More Companies Are Adding Fertility Treatments to Benefits Plans, But High Prices Are Still Prohibitive For Prospective Parents

More Companies Are Adding Fertility Treatments to Benefits Plans, But High Prices Are Still Prohibitive For Prospective Parents

Even with financial support, many employees worry about the negative financial impact of fertility treatment.
IVF lab

The past few decades have seen radical changes in the conversation around fertility coverage. Take, for instance, in vitro fertilization (IVF), the most common form of assisted reproductive technology: In the 2000s and 2010s, fewer than 25% of large U.S. companies covered IVF; as of 2020, more than two-fifths (42%) do.

Fertility benefits — from egg freezing to IVF and surrogacy — have become a way for companies to attract top candidates, retain talent and boost their diversity, equity and inclusion. The tech industry, namely companies like Facebook and Apple, were vanguards in this arena, offering full coverage of egg freezing beginning just over seven years ago.

Yet, the cost of fertility treatments can still be formidable for employees, especially those who are unsure whether or not they’ll receive support from their employer.

Financial burden still major hurdle for parents

Fertility treatments are hardly cheap; according to fertility resource site FertilityIQ, one round of IVF can average $20,000, and the process often involves several rounds in order to be successful. A cycle of oocyte cryopreservation (the medical term for egg freezing) can be as much as $20,000, plus storage costs to keep your eggs safely frozen. Sperm analysis and freezing averages around $1,000, plus $300 to $500 in yearly storage fees.

Health insurance may help with the cost of treatments, especially if they’re deemed medically necessary, but that doesn’t mean consumers’ pockets are in the clear. According to a recent study by LendingTree, 36% of Americans had to tap into their savings to cover the costs, while 29% took on additional debt. Overall, a whopping 80% of U.S. employees who have undergone fertility treatments said their finances were negatively impacted by the process.

While some employers are stepping up to help shoulder the cost, as of June 2022, 20 states have also enacted fertility insurance coverage laws that require companies with fully-insured plans to cover some fertility treatments. To learn what your state fertility insurance law covers, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, maintains a helpful state-by-state policy map here.

Still need funds? Here’s how to pay for fertility treatment expenses

LendingTree’s survey found that a third of U.S. employees don’t know whether or not their employer covers treatment, so your first step should be a close review of your benefits plan and conversations with your human resources department.

If you find that you’re still on the hook, you have options:

Loans: Some clinics offer payment plans or partner with financial institutions, which will give qualified borrowers (i.e., those with strong credit scores) direct loans for the full amount of the planned treatment. However, make sure to weigh the costs associated with getting a loan — some of them can carry interest rates up to 36%. Companies like Progyny.com also offer to match women up with fertility clinics, discount plans and financing.

Payment plan with medical provider: Check with your medical provider to see if they offer payment plans or discounts for paying with cash. This can help you avoid paying interest costs, plus give you more options if you need to dispute clerical or billing errors.

HSA/FSAs: Both Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) offer tax advantages, making them a good option for fertility treatments. HSAs are only available if you have a high-deductible health plan, but FSAs are available to anyone. You can open these accounts individually or through your employer.

Grants, scholarships and financial assistance: Many nonprofit organizations provide grants and scholarships, potentially making them the most cost-efficient option for women and couples shouldering a hefty financial burden to become parents. Some pharmaceutical companies also offer discounts to patients who are prescribed their fertility drugs.

Credit cards: Going into debt for fertility treatment poses its own risks, so if you do choose this option, look for a credit card with a 0% introductory APR and try to pay down the balance before the introductory period is up.