assisted reproductive technology (ART) financingThere are many reasons why assisted reproductive treatments (ART) are gaining in popularity - constantly improving rates of success and growing social acceptance, for example. Different methods can be better suited to the needs of an individual couple, thanks to emerging technologies and advanced research. Even though the array of procedures interests more people, the cost of ART can be daunting to some candidates. One encouraging trend, however, may make the price tag easier to live with. A growing number of clinics are offering financing for the fertility treatments they provide.

Some healthcare insurance plans offer coverage for fertility treatments but the coverage is usually rather limited. For example, coverage may include one cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF), but not additional cycles, even though it may take several cycles to achieve success. A single cycle of IVF treatment can cost as much as $15,000.

Other insurance plans may offer coverage for fertility drugs but not IVF. The Affordable Care Act leaves the coverage decision to individual states, exchanges, and insurance providers. Fertility treatments are not a federally mandated part of the act.

Even when insurance coverage does pick up a part of the bill, the out-of-pocket expenses can add up quickly. Payment plans may be the ideal solution for people who want a family but can’t afford a hefty lump sum payment.

A recent article on a CBS affiliate’s website asks the question of the ethics of financing by fertility clinics. Is a payment plan, funded by the clinic itself, ethically acceptable?

Anthony Mazzarelli says it’s an OK thing to do. He’s an attorney, a bioethicist, and an emergency room physician at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey. He describes fertility treatments as a service and it’s not at all unusual for a service-oriented company of any kind to offer a payment plan to its customers. Furthermore, he thinks the option of financing will make fertility treatments an option for a larger market of couples who might not be in the position to undergo treatment without a payment plan.

Mazzarelli even brings passion into his justification for financing. People who turn to ART to have a family are passionate about the desire for children. The fertility specialists are passionate, too. “They are creating life where life has been hard to create,” says Mazzarelli. In a situation like that, passion just makes sense and so does finding a way to finance it.

Source: Durham, Michelle. “Growing Number Of Practices Offering Financing For Fertility Treatments.” CBS Philly. CBS Local Media / CBS Radio Inc. Dec 16, 2013. Web. Dec 17, 2013.