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Making Fertility Treatments Affordable

Raising a child can be an extremely fulfilling and rewarding experience, but if you and your partner are like millions of other couples who have tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant the old fashioned way, conceiving a baby can seem like an impossible feat. Deciding you need help is tough enough. Now, you may be looking into treatment options and wondering how you're going to afford it all.

You probably don't have a savings account tucked away for things like infertility treatment, and your insurance may not cover the costs, but don't let that discourage you. Help is out there; you just have to know where to look for it. The following are some tips and comprehensive information on how to go about fulfilling your dreams of building a family without breaking the bank.

  • Read your insurance policy

    Whether you are fortunate enough to have health insurance or not, you may be surprised to learn that it is quite rare for any policy to cover infertility treatments. Some carriers do not classify infertility as a disease, while others consider the treatment process to be experimental or "medically unnecessary." As a result, adequate and consistent infertility coverage eludes many infertile couples.

    But before you assume that your infertility is not covered by your insurance, read your policy closely, as there may be a lot in the fine print that could benefit you. For instance, some policies cover infertility testing and diagnosis, which may include everything from office visits to blood work and ultrasounds. Help from your insurance provider covering these costs will save you a big chunk of change.

    Your policy may also cover "all recombinant gene technology drugs." The newer fertility injectables, such as Gonal-F and Follistim, fall under the recombinant gene technology drug category, so your insurance would cover their cost.

    The third thing to remember when dealing with insurance plans is that infertility is a medical condition. If you and your doctor can find a cause for your infertility - endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid problems, bacterial infections, etc. - then you have a strong argument for treatment of that medical condition. Many of these causes of infertility can lead to more serious health problems, so use what you know to show why your insurance should pick up the tab.

  • Identify expenses and shop around

    Before you can do any effective treatment planning, you should know what lies ahead. Unexpected expenses may cause stress that could have been avoided, and you don't need that! Set guidelines and boundaries early in your treatment about the options you want to consider and how far you want to go with them. Make sure to share your preferences with your doctor.

    Also, research and compare the costs and credentials of reproductive endocrinologists at fertility clinics in your area. Chances are you'll have at least a few to choose from and you'll be surprised at the differences in how much they charge for their services. One RE may charge $200 per office visit and another may only charge $115, an ultrasound for $465 versus $95 and so on. Usually, doctors at the more expensive clinics are no more experienced than those at the less expensive clinics. Just make sure they share their costs with you upfront. Don't sacrifice quality for cost, but don't choose an expensive clinic simply because it costs more. The same goes for fertility drugs. Paying more doesn't necessarily mean you have a better chance of getting pregnant.

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