Before assessing any insurance policies or working out a strategic savings plan for your clients, it is important to have an understanding of what IVF can cost.
There are more than 90 registered IVF clinics in the UK. The cost of a IVF cycle usually includes your scans, egg collection, embryology and embryo transfer.
Research from Opinium in July 2021 put the average cost of a cycle between £2,000 and £4,500 in the UK, but this is more like the advertised cost – it is far from the actual cost.
Medication, tests, embryo freezing, egg or sperm donor fees and other additional procedures are not normally included in the cost of a cycle and are charged separately, along with consultation fees and additional follow-ups.
This can add up to £14,000 for a treatment cycle; no wonder many people go overseas to Europe for cheaper fertility treatment.
Our own IVF journey has cost me and my partner more than £40,000 of our joint savings over the past six years, as the NHS hospital in my postcode area would only provide one round free of charge.
We reduced our costs by getting our GP to book our blood tests, and asking the clinic to send a letter to our GP requesting the drugs on prescription, so we paid cost price (still more than £700 of our money) but far less than it would have cost otherwise.
We also relied on diligent Isa saving and switching on occasion between 0 per cent credit cards – but not everyone is able to fund world-class treatment out of their own savings, and many people have fallen into debt as a result.
One couple I know remortgaged their home to pay for 11 rounds of IVF after the NHS in their region stopped providing IVF services after two rounds.
Another woman borrowed almost £10,000 from her retired parents to help her overcome her fertility issues.
But while these costs are eye-watering, the question must be asked: why isn't infertility covered by protection policies? After all, workplace and personal medical insurance covers everything else – so why is fertility treatment classed as an elective procedure and, therefore, not covered by the vast majority of providers?
In fact, only one provider responding to this feature actually does make provision for fertility treatment within its workplace protection plan (Aviva PMI) but – and here's the rub – it depends on the employer whether or not they want to include it for their staff, because it all adds up to a higher premium.
So what can financial services professionals do to help their individual or corporate clients?
Firstly, help create a proper financial plan that includes access to cash savings, as while not everything requires treatment upfront, there will be sizeable bills coming through pretty much every couple of weeks.