29 Ways to Cut Costs on Fertility Treatment in Maryland

Making Fertility More Affordable

Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by any organizations linked within.

I suspect you’re reading this because you, yourself, or someone you know is being faced with proposed treatment options from a fertility center on a path to parenthood. First and foremost, I want to say you have my heart, hugs, prayers, and best thoughts as you are on your particular journey. It is mentally and physically taxing – and I wouldn’t wish this diagnosis on my worst enemy.

You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.

Second, I suspect you’d like to make your treatment more budget-friendly and affordable. Here are some of the many ways you can bring costs down from out of the stratosphere:

Seek Treatment Early

1) The younger you (and your partner) are seen, the more time you’ll have on your side and the greater chance of success on fewer round(s) of treatment. Those of AMA (advance maternal age) or DOR (diminishing ovarian reserve) may not qualify for “shared risk” programs, as discussed later in this post…so again, the earlier the better.


2) If you haven’t yet started with a particular clinic or a consultation* with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE), consider joining email lists and attending educational events, such as webinars or seminars, offered by clinics local to you (or ones that specialize in your particular needs and offers high success rates for your particular diagnosis or treatment). Shady Grove Fertility (SGF), with nearly 30 offices conveniently located up and down the Eastern Seaboard in the U.S. has had over 50,000 babies born since its founding in 1991. And, based on 2016 CDC stats, SGF was the busiest IVF clinic in the United States, hence using it in my examples throughout this post. Its relatively new Rockville lab is the largest IVF lab in the U.S. (Washingtonian: Shady Grove Fertility Started as a Tiny Maryland Clinic. Now It’s the Country’s Biggest Babymaker.)

*Inquire with your selected fertility clinics if your initial consultation (and potentially what testing) is covered by your insurance.

3) If your clinic has a financial counselor available, take advantage of this person’s knowledge. They are going to be your best resource to determine coverage that meets your treatment needs. State exactly what you need and be sure to research the right questions to ask. Be honest regarding your financial resources when speaking with this individual. They’ve seen worse situations than yours and it’s their job to make this work for you (or they wouldn’t be in business).

Health Insurance & Programs & Taxes

4) If you are seeking treatment as a couple, and are both working, compare fertility coverage to that of your spouse’s workplace insurance plan. Take advantage of open enrollment periods (a period at your spouse’s employer allows you to change to your plan too) and qualifying life events. Does one of the plans offer an HSA (Health Savings Account) or HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement) plan that come (perhaps even partially) pre-funded by the employer? The spouse undergoing egg retrieval will need to be on that plan to gain access to the funds.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):

Since the 1980s, 15 states—Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia—have passed laws that require insurers to either cover or offer coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment. Of those states, thirteen have laws that require insurance companies to cover infertility treatment and two states—California and Texas—have laws that require insurance companies to offer coverage for infertility treatment.

That does not necessarily mean you need to be a resident of one of those states. What it does mean is the state where your insurance plan is based has to adhere to those laws. If you or your partner’s workplace insurance plan stems from the state in which your organization is headquartered, that may give you additional coverage.

5) An overwhelming majority of the costs fall to the female undergoing treatment. If neither workplace insurance plans offer the coverage needed, consider opting into a state insurance plan for just the individual going through treatment. In Maryland, there is the Maryland Health Connection – Maryland’s health insurance marketplace / exchange. Enrollment generally begins on November 1 and ends on December 15 each year to cover the following year. Special circumstances may allow for enrollment outside of that period. You can cancel the plan once it’s no longer needed (make sure you have a secondary insurance to become your primary before doing so)! Consider an example where you opt-in to a state plan as your new primary plan by the enrollment deadline, still having your, or your spouse’s, workplace insurance plan as secondary. Then, you go through a round of IVF treatment, starting January and through March. You might want to cancel your plan after April, if you’ve neared the second trimester without complications. In this example, the cost of four months of insurance premiums may be lower than that of the treatment coverage…another option to weigh at the get-go.

Over two dozen tips to bring fertility costs down out of the stratosphere. Some big, some small. Every dollar saved helps. #ttc #fertility #niaw Share on X

6) Some insurance plans have limitations on the number of rounds of treatment or a dollar cap on treatment. Let’s say the plan offers three rounds of IVF covered in the same calendar year. You may want to get started immediately in January of that year. Assuming each round takes about three months and a month+ off of rest in between that would give you time to get all necessary rounds covered. Note that most insurance plans renew at the beginning of the year which can lead to longer insurance pre-approval wait times in the month of January. Be as patient as possible.

7) Use your deductibles to your advantage. Have you already reached your annual out-of-pocket deductible, or are getting close? It might be time to jump on a treatment round before the end of the plan year is up.

8) Contribute the annual maximum amount to your HSA plan. You spend this money tax free on qualified medical expenses. (To have an HSA or HRA cover freezing and storage fees, you may need to present the insurer a Letter of Medical Necessity, provided by your doctor’s office).

9) Does your clinic offer a “shared risk” program with guaranteed results or your money back? If you qualify for this plan, it may be something to consider. Generally there is a greater up-front cost to this because you’re insuring everyone else in the “shared risk” program. But then again, it’s guaranteed or you get your money back.

10) What about a multi-cycle discount program at your chosen clinic? There may be a discount offered for x number of rounds for one flat-fee.

11) Does your clinic provide discounts to military? Yet another question to ask.

12) Look into Compassionate Care Programs that can offer financial assistance to low-income couples.

13) Track ALL of your family’s medical expenses in the plan year in a spreadsheet (such as cloud-based Google Sheets), including mileage to/from appointments. Keep all receipts. You can deduct medical expenses that are in excess of 10% of your adjusted gross income come tax time.

14) Find out if your fertility clinic offers any low-cost financing options.

Employer Benefits

15) Perhaps you’ve heard of Starbucks offering fertility coverage to its employees? I’ve also heard of Maryland county public educator friends having a significant portion of their treatment covered. Investigate your options based on where you reside.

Selecting Treatment

16) If IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) is a treatment option based on your specific diagnosis and time is on your side, go with this option first. Since there is no egg retrieval surgery, as there is with IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), there won’t be costs for the surgery, and therefore the potential for: ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), genetic testing, assisted hatching, freezing and storage fees. Exhaust this option when there’s time on your side.

17) If IVF is your determined treatment plan, check all the boxes to pre-approve ICSI, genetic testing (if there’s a cause for concern), assisted hatching, freezing and storage fees. But, Amy, you’re asking me to spend even more money? Yes, in this case, giving the lab the most options gives you a greater chance of not having to go through yet another round of ovary stimulation and egg retrieval = $$$ (not to mention the mental and physical toll).


18) Medication is often the most overlooked, and at the same time, highest cost during the treatment process. You’re ordering highly-specialized, synthetic hormones to stimulate your reproductive system. If your insurance plan does not require that you order your medication through a particular direct-ship pharmacy, consider the following sites and/or smart device apps to help you find medication for less:

19) Ask your pharmacy for the out-of-pocket costs versus post-insurance. You may find that one is drastically less expensive than the other, because often drugs are marked up pre-insurance.

20) Ask your clinic to prescribe the lowest cost medications available for your protocol.

21) Ask your clinic for medication samples to see what they have on hand.

22) Ask your TTC (Trying to Conceive) “sisters” in any support groups you’re in for non-expired, non-used (non-prescription) medication that meets the list required for your particular protocol.

23) Check out U.K.-based IVFmeds.com, though you will need both a signed copy of your prescription (let your nurse coordinator know you are price shopping your meds) and you’ll need to source loose syringes locally (as those can’t be shipped from IVFmeds to the U.S., from what I hear).

24) Consider taking a medical vacation, where the procedures and medication costs may be lower.

Grants & Fundraising

25) Look for grants! Tinina Q Cade Foundation (Cade Foundation) offers financial assistance family building grants. They have two application windows annually, to apply for up to $10,000 in assistance. February 1st is the deadline for the Spring grant review, with decisions announced by June 1st. July 1st for the Fall grant review, decisions announced October 15th.

Be careful when applying for any / all grants that you read and adhere to the details carefully. The funds might not be available to you by the time you need them and/or you could void the grant by not adhering to its specifics (i.e., some may require that you are fundraising on your own first). Therefore you may need to prepay funds to your clinic in whatever means is possible to you while you await the grant monies owed.

26) I’ve yet to hear a GoFundMe.com fertility fundraiser be wildly successful, however you may need to go that route in order to prove to a grant organization that you are fundraising on your own in addition to the grant application.

27) If you have a MLM (multi-level marketing) sales representative connection, you may want to ask if they would consider throwing a fundraising party for you.

Win Treatment

28) Each June, the Cade Foundation along with sponsoring-host SGF, hold the annual Maryland Race for the Family walk / run event at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Though this is ultimately a fundraiser event for the Cade Foundation, every adult participant is entered into a raffle for a chance to win a free** round of IVF treatment. You can purchase additional raffle tickets or bring a large group with you that can gift you their prize if they win. Remember: You can’t win if you don’t enter!

Maryland Race for the Family
2019 Maryland Race for the Family

This year’s event is taking place on Saturday, June 16th at 8am and includes that day’s admission into the zoo, a race t-shirt, a playground for children, entertainment, not to mention the all-important bonding with other couples in your shoes, etc.

**Medication and/or costs beyond that of SGF are not included in the prize.

Test Kits

29) Get your ovulation predictor kit and pregnancy tests at your local Dollar Tree. They’re just a buck. Don’t buy into the marketing hype of any name brands. And, remember with any of these over-the-counter (OTC) kits, there’s always a small chance of error. Check with your own doctor to retest and verify results.

Save More

While it’s not a way to “cut costs,” there are definitely ways you can increase your savings in the short-term:

  • Prioritize your spending buy budgeting and sticking to it (perhaps reverse budgeting is the way to go)
  • Examine your monthly subscription service bills
  • Eat out less, dine at home more
  • Stop buying coffeehouse coffee (or cut out caffeine altogether)
  • Both parties in the couple, stop buying alcohol while dining out (or cut out alcohol altogether)
  • Do your own manis, pedis at home
  • Scale back what you spend at the hair salon
  • Don’t do any big residential moves
  • Don’t buy another vehicle (in fact, you may want to sell one?)
  • Cut out cable television
  • Go on a travel hiatus (as a matter of fact, it’s rather difficult to travel when you’re in the middle of treatment anyway)
  • Or, scale back on your travel expenses
  • Sell your unwanted stuff on eBay, CraigsList, Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, etc.
  • Blog about your journey for extra income
  • Say “no” to “wants” and only buy things you “need”

Got more ideas? Let me and my readers know how you saved money on your fertility treatments in the Comments below! Share the wealth of knowledge.

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Mom of three littles, and a small business supporter, Amy Lynn, is the woman behind the Saving Amy blog, covering a broad range of topics with an ultimate goal to encourage and inspire you to save both money and time.Have a sunny day! Have a sunny day!