Dowling knows how emotionally charged the issue can be; he and his wife spent between $30,000 and $50,000 on the fertility treatments which led to the birth of their daughter and twin sons. Their fourth child was conceived naturally. "It's an emotional decision," he adds. "Whenever someone says, 'how much should you allocate?' it's impossible to say. Some folks would incur debt in order to achieve their goal." Uribe says she's seen patients spreading payments over multiple credit cards or using a combination of check, credit card, and cash.
Apply for grants. As Pamela Hirsch, Lawson's mother, put it, "infertility treatment has become a privilege relegated only to those who can pay." That realization prompted the pair to found Baby Quest, a nonprofit foundation that grants financial help to couples who cannot afford fertility treatment. "We look at financial information, job situation, and we have the medical advisory board look over the medical documentation to say who would be the most successful candidate in this," explains Hirsh.
Baby Quest accepts applications from individuals and couples throughout the country, and few other organizations offer funding to couples in specific geographic areas. If you're willing to post your story online instead of quietly filling out an application, sites like GiveForward.com and YouCaring.com allow users to crowdfund money for medical costs, including fertility treatment.
Ask about refund or discount programs. "Some of the fertility pharmacies offer discount programs or compassionate care for patients depending on their income," adds Hirsh. At Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area, where Uribe works, eligible patients have the option to pay for multiple cycles of IVF upfront for a discount (however, they don't get a refund if they conceive before using all cycles) or participate in the refund program, which offers a 70 percent refund if they do not bring a baby home from the hospital. "That was designed for patients to have another option, whether it's adoption or getting some money back," explains Uribe.
Before paying for multiple cycles, Dowling suggests getting information on the clinic's success rate and discussing the likelihood of your own success with your doctor.