According to data published by the National Health Statistics Reports in 2014, 12 percent of women aged 15-44 or their husbands or partners have ever used infertility services. However, treatments such as in vitro fertilization or surrogacy can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Here’s an opportunity to dig into the data and shed some light on how people in your area are dealing with these costs. Consider these potential story angles.
Not just for heterosexuals
Remember that while the default assumption might be that heterosexual couples are the ones seeking fertility treatment, that’s not always the case. Some single women freeze their eggs (in fact, some startups now pay for this as an employee perk) or use a sperm donor, and same-sex couples also use fertility treatments such as surrogacy or sperm donation to produce a biological child. Don’t exclude these scenarios from your coverage.
Major changes are likely coming to healthcare this year, but as it stands now, a handful of states require insurers to cover infertility treatments or to offer coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment. It’s worth mentioning if your state is among them. But even then, couples or individuals may have out-of-pocket costs. Some employers provide assistance with fertility treatment or adoption costs even if their state does not require it be covered by insurance. Since healthcare billing in general can be confusing to consumers, an explainer on negotiating medical bills (related to fertility costs or not) or when to seek the help of an independent medical billing specialist might also be helpful.
Not all women conceive on their first round of treatment, so multiple treatments or multiple rounds might be needed. How do local couples or individuals fund the out-of-pocket costs of fertility treatments? Do they set up crowdfunding campaigns? Seek contributions from hopeful grandparents or their church? Sign up for zero-interest credit cards? Are there any foundations such as Baby Quest providing grants to hopeful parents in your area? Profiling a local couple or individual who’s gone through this process and is willing to share how they did it could help shed some light on these questions. Or perhaps you can find someone who’s contemplating the process and pair them with a certified financial planner to help compare options and write up the CFP’s recommendations for readers in a similar scenario.
• FertilityIQ.com crowdsources patient evaluations and data on fertility doctors and costs for various procedures.
• ReproductiveFacts.org is published by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and includes fact sheets in several languages. It also includes details on state infertility insurance laws.
• SART.org is the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology’s website and includes data on success rates at clinics. Keep in mind that the client base varies across clinics so it’s rarely a true apples-to-apples comparison.