In this “Fertility Chronicles” blog, we continue to discuss ways patients can manage the costs of their IVF treatments. To help you make a more informed financial decision on IVF, check out the free online Univfy IVF Cost Calculator. Our calculator can help you decide between various IVF packages available from your clinic, given your chances of IVF success.
At 26, Stevy Brown is already a fertility patient. Stevy is among those for whom in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be the only way she can have a baby.
After losing her right ovary at 13 and undergoing surgery on her left ovary last year due to rapidly growing cysts, Stevy was told that she had poor chances of IVF success as a result of her low ovarian reserve and anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) levels. She says most fertility doctors would not perform IVF on her, especially under a shared risk program where the clinic shares the financial responsibility if her cycle fails. Though her insurance coverage is great, it only covers diagnostic testing, and as a young professional in D.C., it’s hard to come up with the $20,000 she needs for fertility treatment.
For some, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the only chance of having a baby. For many of these women, IVF treatment is also prohibitively expensive. IVF costs upwards of $15,000, and according to a 2012 poll conducted by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, only 29% of couples received insurance coverage to help pay for fertility treatment. Others had to dip into savings or take on credit card debt to afford treatment.
Stevy found a solution. While researching options for financing fertility treatment, she saw an article about crowdfunding, or fundraising via the Web from friends and even strangers. “I was inspired to seek support from family and friends,” says Stevy. She created a campaign, entitled “Stevy’s hope to preserve fertility” on the crowdfunding site Gofundme.com, which hosts over 120 campaigns for fertility treatment. Stevy shared her page through Twitter and Facebook. Other popular sites for crowdfunding infertility treatment include Indiegogo.com and Giveforward.com, created specifically for medical expense fundraising.
Over 80 people donated to Stevy’s cause, many of whom she would not have thought to contact. Crowdfunding also helped Stevy to build a support network, connecting with other women struggling with infertility. “Anyone who seeks fertility treatment is always in the same position, no matter the situation, or age,” she says.
However, crowdfunding fertility treatment is not for everyone. Many couples don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal struggles or asking for financial assistance. Some are worried about the criticism they may receive from friends or family.
Stevy believes that one of the advantages of using GoFundMe is that she could use a wish list to make it easier for people to donate to her cause. For some, it’s easier to understand purchasing something specific, such as an ultrasound for $100 or fertility drugs for $50.
So far, Stevy has raised $4,845 in five months of the $12,500 she needs for her oocyte cyropreservation (egg freezing) procedure and drugs to preserve her fertility until she is ready to have a baby. However, due to her low ovarian reserve, she’s not an ideal candidate for IVF treatment. Though she’s already been told by doctors she has low chances of success, she believes the Univfy PreIVF test can help her better understand her personalized chances of IVF success. She says that information could help her make an informed decision about taking on the emotional, physical, and financial difficulty of IVF treatment. “The Univfy test would be helpful especially, since I have low ovarian reserve,” she says. “It would be good to know what my chances actually are, and that would help me make the right decision financially.”
How do you set up a crowdfunding campaign? GiveForward provides a step-by-step guide to both setting up and optimizing your page. You start by setting up a page where you share a compelling story. Letting people know who you are, what you are raising money for, and how their donation will make a difference all improve your odds of success. Most experts recommend being as transparent as possible and sharing lots of pictures and videos.
Once your page is complete, the next step is to share it. For many couples pursuing fertility treatment, this is the hardest stage, as it involves baring your plight. Many couples will initially only share their page with family and close friends as an opportunity to ask not just for monetary help, but also for emotional support and acceptance. The majority of funding for personal causes comes from friends and close acquaintances. However, the larger your audience, the easier it is to reach your fundraising goal. To this end, GiveForward, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe all offer the ability to share your page through social media for maximum exposure. All three sites also offer a way to track your progress and post updates to your campaign. You can share news from doctors’ visits, IVF cycles, or even ultrasounds as you progress through your pregnancy.
The final step is to collect your funds. When you’ve reached your goal, or you’ve ended your campaign, you can collect the funds you’ve raised through a personal check mailed to your home or through a Paypal transfer. Indiegogo.com charges a percentage fee for fund-raising, and an additional fee for credit card processing (7% to 12% of the funds raised, depending on which pricing option you use). Giveforward.com takes 7% of the donated money. GoFundMe.com charges a 5% fee and an additional 2.9% processing fee.
Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular option for financing fertility treatment and has made creating a family a reality for many couples.
To view Stevy’s GoFundMe page or to donate to her campaign, click here.