Everyone knows that infertility is expensive.
The average cost of one round of IVF is $12,000. That’s the price of a small car, an all-inclusive vacation around the world, 3,600 gallons of gas or 3,260 Starbucks Frappuccinos. And that $12,000 doesn’t even cover everything. There’s also the cost of those visits to the fertility specialist (about $250/visit,) infertility medications (about $2,000), fertility-related blood tests (about $300)…you get the idea…
“But insurance would probably cover…” Unfortunately, infertility care is not considered an essential benefit under most health insurance plans so they aren’t required to cover the treatments. Currently, only 18 states have fertility insurance laws. Some insurance plans will cover a limited number of attempts at certain treatments. Some plans will cover IVF but not the accompanying injections. And some don’t cover fertility treatments at all. For more information on infertility coverage by state, take a look at resolve.org.
Crowdfunding can be a great solution.
Needless to say, you mightttt need some financial help. Crowdfunding is a great way to give people the opportunity to support you financially as you go through IVF and other fertility treatments. Crowdfunding is raising small amounts of money from a large amount of people via the internet. This is sort-of a “group effort” of getting a couple to their goal. Essentially, collecting small amounts of money from a large number of people is easier than getting huge donations from a few people.
But it can also be a bit scary…
Sharing your infertility journey with the world is nerve wracking in and of itself…and asking people for money on top of that isn’t easy. If you feel uncomfortable asking people for financial assistance, consider asking a family member or close friend to set up the GoFundMe page and help spread the word.
Also, remember that there are many different options when it comes to crowdfunding other than just flat-out asking people for the money. You could have some sort of sale and indicate that the money made will go towards your IVF fund, a restaurant fundraiser, pledge challenges, etc.
Chatting with someone who’s done it.
To help give some further clarity to this process, I spoke with Jenna Glover Smith. Jenna and her husband Eric decided to move forward with IVF after 8 medicated cycles, including three IUIs. Since starting their GoFundMe page in February 2020, they have nearly reached their goal of $4,000 for the medications required for an IVF cycle. I spoke to Jenna and asked her a few questions about her crowdfunding experience.
Kayla: What/who encouraged you to start your GoFundMe page?
Jenna: I didn’t know anyone personally who had done it, but I’d heard of people who had. It just seemed like an effective way to tell people what was going on and get some help.
Kayla: How did you let people know about your GoFundMe?
Jenna: We posted on social media (both my husband and I.) We also did a restaurant fundraiser, so we pushed that more and the GoFundMe was kind of secondary. It was great for people who couldn’t come or wanted a more hands-off way of supporting us.
Kayla: What has the response been like? Would you encourage other couples going through infertility to try crowdfunding?
Jenna: The response was better than we were expecting! Just telling people about our infertility took a huge weight off, and everyone was so loving and kind. It was the support I wish I’d had through the whole journey. People were more generous than expected, some of the people who gave the most were those who had the least.
Kayla: Any other advice for those considering crowd-funding for infertility?
Jenna: Share your story and let people know about the experience you’ve had. Make sure you set a realistic goal and tell people how much this costs (most people have no idea that most of this isn’t covered by insurance)! Lastly, offer a few different options for crowdfunding (GoFundMe, have a yard sale, host a restaurant fundraiser, etc.) to appeal to people of different ages.
Infertility Crowdfunding Dos and Don’ts.
Crowdfunding can be a win-win. Not only can it help alleviate some financial stress, but it can also be a great way for your loved ones to help support you on this journey. There’s no right or wrong way to approach crowdfunding, but here are some basic dos and don’ts to help you get started.
- Set unrealistic goals
- Be greedy
- Beg for money or make people feel badly
- Share your story
- Be authentic and honest
- Communicate impact; let people know how their contribution will make an impact
- Be clear about where the funds are going and how they will be used
- Give numerous options/opportunities for people to give
Lastly, remember that it is okay to ask for help. If you don’t ask for help, the answer will always be no. Infertility SUCKS. IVF costs SUCK. But your friends and family want to show up for you, and this is a great way to give them the opportunity to do so.