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IVF loans: How to finance IVF and fertility treatments

IVF fertility of an egg
Andriy Bezuglov/Adobe Stock
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Between unpredictable costs, lack of health insurance coverage for procedures, and the potential to need multiple cycles, IVF is cost-prohibitive. Around 10 percent of women in the United States have difficulty getting and staying pregnant, and IVF gives these women another chance at having a biological child. That’s why many women turn to IVF loans and fertility financing to cover the cost of treatments.

IVF financing is a common option that would-be new parents take to get and stay pregnant. However, it’s important to understand the costs of IVF treatments before considering fertility financing.

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What is an IVF loan or a fertility loan?

IVF loans are personal loans intended for medical procedures. Personal loans are unsecured, so you won’t need to put anything up for collateral; however, you will need an excellent credit score to get the best interest rate.

In addition to being less risky, IVF loans usually have better rates than the fertility financing available through IVF clinics. However, you should always compare rates to make sure this is the case.

Like any other type of personal loan, a loan taken out to cover IVF treatment costs will come with the same repayment expectations, including paying the loan back in monthly installments over time with a loan term ranging from 24 to 60 months, on average.

Average cost of IVF and fertility treatments

On average IVF treatments cost about $12,000 per cycle. However, prices vary based on a long list of factors, and basic IVF can cost as much as $15,000 to $17,000 or as little as about $10,000.

To begin with, a lot isn’t included in the basic price, such as pharmaceutical drugs, fertility testing, monitoring, genetic testing of the embryos and surgical procedures to extract sperm. All of these add-ons can cost thousands.

The price you ultimately pay can also vary based on the IVF clinic you’re working with, your medical history, geographic location and even the types of procedures you end up doing. In many cases, the final amount spent averages around $19,234, though it can be as steep as $25,000. And if the first cycle of IVF doesn’t prove successful, a subsequent round can cost about $6,955.

Many IVF recipients can’t afford to pay the steep expenses associated with IVF out of pocket and often turn to IVF loans or other forms of financing to assist with their expenses.

Insurance and fertility treatments

As you begin investigating the costs of infertility treatment, one of the first steps should be to call your insurance provider. Some insurance companies cover either all or at least some portion of the expenses associated with this type of treatment.

The states that require insurance companies to cover IVF include:

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

Those who have insurance through a state exchange may also have IVF coverage. Some states, such as California and Texas, require that insurance companies within their state offer IVF coverage. To find out the insurance coverage requirements where you live, check the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website, which details IVF coverage requirements for many states.

Bear in mind, however, that the extent of health insurance coverage for IVF will vary significantly depending on the health insurance company and even based on the state you live in. For instance, in New Jersey, health insurers must provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. This mandate includes covering in vitro fertilization. In contrast, Louisiana’s laws state that while insurers are prohibited from excluding coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that result in infertility, insurers are not required to cover fertility drugs, in vitro fertilization or other assisted reproductive techniques.

According to the NCSL, just 17 states require insurers to either cover or offer coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment.

Why consider a personal loan for fertility treatments

Personal loans can be a helpful way to cover the steep costs associated with IVF treatments, making it more manageable. With their monthly installment structure, personal loans allow you to repay the treatment costs over time rather than coming up with the money all at once. Personal loans may also offer a more favorable interest rate than credit cards.

Personal loans are also unsecured, meaning they do not require collateral to secure the financing the way a home equity loan or home equity line of credit would. As a result, you’re not risking your home should you be unable to repay the loan.

There are interest charges however, associated with a personal loan, so you will ultimately end up paying more for IVF treatment over the long run than if you had paid the costs with cash out of pocket.

Best lenders for IVF and fertility treatments

Several lenders offer loans tailored for IVF or medical expenses. Here are some of the top choices.

LendingClub

  • APRs as low as 3.99%
  • Pre-qualify in just a few minutes
  • Patients can finance up to four services in one loan, including IVF treatment, medications and genetic testing
  • Payment can be forwarded directly to medical providers. LendingClub works with hundreds of providers across the country

LightStream

  • Interest rates as low as 5.73% for those with excellent credit
  • No fees or prepayment penalties
  • Loan amounts from $5,000 to $100,000
  • Get funds as soon as the next business day

SoFI

  • Zero fees
  • Fixed rates starting at 7.99%
  • Average online approval to funding time is as little as 3 days
  • Loan amounts available from $5,000 to $100,000

Upstart

  • Check your medical loan rate quickly without impacting credit score
  • Select the loan repayment term that works for you
  • Loan funds are provided within one business day
  • No prepayment penalty

Alternative fertility treatment financing options

If an IVF loan won’t cover all or part of what you need for fertility financing, there are additional options available that can be used to cover in vitro treatments. These can be used on their own or in conjunction with other types of fertility loans.

Credit card

If you need to cover smaller fertility-related procedures that you can afford to pay off in the next year, consider taking advantage of a credit card with a zero percent introductory APR. Upon opening the account, you’ll typically have around 12 months before interest accrues on the balance.

As long as you’ve paid off the full amount before then, you won’t be charged a dime in interest. Make sure you can make the payments on time; once this introductory period passes, the interest rate can jump to 25% or higher.

Home equity loan

Some IVF recipients use home equity loans as a form of fertility financing, especially if a personal loan is not an option. Home equity loans are secured using your home, so you’ll have to decide if it’s worth putting this on the line to get IVF financing. You’ll also need to appraise your home and ensure you have sufficient equity to cover the cost of fertility treatments.

Home equity line of credit

Home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, are another IVF financing option that are especially helpful for anyone undergoing a yet-to-be-determined number of IVF cycles. To use a HELOC as a loan for IVF, you simply need to get approved for a line of credit up to a maximum amount. Then, pay for all or part of each cycle out of that credit line.

You’ll only need to make payments on the amount you withdraw, so if you succeed in the first round or two, you won’t have to pay interest on funds you never used.

Savings account

Some recipients choose to dip into a savings account or retirement investments to finance fertility treatments. This is the easiest way to pay for fertility treatments, but it’s difficult for some future parents to have a nest egg large enough to pay for even just one round of fertility treatments.

However, if a cash windfall or high-interest savings can pay for IVF rounds without incurring interest charges or compromising credit scores or collateral. For the most part, a savings account should be used alongside another financing option to cushion the blow of IVF prices.

IVF/fertility financing with bad credit

Most medical and IVF loans are personal loans, which means your credit score will be used solely instead of collateral to determine your interest rate. A secured loan will typically grant you a more favorable interest rate if you need IVF financing with bad credit.

Look into home equity loans and home equity lines of credit for fertility financing. Depending on your income level, you may qualify for IVF financing through grants and other assistance from nonprofit organizations.

The bottom line

Fertility treatments are one of the most expensive out-of-pocket elective medical procedures you can undergo. Adding the stress of financing to difficulty conceiving makes IVF treatments seem unattainable for many people. With so many financing options available, you can decide if it’s worth pursuing fertility treatments with the assistance of an IVF loan or alternative fertility financing.

Written by
Mia Taylor
Contributing Writer
Mia Taylor is a contributor to Bankrate and an award-winning journalist who has two decades of experience and worked as a staff reporter or contributor for some of the nation's leading newspapers and websites including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the San Diego Union-Tribune, TheStreet, MSN and Credit.com.
Edited by
Loans Editor, Former Insurance Editor