Financing infertility treatment is an expanding business. There are shared risk and financial aide programs at infertility clinics, individuals are crowd-sourcing their medical bills, medical finance groups are making IVF specific loans, and a new internet company claims they can advocate for discounts at clinics for you – although it is not clear what that means. For better and for worse, for profit or not, Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are expensive and many are looking to play the financial game.
Considering this variety of financial options available, infertility treatment can feel like a gamble. In her recent NYTimes Blog, Amy Klein asks one of the big questions about the IVF gamble, “How much would we be willing to spend?” For many experiencing infertility and seeking treatment, finances are yet another area where a delicate balance must be struck. Either extreme – nothing or anything – is not usually the answer but is possibly an extreme exit strategy. One IVF averages $12,400. Based on the statistics, what if it take 3? What if a donor is needed which adds another $20,000 for each attempt? What if your cash savings is only$10,000? In other words on top of the ups and downs of the infertility roller coaster, you can add figuring out how much financial risk can be tolerated.
That risk and its emotional toll were major reasons why Hasidah was founded.
Assuming the costs involved for the treatment are legitimate and the statistics reliable, the question of how much we are willing to pay is a difficult one. Beyond the individual decision, there are also larger contextual questions. How can the Jewish community ignore the low birthrate? At a time when the length of young adulthood is expanding and affiliation is contracting, can we risk not addressing those who want to build the Jewish community through children? If we can ease the pain of people experiencing infertility, is this a good use of our resources?
Anybody choosing to start a family is taking a risk. Parenthood is a gamble. But ignoring infertility is too high of risk to take for the Jewish community. It is not only alienating those currently in need, it is severing hope for future generations. We can assume some of the risk by providing financial and emotional support to those who are committed to building Jewish families. Financial assistance for ART could lead to successful outcomes for having children. It could also support better emotional health and financial security for those families. That is not a gamble. That is a good investment.