The stress associated with saving for your child's college fund or retirement is well-known. The government has created many resources for relieving these financial burdens. Yet those of us who need to spend the equivalent of a year of college just for a chance to make it to the starting line have few options for financing the treatments that recreate what comes for free for other citizens. The average American simply can't afford fertility treatments even though they have the financial means to raise a child. It is extremely frustrating to watch other medical conditions have coverage to make treatments affordable or accessible while fertility treatments remain a consumer-driven industry with an astronomical price tag.
During our first tango with treatments (we are now embarking on adding to our family with fertility treatments again after over a year and a half of trying on our own), both my husband and I were working and we took the attitude of whatever-the-cost assuming that we would be able to pay it off at some point in the future. I had excellent insurance through my job that paid partially for all non-IVF treatments, procedures, and exams and 50% of IVF. Paying for fertility treatments seemed do-able, even for a middle school teacher and a non-profit arts administrator.
Fast forward to today and we're stuck between a rock and a hard place. Now our insurance comes through the District of Columbia rather than Maryland and we have very little coverage for non-IVF treatments, procedures, and exams and no coverage at all for IVF. We do not qualify for in-house financing programs, such as shared-risk, and the biggest injustice is that the people who will probably need multiple treatments to get pregnant and require the most medications have the least amount of options in terms of coverage.
We are refinancing our house and taking out more loans in order to add to our family. But it's decision time. We don't have the luxury of trying one or more paths to parenthood. Financially, we only have the means for the option that gives us the best chance--even if its not necessarily the best choice for our family as a whole. At the same time, I know we're lucky that we have a house we can refinance and that I have a husband who is willing to take on tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt to add to our family. And it makes me a little bitter that those are the silver linings I have in all of this.