10 New Ways to Afford Fertility Treatments
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Having a baby can be an outrageously expensive prospect for many working women. Here’s how to make it happen on your salary.
*This is an excerpt from a feature Bailey Gaddis wrote for Working Mother magazine.
Before the birth of her daughter, Aurora, in 2016, Heather Huhman, host of the podcast Beat Infertility and founder of content-marketing firm Come Recommended, went through seven cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF), suffered four miscarriages and gave birth to stillborn twins, Eric and Alexis. As difficult and heartbreaking as the Washington, DC, woman’s journey to motherhood was, she never stopped working—she had to foot the almost-$60,000 bill for all those fertility treatments.
Heather is not an anomaly. A survey by FertilityIQ, a fertility doctor and clinic evaluation website, found that 92 percent of women undergoing fertility treatments are employed. Of those, 68 percent work a full 40 to 50 hours a week.
One big reason? More and more women are postponing pregnancy until their mid-to late 30s while they’re furthering their careers—and this delay often makes fertility treatments necessary to start a family. But medical need isn’t the only reason working women make up the majority of fertility-care patients: The high price of help forces many women to continue earning a paycheck while trying to conceive. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine reported that the average cost of one IVF treatment in the United States is $12,400, not including the extra medications a woman might need and the added fees for using an egg or sperm donor, or gestational surrogate.
Most women pay the exorbitant fees themselves. Medicaid, which insures almost 20 percent of women in the U.S., doesn’t cover fertility treatments. And only about a quarter of employers chip in for IVF, according to a 2013 study by Mercer, a consulting firm. The good news is that number is increasing, and few companies are leading the way. Bank of America, Boston Consulting Group, Spotify, Discovery Communications, Chanel, Conair and Johnson & Johnson will pay all treatment costs, with no limit, for employees with an infertility diagnosis, according to FertilityIQ.