NEW YORK (MainStreet) — In addition to dealing with the stress of infertility, couples are often weighed down by the financial burden of treatments. Now, the power of the Internet is helping couples afford fertility treatments through crowdfunding.

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“Due to lack of insurance coverage for infertility medical treatments, patients can be faced with high out-of-pocket costs,” says Barbara Collura, president and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. The average cost of just one IVF cycle is $12,400, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Typically patients require more than one cycle. Some 10% of women in the U.S. aged 15 to 44 have trouble getting or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

Some couples have turned to crowdfunding websites where they can tell their stories, post pictures, and campaign for donations to help ease the financial burden, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars and may not be successful.

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Glow First is another twist on infertility fundraising to help couples pay for fertility treatments. Couples contribute $50 per month to the nonprofit. Couples who haven’t conceived in ten months split the pooled funds, which Glow First pays to an accredited fertility clinic.

And then there are the fertility clinics themselves. Some of the larger clinics, such as Shady Grove Fertility in the Mid-Atlantic states, have money-back guarantees, known as shared-risk programs.

“The main Shared Risk 100% Refund Guarantee for IVF offers patients six fresh IVF cycles and any subsequent frozen embryo transfers for one flat fee of $20,000,” says spokesperson Courtney S. Cohen.

If a couple has a baby as a result of the first round, the couple will lose money compared with paying for each treatment. However, if the couple doesn’t have a baby, they don’t pay anything. (Associated costs such as prescreening tests, medication, and fees associated with obtaining donor sperm or eggs are not included in this deal.)

“We encourage patients to take the time to talk to their insurance provider and explore every option with them regarding coverage,” Collura says. “Also, take the time to meet with your fertility doctor and their staff to understand all the costs and any financing options they may have for their patients. Lastly, if you are willing to do it, let your employer know how important coverage for infertility is to you and for them to consider adding it to your company’s benefits plan in the next plan year.”

RESOLVE has a list of various financial assistance, grants and scholarships, and loan programs on its website.

Written by S.Z. Berg for MainStreet

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