The first tip on this list of ways to make money for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other types of fertility treatments is the most unique one: fundraise with cupcakes! Similar to crowdfunding, but tastier 🙂 Other money-making ideas include crowdfunding, fertility loans, borrowing money from friends and family, saving money for a trip to India to undergo less expensive infertility help, exploring surrogate motherhood or embryo donation.
You are not alone if you have no money for fertility treatments. Getting infertility help is expensive – and not just financially. The toll fertility treatments takes on your emotional, spiritual, physical and even your social health can be astronomical. But let’s stay focused: how do you get money to pay for in vitro fertilization (IVF)? We’ll start with a Canadian couple who is fundraising and saving money for infertility procedures so they can have the baby they’ve been trying to conceive for years. Maybe you’ll be inspired by their story and Cupcakes for Infertility fundraising efforts. Then I’ll share a few ways to pay for infertility help.
Matthew and Melissa Arbeau have been married for almost six years. They’ve been trying to conceive their first child for over five years, and haven’t been successful. Last year Matthew was diagnosed with severe male factor infertility; they were told they can’t conceive children naturally. They tried intrauterine insemination (IUI).
“I want to be a mother. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do,” says Melissa Arbeau, who has undergone one intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatment. Typically, IUI has a 7% success rate and costs $2,000. “The only thing that’s stopping me from getting pregnant is the cost of fertility treatments.”
This couple isn’t asking people to donate money to pay for in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI). Nor are they seeking fertility loans or financing. Their fundraising effort is much more creative and delicious! They’re selling cupcakes at a flea market in Fredericton, New Brunswick to raise money for their IVF treatments.
Fundraising for Fertility Treatments
Matthew’s infertility is unexplained; doctors and fertility tests have not shown why his sperm isn’t fertilizing his wife’s eggs. My husband has azoospermia, which means his body doesn’t produce sperm. We tried intrauterine insemination (IUI) six times and did not get pregnant. When we got a second opinion, our new fertility doctor said we should have tried IUI only two or three times.
No matter what type of fertility treatment you’re considering, get a second or third opinion from a different clinic or specialist. We wasted a lot of money paying for extra intrauterine insemination cycles that had a low chance of success.
Like many couples coping with infertility, the only way the Arbeaus can get pregnant have children by undergoing fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. But the cost of infertility treatments is staggering, as you may know. Money (the lack of money) stops thousands of couples from pursuing their dream of having a baby together.
The Arbeaus decided to raise money for treatments instead of passively accepting their infertility diagnosis and “fate.” They’re baking cupcakes and selling them – and being clear about their intention. They want to make money to pay for fertility treatments. I can’t see anything wrong with that, but Melissa said people often pass judgement on her. They say that if she and her husband can’t afford the $7,000 for in vitro fertilization, then they can’t afford to have a child.
Melissa calls that rubbish.
“We’d be great parents,” she said. “We can afford to have a family. It’s just unless you’re rich and have $7,000 cash laying around, you just don’t have enough money to pay for fertility treatments. It’s heartbreaking when your finances are only thing stopping you from having a baby.”
If she gets pregnant, she says, she’ll continue to make cupcakes for infertility. She and her husband will donate every $1,000 she can raise toward another family who needs infertility help. Melissa also wants to bring the social stigma of infertility out into the open.
“I’ve made a whole community of friends, and we’re all raising money to pay for fertility treatments of some type,” she says. “We all notice the same thing: nobody talks about the pain and stigma of infertility. People don’t put themselves in our shoes. When you want a baby so bad and you can’t have it, it’s heartache. Your heart is empty and it won’t ever be full until that child comes into your life.”
How Do You Pay for IVF? 5 Possibilities
Some of the following tips are related to crowdfunding to pay for fertility treatments. Melissa and Matthew’s Cupcakes for Infertility was a great example of fundraising to pay for in vitro fertilization. They weren’t crowdfunding for fertility treatments, but if they were fundraising today they might consider a crowdfunding model.
How do you feel about starting a side job or project to earn extra money? You might consider selling a product or service online with the stated goal of financing your fertility journey, or even asking for donations to increase your earnings.
I hope the following tips give you an idea or two to follow up on…
1. Crowdfund for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments
GoFundMe is a fundraising website that helps people raise money for various endeavors. It’s a crowdfunding model like KickStarter – and there are other similar websites. I don’t know how many couples coping with infertility use GoFundMe to raise money for fertility treatments, but it is becoming more and more popular. GoFundMe launched in 2010; a year later they reported that the total value of donations made to people seeking IVF or other fertility treatments was $1.1 million.
Here’s a story of a couple using GoFundMe to crowdfund fertility treatments. “Our last and best hope is to use donors to attempt to start our family. We have found a medical center that works on a success basis. If after six attempts we don’t come home with a healthy baby, we get our money back (this center is fully accredited and acclaimed in the infertility community). Unfortunately, we don’t have $45,000 to pay for three rounds of in vitro fertilization. Consequently, we are appealing to our dearest friends, family and acquaintances to assist us financially in whatever way they can. Any donation level is welcome. If you do have the financial freedom, please consider a donation of $100. We cannot repay the donation or give anything back other than our promise to be loving parents. We also promise to pay it forward the next time someone asks us for help.”
If you decide to crowdfund or raise money for in vitro fertilization, be clear about your “ask.” Explain why you’re raising money and how important it is to get infertility help. Also, offer an up-to-date running total of how much money you’ve raised.
2. Talk to your health insurance provider – often
I wrote Should You Ask a Friend to Donate Sperm? The Pros and Cons when my husband and I realized how expensive fertility treatments are. I asked a friend to donate his sperm because we just didn’t have the money for in vitro fertilization (IVF). Plus, I didn’t want to go through the physical and emotional health challenges of IVF.
When I called our health insurance provider the first time, the clerk said they didn’t pay for fertility treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI). But when we called again with a different question, a different representative at the same company, he said yes they do pay for some fertility procedures. Our health insurance provider’s policy on fertility treatments changed. It was too late for us, but it might not be too late for you! Call your insurance provider every month or so. What do you have to lose?
3. Consider a shared risk program at a fertility clinic
This is another option from Shady Grove Fertility: the Shared Risk Program for IVF & Donor Egg. It’s an opportunity to pay for IVF or other fertility treatments at a fixed cost, for up to six IVF treatment cycles. You receive a 100% refund if you don’t get pregnant and a baby is not delivered. Look at the fine print, though. It’s not as free or easy as it first seems.
If you’re coping with infertility, consider choosing this plan and trying up to six in vitro fertilization (IVF) or Donor Egg cycles for a flat fee. If you don’t conceive, 100% of the fee is refunded. Not everything is included in this plan, such as: normal prescreening tests, medication, surgeries not related to in vitro fertilization, recruitment or purchase fees for donor sperm or donor egg. Couples who get pregnant on the first attempt will pay more than the traditional fee for fertility treatments, whihc makes this an expensive way to undergo in vitro fertilization.
4. Join the military?
Some fertility clinics offer discounts for active U.S. military and reservists. When the time of writing, Shady Grove Fertility said that current and new patients actively in the military are eligible for a 25% discount off of qualifying self-pay rates. If you’re thinking about paying for IVF or other fertility treatments with this military discount, you need to present your U.S. military identification card at the time of the initial consultation.
It’s important to know how much money you need to pay for fertility treatments. “The average cost of removing eggs from a woman’s ovaries, mixing them with her partner’s sperm, and implanting the resulting embryos into her uterus is about $9,000, although fees for this procedure range from $7,000 to $15,000, depending on the doctor, clinic, and hospital,” write Vargo and Regan in A Few Good Eggs: Two Chicks Dish on Overcoming the Insanity of Infertility.
The cost of this fertility procedure includes office visits, baseline tests, estrogen and ultrasound monitoring, hospital retrieval costs and embryo freezing, in-lab fertilization expenses, hospital transfer costs, and physician services – but not fertility drugs. Even if you and your husband are active in the military, you might not be able to afford to pay 75% of $15,000.
5. Get advice on fertility loans or financing
In a recent issue of Oprah magazine, a woman asked Suze Orman for advice on paying for fertility treatments. “My husband and I have been married for nearly nine years. After two miscarriages, we feel the best option is in vitro fertilization (IVF). The cost of this process is about $16,000. We went to a lending company, and all they can offer is $6,000. The rest is money my husband and I don’t have. We’re thinking about taking a credit card loan because we can’t hold out long enough to save the balance. Do we have any other options?”
Here’s what Orman said: “From an emotional standpoint, it’s easy to say there’s no price too steep to pay to get pregnant. But you asked for my financial advice, so I’m going to respond from my head: I don’t think it’s wise to go into debt to finance in vitro fertilization (IVF).”
Are you sure you need IVF or other fertility treatments?
If you haven’t read Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health, it’s worth every penny!
Is your husband’s sperm sluggish or unhealthy? Read Foods to Help You Recover Sperm Health, Count, and Motility. It’s much easier to improve male and female fertility than try to raise money for fertility treatments! Even if you could fundraise the $10,000 you need for in vitro fertilization, it would take a loooonnnng time with cupcakes. A fertility loan would be faster, but more expensive in the long run.
I originally interviewed the Arbeaus and published this blog post in 2011. I recently updated and revised it to encourage couples who are looking for tips on how to make money to pay for fertility treatments.