IVF Financial Assistance: Grants, Scholarships, & Free Care

Finding financial assistance for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) requires creativity and an open mind to alternative labels because the demand for free money consistently exceeds the supply.

Other online resources provide long lists of foundations that offer IVF grants or “scholarships.” However, most donor-supported organizations can help only a handful of couples each year.

Instead of following these ill-fated pathways, try something different: go after the deepest pockets, those with enough resources to make a meaningful impact.

The federal government, health insurance carriers, and pharmaceutical companies have ample financial capacity to help couples willing to think differently.

Grants for In Vitro Fertilization

In Vitro Fertilization grants are the most favorable financial assistance because couples do not need to repay the money. It is a gift from another party.

However, the demand for gifts unfailingly exceeds the supply. Therefore, couples need to think outside the box to make artificial reproductive technology more affordable.

Government Grants

Government grants for IVF have one significant advantage: deep pockets funded by endless deficit spending approved by Congress. However, no federal agency provides this type of funding directly to individuals for personal needs.

Begin at the grants.gov website to follow the money as it trickles down from federal agencies to specific organizations such as universities, state agencies, and non-profit organizations. If lucky, you could find a recipient near you that helps patients with infertility.  

Otherwise, attaching creative labels to other well-funded government-sponsored programs could prove a more fruitful strategy.

Insurance Mandates

Government grants for IVF can take the shape of insurance mandates that require issuing companies to cover specific procedures. Having a third party pay the majority of your treatment expenses is the ultimate form of financial assistance.

Eight states have IVF insurance mandates requiring healthcare companies to cover or offer plans for at least one cycle. The laws in the issuing state (employer-based group coverage) determine whether your policy must comply with this regulation.

  1. Arkansas
  2. Connecticut
  3. Hawaii
  4. Illinois
  5. Maryland
  6. Massachusetts
  7. New Jersey
  8. Texas

Tax Code

Government grants for IVF can also fall into the category of IRS-sanctioned medical expense tax deductions. Savvy couples could shave treatment expenses by about 30% per cycle by implementing a strategy with help from their accountant.

An example couple with a $100,000 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) can tap into three IRS-approved programs to realize significant cost reductions.

  1. Schedule A: is ideal for couples using shared-risk refund programs that bundle multiple cycles into one fee paid in a single tax year. Amounts above 7.5% of AGI qualify for savings of 22%.
    1. $30,000 * 22% = $6,600
  2. Flexible Spending Account: provides up to $5,500 in IVF financing without a credit check per year while reducing costs by 29.65% (22% + 7.65% FICA). Each partner can contribute $2,750 annually.
    1. $5,550 * 29.65% = $1,631
  3. Health Savings Account: allows couples to use pretax dollars to reimburse themselves for any treatment that occurred while their qualifying high-deductible health plan was in force, saving 29.65% on the entire fee.
    1. $15,000 * 29.65% = $4,447

Income Support

Government grants for IVF exist in real life for couples who expand their horizon to include the intended outcome of treatment: mom becomes pregnant, delivers her infant(s), and takes maternity leave.

Federal and state governments support three programs that lower hidden costs of bringing home an IVF baby.

  1. Income-based federal health insurance subsidies make it more affordable to purchase coverage optimized for women dealing with high-risk multiple pregnancies and premature birth (nationwide)
  2. Paid family leave programs provide income support while mom and dad spend quality time bonding with their baby (7 states)
  3. Temporary disability insurance replaces a portion of mom’s income before delivery while dealing with complications of her high-risk pregnancy (7 states)

Military

Military IVF grants are more abundant for both active duty service members and veterans. Because the government-provided insurance sometimes pays for artificial reproductive technologies, fertility clinics are more prone to offer discounts.

  • Both Tricare and Veterans benefits pay for IVF when a service-connected medical condition results in infertility. After qualification, they refer military and veteran couples to a local reproductive endocrinologist for treatment.
  • Fertility clinics frequently offer military and veteran couples discounts because their insurance could cover a large portion of treatment costs. Attracting profitable patients helps the practice while generating positive publicity in the community.

Private Foundation Grants

Couples can readily find a long list of private foundations offering IVF grants. Many non-profit donor-supported organizations share the same constraint: limited funding means they can help only a handful of prospective parents each year.

Most couples do not qualify for financial assistance from private foundations because the demand far exceeds the supply of donor money. Knock yourself out following the list of links published on other websites. 

Meanwhile, you might want to chase after deeper pockets using alternative strategies unique to specific occupations.

Teachers

Finding IVF grants earmarked explicitly for teachers could prove elusive as most charitable organizations care more about your infertility struggles than your job.

However, teachers have other advantages that can make IVF more affordable.

  • Educators can enroll in an NEA sponsored disability insurance plan that offsets income losses during prolonged pregnancy leave before childbirth
  • FMLA covers teachers across the country regardless of school size, guaranteeing twelve weeks of job-protected leave during maternity leave
  • Educators take long summer breaks every year and might find infertility clinics willing to discount services to smooth patient flow

Nurses

Likewise, IVF grants designed explicitly for nurses could prove hard to find, as most private foundations care about your income and life story more than your occupation.

However, nurses might take advantage of professional courtesy (not charging peers for healthcare) in limited circumstances. Just be careful about potential insurance fraud issues.  

First Responders

IVF grants for first responders also are scarce because private foundations typically do not trigger awards based on job roles. The heroic work of firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians seemingly offers only a slight advantage in this arena.

On the other hand, first responders’ gold-plated union-negotiated medical benefits could offer an enormous advantage over others with lesser coverage. Fertility clinics may promote discounts to attract patients with the financial capacity to afford treatment.

For instance, the Genetics & IVF Institute provides a 25% base discount to certain active full-time local and state government agency members who serve their fellow citizens as firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians.

Lesbians

IVF grants set aside exclusively for lesbian couples are scarce. Although many non-profits indicate LGBTQ-friendly, they do not discriminate when handing out awards based on other criteria.  

Meanwhile, lesbians have a unique advantage over straight couples regardless of occupation: they are more likely to conceive after one cycle and carry a baby to term, making treatment more affordable.

  • Donor sperm are highly motile and fertile
  • Reciprocal procedures offer two ways to improves success odds
    • Choose the most viable eggs
    • Pick the healthiest gestational carrier

Scholarships for In Vitro Fertilization

IVF scholarships might provide indirect financial assistance when at least one partner is attending college or graduate school. A scholarship is an award of financial aid for students to further their education at an academic institution.

Scholarships support higher education expenses such as room, board, tuition, and textbooks. You cannot use the money to pay for fertility treatment.

However, if you are working towards a degree while trying to conceive a baby, you have one advantage. The government funds scholarships for low-income families, making money more abundant.

Reducing education expenses frees up resources to pay for IVF.  

Single Mothers

Single mothers attending college while undergoing IVF qualify for scholarships readily because they frequently have low incomes. Juggling schoolwork, raising a child, and work responsibilities simultaneously is a recipe for poor earnings.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form to apply for need-based scholarships to reduce education expenses. The FAFSA criteria favor single mothers because they often have exceptional financial needs.

  1. Lower incomes associated with one wage earner households
  2. Fewer countable resources in families with dependent children
  3. Women over the age of twenty-four classified as independent

Cancer Survivors

Cancer survivors pursuing higher education while undergoing IVF treatment qualify for scholarships frequently because battling a dread disease leads to low incomes and depleted resources.

Cancer patients should also complete the FAFSA form to apply for government-funded, need-based scholarships. Left-over hospital bills and non-medical expenses for travel, meals, hotels, and lost income often lead to exceptional financial need.

Also, many private foundations support scholarships for cancer survivors. In many cases, the financial aid is merit-based: awarded to students with academic excellence, athletic, or artistic achievements.

Finally, cancer patients can sometimes get health insurance to cover medically necessary procedures to restore fertility lost during chemotherapy or surgery.

Chronic Illnesses

Other IVF patients with chronic medical conditions causing their infertility might be eligible for scholarships to attend college by following a similar strategy. However, it might prove more challenging to qualify.

  • Need-based assistance (FAFSA) is less sure when a chronic condition allows women to continue working
    • Endometriosis
    • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
    • Celiac Disease
    • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
    • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Merit-based financial aid (private foundations) specific to a particular illness are less available when they affect fewer people

Free In Vitro Fertilization Programs

Completely free IVF programs are sporadic because the total treatment costs are exceptionally high – an average of $15,000 per attempt. However, couples struggling with infertility can find financial assistance through bartering (offering something of value in exchange besides money) and similar strategies.

Free Clinical Trials

Free IVF clinical trials can help couples willing to act as lab rats in experiments in exchange for gratis treatment. Research groups and pharmaceutical companies often need to recruit study participants and may offer incentives to qualifying patients.

Finding a clinical trial that matches your medical condition, timing needs, and geographic preference is the trick. Begin with an online database search.

The clinical trials may run various experiments and can include placebos and tests of new devices and therapies. Many studies seek patients with specific medical issues.

  • Endometriosis
  • Breast cancer survivors
  • Repeated IVF failure
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Free Fertility Clinics

Finally, searching for free fertility clinics is unlikely to unearth a way to make IVF more affordable unless you have something of value to exchange besides money. Local clinics are private enterprises that need to generate revenue to cover their operating costs.

  • Consolidating your medications with a single pharmaceutical company can generate significant discounts as with the EMD Serono compassionate care program
  • Committing to bundle a variety of fertility clinic services together is another way to generate significant savings as with the WINFertilityRx medication programs
  • Egg sharing could reduce costs at a nearby fertility clinic by $5,000 to $10,000 for women under 30
  • Sperm sharing can lower fertility clinic costs by up to $1,000 per month for healthy men