Cou­ples go into debt to fund IVF ba­bies

The Western Star - - Family Life -

EIGHT years, five rounds of IVF treat­ment and about $45,000 in out-of-pocket costs.

That’s what it took Annie and Neal Krempin to bring their new son, Leonardo, into the world as a lit­tle brother for their first child, Michael.

The Krempins are among a record num­ber of Aus­tralian par­ents fork­ing out tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to have chil­dren through IVF, and many go into debt to do it.

“We didn’t have IVF cover on our health in­sur­ance and were sur­prised by how low the IVF re­bate was con­sid­er­ing I had med­i­cal rea­sons for need­ing IVF,” Mrs Krempin said.

“In the end, every round cost us ap­prox­i­mately $9000 out of pocket when adding up med­i­ca­tion, doc­tor ap­point­ments, ul­tra­sounds, blood tests, day surgery, anaes­thetic and test­ing.”

Drained emo­tion­ally, phys­i­cally and fi­nan­cially, the cou­ple al­most gave up.

“Luck­ily for us, we de­cided to do one last round. And it worked,” she said.

Each IVF cy­cle can cost about $10,000, with pa­tients get­ting about half that back from Medi­care, but ex­tra costs such as egg col­lec­tion, em­bryo trans­fer and drugs can push out-of-pocket costs much higher. Just one in five IVF cy­cles re­sults in a live birth, Unilevels ver­sity of New South Wales re­search has found, so it’s lit­tle won­der some cou­ples are look­ing for loans.

Peer-to-peer lender So­ci­etyOne’s CEO, Mark Jones, said in the past two years his firm had seen a “sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in per­sonal loans used for med­i­cal use, and in par­tic­u­lar to fund IVF treat­ments”.

“Aus­tralians are in­creas­ingly seek­ing out greater fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity and ca­reer suc­cess be­fore start­ing to have chil­dren,” he said. “How­ever, fer­til­ity rates aren’t nec­es­sar­ily in­creas­ing in line with this.”

More than 15,000 IVF ba­bies are now born in Aus­tralia each year.

An­thony Keane

Pic­ture: iS­tock

EX­PEN­SIVE PROCESS: Out-of-pocket costs can soar for cou­ples us­ing IVF.

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