Historically when the economy is in shambles family size decreases and couples think more about the financial impact of having a child than they might when the economy is robust. I imagine that a down economy also affects people’s approach to infertility and fertility treatments. One of the biggest stresses for me when pursuing IVF was the exorbitant cost of the treatment. When we found out that we were expecting twins, that stress about finances was amplified. We went through our IVF cycle almost two years ago, before the economic fall-out and I was still overwhelmed. I can’t imagine what couples are facing today – financial stresses are tough on relationships even before infertility is thrown into the mix and now with lost jobs, savings and investments taking a big hit, and soaring prices of everything from groceries to gas looking at a big bill that is not covered by insurance is surely daunting.
The cost of infertility treatments in this economy could force couples to put their dreams of starting a family on hold and wait for the economy or their personal financial situation to improve. Time, as we all know, is not on our side when it comes to fertility and the decision to wait can be heartbreaking. No couple should have to choose between having a child and securing their financial future, but the sad truth is that if jobs are lost, bills are going unpaid, and savings are non-existent then you are going to be hard-pressed to believe that pursuing fertility treatments is the prudent decision.
As with most things in the infertility world, the best answer is to talk with your partner (with a counselor if necessary) and do what is really right for you. As scary as it can be to spend so much money in the midst of economic upheaval there are things that can be done to make treatments more financially feasible. If time is of the essence, either because of the woman’s age or because now is the time that you are ready to try to have a child then don’t let a down economy make the decision for you. There are financing options available for IVF – you can look into a refund program to see if you qualify, you can search out studies in which you can participate in exchange for treatment, you can try to get a loan for the IVF treatment from a bank, an IVF lender or maybe even a family member, you can talk to your clinic to see if they have a medication donation program (many do), or you can look at ways that you can scale back your lifestyle to create more disposable income.
It is tough, and there are some that just won’t be able to make it work financially or who do think that a couple of years are worth the wait to get back on solid financial footing. If, however, you do decide that the time is right for you to try to conceive with reproductive assistance be creative and you might just be surprised to learn that you can make it work. By having important discussions with your partner or spouse about finances you can truly become a team and together you can ensure that the economy doesn’t affect your dreams of a family too!