Struggling with infertility can be emotionally draining — and it can also cause major financial hardship.
The good news for families is that there are many options for fertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), and many ways to pay for them.
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Paying With IVF Loans
Coming up with thousands of dollars for IVF isn’t easy, but personal loans — some times called IVF loans in cases of infertility — are one way to get the funding you need.
However, before you decide if a personal loan is the right way to pay for IVF, you need to understand how personal loans work, and you need to shop around and find the right lender for your situation.
What Is a Personal Loan?
A personal loan is a type of installment loan where you borrow a fixed amount of money for a pre-determined time period. You can take out a fixed rate personal loan, which will have the same payment the entire loan term because the interest rate never changes.
Alternatively, you could take out a variable rate personal loan, which will typically have a lower starting interest rate that could increase in value — and raise payments — because it’s tied to a financial index.
Many lenders make personal loans available to qualified borrowers, including big banks, local banks, credit unions, online lenders, and peer-to-peer lending networks. All personal loans are paid back in installments — usually on a monthly basis — and you receive the entire borrowed amount up front after you’ve applied and agreed to terms the lender offers.
Some lenders specifically market IVF loans. However, you don’t have to get a loan marketed to people with infertility. General purpose personal loans can be used for anything you want, including IVF, IUI, and other medical interventions aimed at helping you build a family.
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Top Personal Loan Lenders
You have many options for personal loan lenders you can consider for IVF loans or general personal loans. Some of the best personal loans for IVF financing include:
- LightStream: LightStream offers fertility financing at rates starting as low as 5.74% with autopay discount. You can borrow between $5,000 and $100,000 and could take anywhere from 24 to 72 months to pay back your loan.
- Prosper: Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending network that connects you with investors who make loans. You can borrow between $2,000 and $40,000 and have your choice of a repayment period of three-year or five-year. Loan APRs range from 6.95% to 35.99%, and there’s an origination fee that ranges from 2.4% to 5%.
- LendingClub: LendingClub is another peer-to-peer lending network like Prosper. The APR on LendingClub loans is between 6.95% and 35.89%, and the origination fee is between 1% and 6% of the borrowed funds. You can borrow up to $40,000.
- SoFi: SoFi Loans are available for amounts ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. The loan rates are between 7.33% and 15.49%, and there’s no origination fee charged.
- Best Egg: You can borrow between $2,000 and $35,000 from Best Egg. There’s a choice of a repayment term of three- or five-year, and you’ll pay an APR between 5.99% and 29.99%. You’ll also pay an origination fee between .99% and 5.99%.
Eligibility and Applying for a Personal Loan
To get a personal loan at the best rates, you’ll need good credit. But there are also lenders such as Upstart and LendingPoint that provide funds to people with imperfect scores or to borrowers still building their credit.
>> Read More: Personal loans for bad credit
The interest rate you’ll pay will vary by lender and is largely based on your credit score, as well as other financial factors. Most lenders will need you to provide proof of income so they can ensure you’ll repay your loan. You will probably need to offer details about existing debts you owe so the lender can make sure you aren’t borrowing more than you can afford to pay back.
With most lenders, it’s possible to apply for financing online. Many allow you to check rates and loan terms without a hard credit check, which is important because too many hard inquiries on your credit report will reduce your credit score and affect your ability to borrow. Applications can usually be completed in a matter of minutes, and many lenders usually provide information right away on the rate and terms you’re eligible for.
When you decide to take out a loan, you might have to provide additional documentation proving your assertions about your income and debts. This could include bank statements or pay stubs. Some lenders will take a few days to review your documentation and finalize your application, while others do so within hours.
Once the lender’s reviewed all your info and you’re officially approved, your borrowed funds will usually be deposited directly into your bank account—minus any origination fees if the lender charges them. This is sometimes possible the next business day, but some lenders take a week or longer to get you your funds.
You can then use the money for IVF and will pay the loan back in accordance with your agreement with the lender.
Benefits of Personal Loans
Using IVF loans can have many advantages. Some benefits of personal loans include:
- The ability to borrow a large amount of money. You can take out loans for up to $100,000 or more with some lenders. The ability to borrow a lot is important because IVF is so expensive. If you applied for a credit card, you might not get a large enough line of credit.
- Relatively low interest rates. If you’re a well-qualified borrower, you’re likely to receive competitive interest rates on personal loans. Rates are usually well below credit card interest rates, which makes paying off your loan more affordable.
- A set repayment timetable: You know up front exactly how long you’ll have to pay off your loan, so it’s clear how long it will take you to become debt-free. And if your loan has a fixed rate, you’ll also have the certainty of knowing exactly what your total monthly payments and total loan costs will be.
- Unsecured loans: Most personal loans do not require any collateral. If you take out other types of loans, such as a home equity loan, you will need to use your house as collateral—which means you put your home at risk of being lost in the event you can’t repay your loan.
- Flexibility in funding: You can get a personal loan from a lender of your choosing, choose your loan term, and have the ability to use the money when and how you want.
Downsides of Personal Loans
There are also some downsides to consider when taking out IVF loans, including the following:
- You may still pay a lot of interest: Although the rates on some personal loans are relatively low, other loans have high rates topping out at 30% interest. And even with low-interest loans, you could still pay thousands of dollars in interest over time—especially if your loan has a long repayment period.
- Some loans have origination fees: Depending upon your lender, you may have to pay an upfront fee for your loan. This can mean big costs and having to pay back money you paid out as fees.
- Not everyone can qualify for a personal loan: If you can’t qualify based on your credit or income, you won’t have the option to get a personal loan.
Alternative IVF Financing
If you don’t want to take out a personal loan or can’t qualify for one, you have a few other options, including the following.
Your IVF clinic may allow you to charge your services on a credit card. If you already have a card open with available credit, this option could be quick and simple. You could also apply for a credit card with a 0% promotional APR on purchases for a set time after the card is open. A 0% APR card could potentially give you up to 15 months to pay for the IVF cycle you charged, depending upon the card’s terms.
If you can’t qualify for a 0% APR, you should know that the high interest rates most cards charge can mean you’ll pay a lot of interest when you borrow for IVF. And if you max out your credit card to pay for your fertility treatment, you will hurt your credit score, because you need to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30% to get the best score.
Some clinics offer financing for IVF. Often, this is done through a partnership with third parties. Using clinic financing can simplify the borrowing process because you won’t have to find a separate lender and wait for funds. Some clinics offer special rates, such as 0% interest for a certain time or financing at a low rate. This could make your loan affordable.
Specialized medical loans are also available through many lenders, including LightStream. Depending upon the lender, the rates and terms will often be similar to personal loans. These loans are typically unsecured, and you can pay back what you’ve borrowed over several years.
How Much Does IVF Cost?
The IVF process requires not only costly drugs but also a lot of monitoring during the process. As a result, it comes at a hefty price. The average cost of a single cycle of IVF is $12,000, not including medications, which can add another $1,000 to $3,000 to the bill.
Some fertility clinics charge more for the medical treatment — and specialized add-ons such as ICSI treatment and PGD treatment also drive up the price. ICSI involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg and is often required in cases of male-factor infertility, while PGD is genetic testing of embryos that may be necessary if parents are carriers of genetic conditions. Freezing of embryos adds additional costs as well, although frozen embryos can be used for another transfer if your first IVF fails. Frozen embryo transfers are far less costly than fresh IVF cycles.
Unfortunately, while the cost of a single cycle is a substantial financial burden for many families, it’s not uncommon for couples to require several cycles in order to successfully conceive. This can add additional expenses. And families who need egg donors could expect to pay between $25,000 and $30,000 per cycle due to additional expenses associated with using a donor egg.
Bottom Line: IVF Financing Is Available
Don’t give up your dream of having a family because of the high costs of IVF treatment. You have plenty of options for IVF financing, whether you opt for an IVF loan targeted towards fertility patients or a general personal or installment loan that allows you to use the funds for anything you want.
Just make sure you shop around among online lenders, your clinic, local banks, credit unions, and other providers of medical and personal loans to find the best fertility financing for your needs.
*Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 9.34% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $319.58. LightStream disclosures here.
Author: Christy Rakoczy
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