If you’ve considered working with an IVF clinic to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to become a parent — whether by carrying a child yourself or by using a gestational surrogate — you may have heard about IVF refund programs and IVF packages. IVF can be expensive; there’s no doubt about that. But can these programs really help you save money?
It’s always a good idea to speak at length with your fertility clinic and your surrogacy professional before deciding whether or not to utilize these programs in your surrogacy journey. Medical circumstances vary significantly in each person’s case, and what is right for one may not be right for another. Only your personal professionals can help you decide what is best for your family.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about IVF clinic refund and package programs, and whether or not they can help you become a parent without spending more money than you should:
What is an IVF Refund Program?
With an IVF refund program or shared-risk program, you would pay an additional (usually flat-rate) fee that pledges to return some of your costs if you (or your gestational surrogate) are unable to get pregnant in a set number of IVF rounds. These are often paired with IVF packages.
Not everyone may qualify for IVF refund programs. If you have factors that may increase your likelihood of failing to get pregnant, many IVF clinics don’t want to take on that financial risk. Qualifying clients usually have to be under a certain age, have little to no previously failed IVF cycles and a low BMI. These qualifications will vary from one IVF clinic to another.
What is an IVF Package?
IVF clinics often offer deals on purchasing packages or bundles of IVF rounds. You would purchase a certain number of IVF rounds, and the cost of each of those rounds would be lower than if you were to buy them individually rather than in a package deal.
You might need all of those rounds of IVF to achieve a successful pregnancy. You might need more than the rounds you buy in that package. Or you (or your surrogate) might only need one round to get pregnant. However, you would not be refunded for any unused rounds of IVF purchased in a package deal.
What are the Benefits of IVF Refund and Package Programs?
If you or your surrogate fail to get pregnant in that set number of IVF rounds, an IVF refund package could return some (but not all) of those costs to you so that you could pursue other family-building options with that money, such as adoption.
The benefit of purchasing IVF packages is that each round of IVF in the package is at a lower rate than if you were to buy each round individually without the package deal.
So, you would be spending more money up front — but there’s a chance that you’d save money if you have a hard time conceiving through IVF and need a lot of rounds, or if you are unable to conceive through IVF at all.
What’s the Potential Catch?
IVF clinics may weigh the probabilities of you or your surrogate getting pregnant before beginning your medical treatment. If they think you’re more likely to get pregnant quickly through IVF, they’ll offer you packages and refund programs. This way, if they’re right and you do become pregnant relatively quickly, they’ll be able to keep any extra money you spent on unused rounds of IVF. If they think you’re less likely to get pregnant, you won’t qualify for those programs, because they don’t want to risk the chance of having to refund your money.
Some people wind up spending thousands more to get pregnant through IVF than if they had purchased individual rounds of IVF, even if the individual rounds were higher cost per round.
This often means that those people aren’t left with enough in their budget for surrogacy or adoption, and IVF is no longer an option for them, either.
Is It Still Worth It?
There is a chance that you’ll come out of purchasing an IVF refund or package program having saved some money. That depends on whether or not you needed the additional rounds of IVF to successfully have a baby.
If you or your surrogate ends up getting pregnant surprisingly quickly, you might have spent a lot more money than you needed to, even if you were spending more money on individual rounds of IVF. The clinic will keep any additional money you spent on the unused rounds of IVF in the IVF package you purchased. There’s no real way to tell how fast you might get pregnant when you start IVF, if at all.
So, if you do fail to get pregnant through IVF, paying that extra money for the refund program could be beneficial, as you could use that money towards adoption or surrogacy fees. Then again, if you paid more for a refund program and you wind up getting pregnant, you will have lost that money.
Essentially, it depends on you how want to gamble on potential success or failure of IVF. With IVF, there is simply the possibility of not getting pregnant.
Infertility is unfair and frustrating, to say the very least. But remember — you are not alone and even if it doesn’t seem like it now, there are always paths to parenthood. To learn more about the surrogacy options available to you (including using a gestational surrogate to ensure the best chances of IVF success), you can always contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).