$$ It’s all about the benjamins $$

Published March 7, 2014 by Jennie

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Yesterday I received an email from a professor at my university.  He needs someone to help him work on data for some upcoming publications.  I have never met this professor before.  He asked one of his colleges (one of my former professors) who may have the skills needed to do this and she specifically recommended me.  What an ego boost!  This will give me opportunities to network and collaborate on future publications which is critical for doctoral students.  Even with all these wonderful opportunities, my thoughts went straight to money and IVF.  I can put some of the money I earn from this work to help pay for my quest to have a child.

I thought this even though my husband and I are actually  in a relatively good financial place to start IVF.  He is a tax consultant at one of the big four firms and we do live modestly.  Our insurance pays for 90% of all medical tests, labs, ultrasounds, etc.  After we pay $3,000 out of pocket, they are covered at 100%.  They will also pay 90% of infertility procedures up to $15,000 then we pay 100%(monitoring, drugs, etc do not go towards the cap, just the actual procedure).  Our REs contract rate for IVF with the insurance company (not the sticker price) is about $7,400 and FET is much less.  Freezing is covered at 100%.  We also have low drug copays, no IUI requirements before IVF, and do not need pre-approval for any procedure.

Please do not think for a second that I am not incredibly thankful for all these resources.  My point here is that even with our situation, I still feel the financial burden of infertility.  Co-pays add up.  Some procedures such as genetic testing are not covered.  If we go past our $15,000 IVF procedure max, we pay 100% of the sticker price which is about 2 times as much as the contract price.  I can easily see why IVF is cost prohibitive for so many couples especially if their insurance does not offer fertility benefits (or even worse if they have no insurance at all).

Should medical treatment for infertility be considered a luxury?  I have heard some people say that if you can not afford IVF, than you can not afford children.  I do not think that is fair.  I am sure there are several people with children who do not happen to have several thousand sitting around that they could easily access.  Also, does anyone have the right to regulate who has children?  One could argue that if IVF was not cost prohibitive, countless people would do it even if they were not ready for children.  I also do not think this is true.  I have not yet been through IVF but I know for a fact that it is not a simple, smooth process.  It takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication even when not considering the financial aspects.  People who decided to go through with it are most likely to be highly dedicated to raising and providing their children.  I would love to hear people’s thoughts on this topic.  I do not know how this problem can be solved but I do know it has life-changing implications for many people dreaming of starting a family.

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20 comments on “$$ It’s all about the benjamins $$

  • Haha! Some of the arguments you have heard are hilarious. If you can’t afford ivf then you can’t afford to have kids. That just makes me laugh. Most of us would be a lot better off financially when kids came into the world without having the initial ivf expenses to start with.
    Our insurance didn’t cover a single thing. We were doing pretty well earning & saving a few years ago. We planned and saved for this particular expense for 3 years. At a cost of $19,045, it still hit us pretty hard. We would feel a lot better bringing our baby home with that money in the bank.
    I do understand the high cost of ivf, it is a very in depth procedure. I do not understand why all insurance doesn’t cover it, at least partially.

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  • While cost should not be a factor, it is also true that raising children is very expensive so there is something to be said for not putting yourself in an untenable situation. I.e. maybe there’s a reason not to do something just because you want to. In your case I think I’d be happy I could afford it and not over think the situation.:-)

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    • You are absolutely right that you should not get something just because you want to. While we are far from perfect, my husband and I try our best to live this principal. Also unfortunately, I will always tend to over analyze things. After school, I hope to have a career in policy data analysis (I guess it is just in my blood).
      I wrote this post with not just myself in mind. A few things I considered: The median US household income is about $51,000 (US Census Bureau, 2013). Lots of households make much less. The mean cost for one round of IVF is $12,400 (American Society of Reproductive Medicine, 2013). That equates to 25% of the median. Many couples have to undergo several rounds of IVF to get pregnant. The cost of IVF often does not include several extras like monitoring that can really add up. IVF is very time intensive which often requires people to miss work. Lastly, many couples have already spent a huge amount of money before they get to the IVF stage.
      The sad truth is more often than not, insurers do not offer infertility coverage. Up until this year, I had none. I underwent a plethora of testing, providers (see my bio) and it left a huge financial debt.
      It breaks my heart when anyone has to suffer through infertility. Money issues aside, it is one of the hardest things I have ever gone through and is the number one stressor in our marriage. Knowing there are countless deserving couples out there going through their life savings for a chance to have a child makes it even worse.

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  • I’m stuck in that place, where we’ve been at this for several years, in debt because insurance pays nothing, and can’t afford IVF. I’ve actually been told several times that if I can’t afford IVF, I have no business having kids. That digs really deep, especially since no one I know that have kids have that amou nt of money sitting in the bank. But we have to fork over our life savings while drug addicts and criminals make children everyday for free. Anyway, rant over. Thanks for your post, I’m glad you know how blessed you are!

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    • I am so sorry people have said that to you. It is cruel to say and almost as bad as telling someone struggling with fertility that they should just adopt (lots of people do not seem to realize that adoption is also an intense, financially draining process).

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      • I’ve been told to adopt too. Like I’m a terrible person for wanting a biological child. I do want to adopt; I will adopt. But you’re right, it’s just as expensive as IVF, so it’s not an alternative. It’s so hard to defend yourself to people who couldn’t possibly understand. I’m sure you know what it’s like! It just sucks 😦

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  • I feel like no one should be denied the right to have children especially when I find so many people dealing with fertility issues are people who would prove to be very good parents, and who could offer their children a healthy, loving lifestyle. So, my only hope is that one day IVF will be publically funded. But realistically, I doubt it will happen during our journey.

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  • I think any infertility treatment should be covered by insurances. No one has done anything on purpose to cause infertility, so therefore it should be treated as a disease and should be covered. I think only people who haven’t been in an infertility related situation think that if you can’t do it on your own you shouldn’t have children. I think people who pursue infertility treatment have spent tons of time and resources to fulfill their dream of a child. I believe people who become pregnant by accident are more likely to be the ones who aren’t ready for children. I hope health insurances will change policies in regards to infertility treatments in the future.

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    • I too really hope the health insurance market will soon begin to recognize infertility as something that necessitates medical treatment. It is the norm in other developed areas of the world and is mandated in Massachusetts. I just wish things would change soon enough for people currently dealing with infertility.

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  • We are on the same boat. we are paying every penny from our pocket. i heard people say “why does my taxes should go toward your ivf” !! well our taxes pays for other your kids school! In Canada we have universal health care yet IVF is not covered! how is reproductive system isnt part of your body

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    • I did not know that Canada also did not have mandatory infertility coverage. Health care wise, I always thought they were a little ahead of the United States. I agree with you 100%. Reproductive problems need medical treatment. I can only hope that in the near future things will change.

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      • Quebec is the only province that covers single embryo transfer . Ontario covers fully if woman has no tube !! Wtf!! So if its unexplained , male infertility , pcos you don’t deserve to be a parent??? We live in BC so zero coverage 😦

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  • All reproductive endocrinology costs should be covered. Period. And most people in my circles of friends who have kids could not afford to pay for IVF out of pocket. People who make comments like that are uneducated and stigmatizing and judgmental. Gah! Anyway. Thank you for your post. This topic makes me, um, a little heated…

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  • I truly hate that although infertility is considered a disease, certain treatment options are not covered. And to be honest, most people who can easily have children are not hit with that huge expense right off the bat. I will say that going through this all makes me question more and more about our decision to have children. Are we ready to be that unselfish, can we afford to give a child all that I want to give him/her, will we resent not being able to have our freedom as easily accessible, etc, etc. And it doesn’t help that all of those normal doubts all couples have are further fueled by the money needed for treatments. Also, I pay a boatload of taxes to fund public schools and healthcare and welfare, which is fine, but I wish I could use some of that hard earned cash also for our treatments.

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