According to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, one in eight U.S. couples of childbearing age has troubles conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy. (They define infertility as, "inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. If you are over the age of 35, the time of trying to conceive is reduced to 6 months.")
RESOLVE reports that the average cost of one IVF cycle to be about $12,400. and much of this has to be paid out of pocket by couples since according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 13 states have laws that require insurance companies to pay for infertility treatments. Because of the high cost, many couples have turned to creative solutions to pay for the cycles, including crowdsourcing, building websites and blogging, trying to get a grant or scholarship, getting independent loans, and/or depleting savings or selling valuables.
Sandip Sekhon, CEO of global site GoGetFunding.com, which claims to be the number one crowdsourcing site for personal causes, said that since the company's founding in 2011, 271 people have used the site for IVF campaigns. "Some only raise a few hundred but those which are properly marketed can and do raise several thousands of dollars," Sekhon said in an interview with me.
Other websites where people have raised money for fertility expenses include YouCaring.com, GoFundMe.com, GiveForward.com and IndieGoGo Life. In an article in The Atlantic,Is It Fair to Ask the Internet to Pay Your Hospital Bill, the head of communication for YouCaring, Leonard Lee, is quoted as saying, "I think we're seeing the emergence of what we sometimes call peer-to-peer charitable giving....[Donors] can say I'm giving to this specific person, I identify with their need."
Sekhon says that successful fundraising campaigns implement five to 10 of the ideas listed here including setting realistic fundraising goals, creating a video, utilizing donation matching, using a hashtag, and creating urgency by setting a deadline, for example.
Building a Website for the Cause
Brandi and Shelton Koskie started BabyOrBust.com to raise money to offset the cost of their infertility treatments. For more the past ten years, they have blogged very candidly about infertility, raising money, and the path they have been on. They had asked visitors to their site to donate $1 and raised $7500 towards their expenses. (They now have a child who will be six this summer.)
Independent Loan and Financing Programs
Some IVF clinics have payment plans or financing available. On the RESOLVE website is a list of infertility financing programs with links to each company's website, an overview of the features of the program, what qualifications must be met and any other pertinent information. RESOLVE says this on their website: "Many clinics provide financing and guarantee or refund programs (money back if treatment is unsuccessful). Banks and other lending institutions also offer financing programs."
Grants and Scholarships
WebMDsays, "A handful of nonprofit organizations, such as the Pay It Forward Foundation http://payitforwardfertility.org and the Tinina Q Cade Foundation, exist to provide grants to help with the cost of fertility treatment." For over 10 years, the Tinina Q Cade Foundation has been providing Family Building Grants of up to $10,000 to offset the costs infertility treatment or domestic adoption. Grant applications are taken at two times during the year. The Pay It Forward Fertility Foundation grant applications are due by August 1 but grants are awarded several times per year. Both organizations charge a $50 application fee.
Savings or Selling Things
Other couples who have wanted to fund IVF have tapped into their savings accounty , taken home equity loans, borrowed from their 401K or retirement plans, or have sold collectibles. Todd and Ula Nelkin, of Houston, reportedly had double-signed Barry Sanders and Walter Payton football memorabilia card up for sale to pay for their treatment.