It’s no surprise when insurance companies see the word infertility or in-vitro fertilization they run, not wanting to help cover some of the cost. However, about six years ago, Brandi and Shelton Koskie was diagnosed with infertility, and could pay up to $20,000 for in-vitro fertilization, which was not covered by insurance, ABC News reported today. After being told about this news, they came up with a plan, to build a website, and call it BabyorBust.com, and to ask visitors for $1 donations towards their IVF.
Soon the couple were being invited to appear on national television and radio shows, raising $7,500 in small donations from all over the world. Through investing and saving money on their own, they did reach their goal of $20,000 within two years. Welcoming their daughter named Paisley on their first IVF attempt, who is now a toddler.
People look in all crazy ways to cover their infertility treatments
Said Ken Mosesian executive director of the American Fertility Association, a nonprofit group. Since health insurance doesn’t cover IVF in most states, couples have come up with new, aggressive ways to raise money, fast, because the more time passes, the less likely a couple is to conceive.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 6.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 45 have fertility issues, which is about 10.9 percent of them. However, only 15 states have laws that require insurance companies to cover infertility treatments, and seven of them specifically exclude IVF, according to the National Infertility Association.
Barbara Collura, the president and CEO of Resolve The National Infertility Association, said that they hunt for IVF funds has changed drastically in recent years.
Five years ago couples were taking out second mortgages on their homes, going into debt to pay for their IVF treatments, said Mosesian’s colleague, Patricia Mendell, a member of the AFA board of directors. Back then, Barbra’s organization would hold workshops on how hopeful parents could refinance their homes or get personal loans to pay for IVF. However new economic realities make it much harder in today’s world.
Think about how difficult it is now to get credit cards, a lot of things that people could access cash with are either gone or very, very different now.
Instead, people are turning to social media to ask their friends, families and strangers for money, either by building a website or just using a Facebook page. One couple even put a valuable Barry Sanders football card for sale on eBay last week to pay for IVF.
The positive aspect of this is that people are talking about infertility more than ever before, Collura said. That includes the Koskie’s, who have been open about Shelton’s birth defect, which prevents his sperm cells from getting into his semen. The couple receives one to two letters a day from couples struggling with infertility. The most interesting one she’s heard about is a San Francisco couple that hosted a political campaign style dinner, charging guests they invited on Facebook and Twitter $35 a plate.
Things could get easier for parents struggling to pay for IVF. A bill called the Family Act of 2011 is making its way through Congress, and it would offer a tax credit to help couples with out of pocket costs.
Until then, couples like the Koskie’s, and others like the Kassebaum’s of Palm Coast, Florida who struggle with infertility will just have to come up with new ways, since insurance companies will not recognize infertility.