According to a Forbes Advisor article, a personal loan is the most common type of loan to fund IVF which you’ll pay off in instalments over time.
Be aware that loans have interest rates and how much will depend on the amount you’re borrowing as well as your credit score.
Grants and Charities
Infertility charities offer free IVF treatment for people who meet specific criteria. Applications can be lengthy and places limited, but applying for a grant or to a charity can help with fertility costs.
When you’re ready to speak with a clinic about your fertility treatment, check out our trusted partners here to book an appointment and take the next step in your family-building efforts.