Infertility is something that strikes 1 in 8 couples trying to have a baby. I was lucky that with my first two kids, I didn’t have to deal with issues getting pregnant. However, after divorcing and re-marrying, one of the hopes with my new husband was that we would be able to have a baby together. Unfortunately, this time around, it wasn’t that easy. Secondary infertility affects more than a million couples, and we were one of them.
Not only is this an extremely emotional process filled with stress, frustration, and sadness, but, unfortunately, it is also very expensive. And trying to balance the financial decisions of continuing treatment with the volatile emotions involved is difficult. Here are some ideas to help you navigate the financial aspects of struggling with infertility.
- Analyze your health care options at your next open enrollment. Most health care plans don’t cover fertility treatment, but research all your options and find out if any plans include coverage for testing or treatments. This can make a huge difference financially, even if it’s just partial coverage.
- Find out what you’re dealing with as soon as possible. If you’re trying to get pregnant and it doesn’t happen quickly, your doctor may recommend tests for both partners to determine if there is a cause for the delay in pregnancy. My doctor recommends getting tested after trying for one year in your 20s, 6 months in your 30s, and 3 months in your 40s. The sooner you know the type of treatment you may need, the sooner you can plan financially.
- It’s okay to juggle your savings goals to prioritize fertility treatment. Ideally, you’ll continue to take advantage of any employer match on your retirement plan, but don’t worry about maxing it out in the short term. You can also take a break on fully saving for a down payment on a house or other goals, such as college funding for other kids. Taking a break now means you will likely need to play catch-up later, but if you have the surplus cash to be able to divert to the payment of treatments, then it’s a good way to avoid going into debt.
- Take advantage of 0% credit card offers. If you don’t have enough cash available right away, you can utilize a new card with 0% interest to either transfer balances of existing debt or for new charges. Websites such as bankrate.com or www.nerdwallet.com offer comparisons of different credit cards to find one that best fits your situation. If you are faced with going into debt to pursue your treatments, try to pay as little interest as possible. Once the treatment is done, you can analyze the debt to determine the quickest payoff plan.
- Get on the same page with your partner (financially). Communicate with each other about how far you’re willing to go financially to try to get pregnant. This can be a difficult conversation and you may not be on the same page initially, but it’s important to figure out where you each stand. If you don’t talk about it, then it will just add to the stress you’re already dealing with!
- Try to relax. Studies show that the stress of infertility can actually make it more difficult to get pregnant. One study showed that couples were far more likely to get pregnant in the months they reported feeling “good” rather than the months they were stressed or anxious. Another study showed that women who were less stressed were more likely to produce more eggs during ovulation. So, take advantage of opportunities to relax such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, exercise or anything else that will help take your mind off of the process for a while. Finding a hobby or a passion to pursue can help you relax as well. I recently had a friend get pregnant while taking a break from fertility treatments and relaxing on vacation!
My fertility treatment process wasn’t cheap and it wasn’t covered by insurance. But the good news is that our baby girl, Mackenzie Jane, was born on March 23, 2018! It was a stressful and challenging (as well as expensive!) journey overcoming the obstacle of infertility, but the end result for us was totally worth it!