The path to parenthood isn’t always easy, as infertility affects about 1 in 8 couples. For many, In vitro fertilization (IVF) can turn their dream of growing their family into a reality. Since insurance doesn’t usually cover fertility services, these couples often have to pay for IVF out-of-pocket.
Considering that a single cycle of IVF can cost more than $23,000 per patient, it’s no surprise that many couples turn to IVF loans and other financing options. Below, we’ll dive deeper into IVF loans and different ways you can fund your fertility journey.
What are IVF loans?
IVF loans are personal loans used to cover the costs of IVF. They can help you pay for medications, lab work, and the IVF treatment itself. Upon approval for an IVF loan, a lender will distribute a lump sum of cash into your bank account or send it directly to the fertility clinic. Then, you’ll repay what you borrowed plus interest via fixed monthly payments over a pre-determined period.
In general, you need good to excellent credit to qualify for an IVF loan from a bank, credit union, or online lender. The loan amounts can be anywhere between $1,000 and $100,000. IVF loans usually come with fixed interest rates, so you can calculate your total interest charges and the overall cost of your loan before you sign on the dotted line. Keep in mind that you may not get approved for the total cost of IVF and have to look elsewhere for funding.
Pros and cons of IVF loans
The benefits and drawbacks of IVF loans are:
- Immediate access to IVF treatment: Once you get approved for an IVF loan and receive the funds, you can start IVF right away. Fortunately, most lenders offer quick approvals and funding. Depending on the lender, you may get approved and funded the same day you apply, within 24 hours, or in a few business days.
- Flexible repayment options: You can choose a repayment term to meet your budget and preferences. While a longer repayment term means lower monthly payments, a shorter repayment term can lower your interest costs. In general, most lenders offer repayment terms ranging from 1 to 7 years.
- Fixed interest rates: Most IVF loans come with fixed interest rates. In turn, you’re provided with predictability in monthly payments and protection from rising interest rates.
- Potentially lower interest rates compared to credit cards: As long as you have solid credit, you may land a competitive interest rate on an IVF loan. A lower rate may lead to hundreds or even thousands in savings. Some lenders offer an APR as low as 7.99%.
- Your savings are protected: Using a loan can help preserve your savings and emergency funds for other essential expenses or unexpected financial needs. If IVF is successful, you’ll have various child-care expenses to plan for following their birth.
- Debt accumulation: Taking out a loan means accumulating debt. It will impact your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and other critical financial health metrics.
- Accrued interest costs: IVF loans come with interest charges. Interest will increase your overall cost of borrowing and can be pricey. This is particularly true if your credit score is low and you have to opt for a higher interest rate.
- Monthly payments: You’ll have a financial obligation every month that will tighten your cash flow. Additionally, if you don’t get approved for the total cost of IVF, you’ll have a monthly debt on top of other unpaid medical expenses. This can lead to financial stress and will likely require you to tighten or change your monthly budget.
- Strict eligibility and credit score requirements: Typically, you need a good or excellent credit score as well as a stable income to get approved for an IVF loan. If your credit is shaky, it might not be an option. Lenders willing to work with less than great credit often have higher interest rates — some as high as 35.99%. This can add a significant amount to the loan and bump the fixed monthly payments rather high.
- Uncertain outcome: IVF is not always successful, and there's no guarantee of a positive outcome. If the treatment doesn't result in a pregnancy, you'll still be responsible for repaying the loan.
Do fertility clinics offer IVF loans?
Fertility clinics understand that many patients are unable to cover the costs of IVF upfront. That’s why they often offer in-house payment plans or partner with medical loan companies to help them financially. Typically, loan sizes range from $5,000 to $50,000, with interest rates between 0% to $24.99%.
While you’ll need good credit and a stable income to get approved, you might be able to secure financing through a fertility clinic with bad credit or fair credit. However, you’ll have to accept a higher interest rate.
ARC Fertility and Future Family are two reputable lenders that work directly with fertility clinics across the U.S. to provide financing to their patients. While it may be convenient to secure financing through a fertility clinic and its partners, you should research and explore external financing options. By doing so, you may be able to land a lower interest rate or lock in more favorable repayment terms.
If your IVF clinic doesn’t offer fertility financing, you can always connect with a credit union, bank, or online lender. They may offer competitive rates and have flexible requirements, too.
Are there IVF loans for bad credit?
You can still get approved for an IVF loan with bad credit. However, you’ll likely have to settle for a high interest rate, similar to other types of unsecured loans that don’t involve collateral. In addition, you may not be able to borrow as much money as you’d like.
If you don’t mind waiting for IVF financing, it may be worthwhile to improve your credit score before you apply. Pay your bills on time, repay debt, and dispute any errors you find on your credit reports. Another option is to apply for an IVF loan with a cosigner who has good credit. If you go this route, keep in mind that they’ll be responsible for your payments if you default on your loan.
Alternative ways to finance IVF
Here are several other strategies to consider if you’re in need of funds for IVF treatment.
Explore IVF grants
There are many organizations, foundations, and fertility clinics that offer IVF grants to support couples facing infertility. Most of these grants require an application, application fees, and a background check. Several IVF grants you might want to look into include:
- Footsteps for Fertility: This grant is intended for patients going through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Frozen Embryo Transfers (FET), or up to three Intrauterine Insemination procedures (IUI) within 12 months.
- Hope for Fertility Foundation: The Hope for Fertility Foundation awards annual grants to couples who are coping with infertility and interested in IVF, surrogacy, or adoption.
- Pay it Forward Fertility Foundation: Grants from the Pay it Forward Fertility Foundation are for women under 40 pursuing IVF.
- Men Having Babies: Men Having Babies provides grants to same-sex male couples to cover IVF, egg donor, or surrogacy costs.
- The Tinina Q. Cade Foundation: The Tinina Q. Cade Foundation’s Family Building Grant pays up to $10,000 for low to moderate-income families struggling to pay for fertility treatments like IVF.
Crowdfunding is a fundraising strategy in which you collect small amounts of money from individual donors to meet a specific goal, like paying for IVF treatment. You can use a reputable crowdfunding platform, such as GoFundMe or Facebook Fundraising, to start a crowdfunding campaign for your IVF costs.
Share your campaign via email and social media with your friends, family, and anyone else who might support your journey to parenthood. You may be surprised to find that strangers and friends of friends are willing to contribute.
Don’t forget to be vulnerable and open about the out-of-pocket costs you’re facing and express gratitude to anyone who contributes. Also, wait until you’ve raised enough money to cover the entire cost of IVF or can finance the portion you didn’t raise before you move forward with your treatment.
Leverage home equity
If you own a home, your home equity can help you cover IVF expenses. Put simply, home equity is the difference between your home value and what you owe on your mortgage.
As you make mortgage payments, your share in ownership will grow and become a financial tool, enabling you to meet various goals — such as paying for IVF treatment. Here are several ways you can take advantage of your home equity:
Home equity loan
Also known as a second mortgage, a home equity loan uses your home as collateral and provides a lump sum of cash upfront. Lenders generally look for a minimum credit score of 680 and a debt-to-income ratio of no more than 43%. They’ll typically allow you to borrow between 80% - 85% of your home’s worth.
Home equity loans have fixed interest rates, creating predictable monthly payments you can budget for in advance. You may be able to score a lower interest rate compared to what an IVF loan can offer. Home Equity loan repayment terms range from one to thirty years.
Home equity line of credit
A home equity line of credit or HELOC is similar to a home equity loan. The difference, however, is it offers a revolving line of credit instead of a lump sum of cash. You can withdraw funds as you need them, up to a set credit limit.
You’ll have access to funds anytime during the draw period, which is usually for five to ten years. Then, the repayment period will begin, and what was borrowed turns into a principal-plus-interest loan. Repayment typically lasts from 15 to 20 years. HELOCs don’t have fixed interest rates — if rates rise, so will the rate on what you’ve borrowed.
Most lenders prefer a credit score of at least 650, but if you shop around, you may get approved for a HELOC with bad credit. Note that a lower credit score will likely lead to a higher interest rate and increase your monthly payments.
Home Equity Investment
A Home Equity Investment (HEI) is a great option if you want to tap into your home equity without taking on monthly payments. You can get approved with a minimum credit score of 500, and there are no income requirements.
Upon approval, you’ll receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for a portion of your home’s future appreciation. Repayment is a 30-year term, but you can pack your investment whenever without pre-payment penalties. You can do this through a home sale, refinance, or another funding source.
A cash-out refinance is when you replace your existing mortgage with a larger one and collect the difference in cash. While every lender has specific requirements, most look for a credit score of at least 620 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 40% to 50%.
Today’s high mortgage rates and hefty closing costs make a cash-out refi a risky choice. You’ll likely replace your existing mortgage rate with a higher one. Be sure to do the math to determine whether or not this strategy makes financial sense.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can cover the cost of IVF and turn your dream of becoming a parent into a reality. While you may be tempted to go ahead and take out an IVF loan, it’s well worth your time and effort to explore other, less popular options, like grants, crowdfunding, and home equity products. Best of luck in your journey to parenthood.
If you’re interested in an HEI to help pay for IVF, see how much you could qualify for by visiting point.com.