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Bringing a child into the world may be priceless, but fertility treatments are anything but. This high price tag can put aspiring parents into a tough position, forcing them to choose between starting a family and avoiding massive amounts of debt.
Thankfully, there are several strategies you can use to reduce or eliminate the need to borrow money for fertility treatments. Here are some of the best options, along with some advice for those who find themselves needing to take on debt to pay the remaining costs.
Understand your insurance coverage
In 15 states, insurance companies are required to provide some amount of fertility coverage. This depends on the exact state. If you live in one of these states, look at your specific insurance policy and see what they offer.
Some employers also provide fertility coverage, even if the state doesn’t require it. Major companies like Starbucks, Apple and Amazon provide comprehensive fertility coverage for qualifying employees. Check your insurance handbook to see what is covered.
Other Ways to Save on Fertility Treatments
Research costs ahead of time
There are two components to paying for fertility treatments like IUI and IVF: the fertility clinic and the medications. Before choosing a clinic, call around and compare prices ahead of time. Ask the clinic if they offer a discount if you pay for multiple rounds at once or if they will give you a lower price for subsequent rounds.
Once you’ve chosen the clinic, you should then find a pharmacy with the lowest prices on medications. These can vary wildly so it pays to compare. Join message boards on Reddit and see where people have found the cheapest medications. You may have to use multiple pharmacies to get the best overall deal.
Some charities provide grants to couples and individuals struggling with fertility. Most of these target specific kinds of individuals, like veterans or those who have undergone cancer treatment.
In many cases, you’ll have to provide proof that you can’t afford fertility treatments. This may include a copy of your latest tax return or a recent pay stub. Go here for a list of organizations that provide grants.
If you don’t mind sharing your fertility situation publicly, you can start a crowdfunding campaign and ask for help. Sites like GoFundMe will let you keep all the money you raise even if you don’t reach your final goal.
To increase how much you raise, share as much of your infertility story as you’re comfortable with. Talk about how long you’ve been trying to have a child and what else you’ve done to pay for it. Donors want to see that you’ve tried to find the money yourself before asking other people.
There’s no guarantee of how much money you will receive with crowdfunding, but at least you won’t have to repay any of it.
How to borrow money to pay for fertility treatment
A personal loan can be used for a variety of reasons, including fertility treatments like IVF and IUI. Some lenders specifically advertise IVF loans, but these usually aren’t different than other personal loans.
A personal loan is unsecured, so there is no collateral backing the loan. Interest rates for unsecured loans are generally higher than rates for secured loans like home equity loans, but there’s also no risk of repossession.
If you have an excellent credit score, you may qualify for a rate as low as 3% APR, but it could go as high as 36%. The average interest rate for a 24-month personal loan is 8.73% APR from May 2022, according to the Federal Reserve’s August 2022 Consumer Credit Release. Before taking out a loan, compare rates and fees with multiple lenders. Many personal loans let you borrow as much as $50,000, which can usually cover two rounds of IVF or several rounds of IUI.
Repayment terms may range from two to seven years. Longer terms have higher interest rates and lower monthly payments, while shorter terms have lower interest rates and higher monthly payments.
When choosing a loan that fits your budget, make sure to factor in any future baby-related expenses like childcare, diapers, formula and more. It may be better to pick a longer term with a lower monthly payment, so you have plenty of wiggle room in your budget.
While credit cards usually have higher interest rates than personal loans and home equity loans, you can apply for a card with 0% intro APR on purchases and may be able to save on interest.
These special 0% intro APR offers usually last between six and 20 months. During that time, you will not be charged interest and the entire monthly payment will go toward the principal. After the offer expires, the interest will switch to a regular rate. The average interest rate for a credit card is 16.65% APR from May 2022, according to the Federal Reserve’s August 2022 Consumer Credit Release.
If you can’t afford to pay back the principal before the offer expires, you may be better off taking out a personal loan.
Home equity loans
You can borrow against the equity in your home as a home equity loan. Home equity loans have lower rates than personal loans, but the lender will seize your home if you default.
To qualify, you need to have between 15% and 20% equity in the home. Repayment terms last five to 15 years, which is longer than a personal loan. The extended time frame can make it easier for couples who need a flexible payment plan.
If you have money in a 401(k), you can take out a loan against those funds. For example, you may be able to borrow as much as 50% of the plan’s value, up to $50,000 max. The interest you pay will be deposited directly into your account. Most 401(k) loans have a maximum repayment term.
However, there are significant downsides to using a 401(k) loan. The main drawback of a 401(k) loan is that you’ll have to repay the loan within an expedited time frame if you leave your job or are fired. If you can’t afford to do that, the remaining balance will be treated as an early withdrawal, and you may be assessed fees and penalties. These can be extremely expensive depending on the loan amount.
Also, when you take out a 401(k) loan, the money is no longer invested in the stock market. If the stock market sees huge gains, you will miss out on those.
Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further
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Zina Kumok is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four and everything in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Conscious Coins. More from Zina Kumok
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