IVF financing: what are your options?

We’re debunking IVF financing. Make an informed decision when it comes to funding your IVF journey.
Amber Izzo tells her personal story – Gaia Blog

If you’re not eligible for IVF on the NHS, you may try to fund IVF yourself. But IVF is expensive. The pressure of finding the money for the rounds you need can be daunting and overwhelming.

Many people take on second jobs, dip into life savings, or even remortgage their homes, to pay for the rounds of IVF they need to have a child. But with the true cost of IVF being so hard to pin down, it’s easy to get buried in bills – of the 250 people we surveyed who self-funded IVF, 78% went into debt.

IVF financing is another option. But knowing which type is right for you, and understanding the risks they carry can be tricky. 

Here, we take a look at the different financing options available to help you make a more informed decision about how to fund your IVF journey. 

What are your IVF financing options? 

IVF financing is a way of paying for rounds of IVF treatment. There are two main types of IVF financing currently available: payment plans and refund packages. 

IVF payment plans

Payment plans are offered by some private clinics as a form of IVF financing that allows you to spread the cost of your treatment over a set period of time. 

IVF refund packages 

Some private fertility clinics now offer ‘refund packages’. These promise to give you some or all of your money back if you don’t have a child. 

How does IVF financing work in real life?

Let’s use an example to explore how IVF financing might work in a real-life situation. Jenny, 34, and Fran, 36, are a same-sex couple. 

They’ll be using a sperm donor to start their family together. They’ve not done IVF before, but want to do six rounds of IVF to try to have a child. 

Unfortunately, more often than not, IVF financing options will only cover up to three rounds of IVF. This means that if Jenny and Fran are unsuccessful after three rounds, they’ll have to find other ways to fund the rest of their IVF journey. 

Paying for IVF with a clinic payment plan

These are the steps Jenny and Fran will take if they decide to use a payment plan to fund their IVF treatment:

  1. Jenny and Fran pay a deposit and the clinic gives them ‘credit’ for their rounds.
  2. Once treatment has started, Jenny and Fran start paying back the cost of the ‘credit’ in monthly instalments.
  3. At the end of their contract, they must have paid for all the ‘credit’ they were given, plus any interest, whether they have a baby or not.

Paying for IVF with a refund package

This is what happens if Jenny and Fran decide to use a refund package to fund their rounds:

  1. Jenny and Fran use their own money to pay the clinic for all their covered rounds of IVF up front.
  2. They start having their treatment.
  3. If they have all six rounds of IVF but don’t fall pregnant, they receive a refund for all or some of what they paid. 
  4. If they do get pregnant, they have to pay for all six rounds, regardless of which round they were successful on. 

What are the risks of using IVF financing?

Going through IVF can be stressful for everyone involved. Worrying about your finances can add more anxiety to the process. 

IVF financing can help you afford and access IVF treatment. But as with most loans, repayment plans and refund packages do have their downsides. It’s important that you know what you’re signing up for and are aware of any financial risks. 

Here are a few things to be aware of before committing to IVF financing: 

Hidden costs

Some necessary treatments and services, including essential medications, often aren’t included in payment plans and refund packages, so there will be times you’ll have to take out your credit card at the clinic. These unexpected add-ons are what make it difficult to know exactly how much IVF actually costs from the outset, so this is certainly something to be aware of. 

Terms and conditions

It’s crucial you know the ins and outs of a refund package policy. Some terms and conditions could mean that you’ll be refunded very little or no money at all if your treatment is unsuccessful.

Honouring your contract

If you’ve signed up for a number of rounds through a refund package and fall pregnant, you’ll still have to pay for the entire package, forfeiting the cost of any remaining rounds. 

Interest rates

Some clinics offer 0% interest on payment plans for the first year. But be aware that your interest rate can rise steeply throughout your repayment window. In general, the longer your repayment time, the higher your interest rate will be. 

Defaulting on payment

Missing payments can dramatically reduce your credit score, impacting your ability to receive future credit. You may also lose your ability to apply for repayment plans in the future. 

Another option to explore 

At Gaia, we believe that everyone who wants a family should have the chance to try. The difference between having a child or not shouldn’t be how rich you are.

So we created IVF insurance to make treatment more accessible and affordable. Signing up for a Gaia Plan helps you to plan, pay for and protect your IVF journey so that you only pay for your treatment if you have a child. 

But ‘how does it work?’, we hear you ask. 

Let’s use Jenny and Fran as an example again. This is what happens when they come to us for a Gaia Plan:

  1. We tailor a Gaia Plan to their needs. Based on the information they give us – plus data from one million previous IVF treatments over the past 30 years – we insure them for up to six rounds. 
  2. Jenny and Fran pay us a premium each time they start a round – a fraction of the total cost of their round.
  3. We pay the clinic upfront and handle all the finances. We cover all essential treatments from the stimulation phase onward. This includes medication so there truly are no hidden costs.
  4. If they have a baby, Jenny and Fran start paying back their rounds in monthly instalments over one year at 0% interest. If they don’t have a baby, they don’t pay a penny more.

No one has explained IVF insurance better than our brave Gaia Member, Emily

“In the same way that you insure your house or your car, it’s security in case you need it and if you don’t need it then it hasn’t cost you the earth.”
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