Your student loan debt can be more than just a weight on your back. It can have a real impact on your life choices and when you choose to reach big milestones — if you go after them at all. One of those milestones that can be delayed is having children.
A 2018 survey from Future Family, a fertility care company, found that 44% of women respondents had student loan debt. Among that group, 50% of respondents reported that student loan debt affected their decision to have children. But if you’re a woman, the longer you wait, the harder it may be to get pregnant.
If that’s the case, you might have to turn to IVF loans while paying your student loans. You may wonder how it’s possible to manage both. Here’s what you should know about managing fertility loans and student loan debt.
Dealing with infertility
Starting a family is a big decision. If you’ve decided to have children but are having trouble getting pregnant, it can be an emotional and frustrating process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that 12% of women have difficulty getting pregnant.
If you’re having difficulty getting pregnant, you might consider intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).These two options can come at a cost, though.
Costs of IUI and IVF
The costs of IUI and IVF can vary, especially depending on how long you might need treatment. Jenny, blogger behind Living Life Loving Us, went to fertility specialists after having trouble conceiving.
According to her IVF story, she had a 0.1% chance of getting pregnant naturally and a 30% to 40% chance of getting pregnant through IVF. After trying IUI several times, she went through IVF and spent a whopping $90,000 to conceive her child. In her post, she describes having more than three IVF treatments, all of which were between $12,000 and $17,000, not including drugs or any testing.
Lisa Fox, a writer for the SproutCents financial blog, has $27,000 in student loan debt and spent $18,000 on IVF, with some assistance from her insurance.
“We wanted a child so badly that it was worth it to us in the end and still cheaper than adoption,” she explained.
As you can see, IVF can be expensive and require multiple rounds of treatment. IUI is typically more affordable than IVF and can be your first option for fertility treatments.
Michelle Argento, Coordinator of Enrollment Services at a community college, had $30,000 in student loans when trying to conceive her first child. It took nine months of IUI treatments and $11,000 to conceive her child. Michelle did have some insurance coverage to help offset the costs.
Currently, she’s trying for a second child and has $35,000 of student loan debt because of a grad school loan; she has estimated costs of $4,000 for two IUIs.
Managing student loan debt and fertility treatment
Deciding to pay for fertility treatments while managing student loan debt can be tough. That’s made even harder if you must take out IVF loans, which may have high interest rates.
But if your goal in life is to have a child, then consider your hopes and dreams first while trying to figure out the student loan payments.
“My advice is if you really want a child, don’t wait,” said Fox. “Fertility treatment effectiveness goes down after 35, and you can end up paying more for more rounds of treatment. See if you can negotiate your student loan payments down so you can save up for IVF. You will eventually have to pay more, but if you really want a child, it is worth it in the end.”
Income-driven repayment plan
You can consider deferring your student loans or go on an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan to lower your monthly costs. If you want to stick to that route and have a large student loan balance, you can opt for student loan forgiveness under IDR after 20 to 25 years, depending on your plan.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount, so it’s best to start saving for your tax liability through a brokerage or investment service like CommonBond.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you work in the nonprofit sector or are thinking of a switch, you could opt for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Under PSLF, eligible borrowers can have their loans forgiven after making 120 payments and serving in the public sector for 10 years.
Once you’ve worked those 10 years and made 120 qualifying payments, you can get all of your loans forgiven. The best part is that there are no tax consequences under PSLF.
Student loan refinancing
To save money on your student loans, you could consider refinancing, making biweekly payments or attacking your high-interest loans first. If you have private student loans, you want to ditch those first, as they come with fewer protections than federal loans. Those protections can be really beneficial when you need them.
“We waited until we paid off our private loans to conceive, and I’m so happy we did because our first was in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for a month. We couldn’t pay our loans with her new medical debt, but we qualified for hardship deferral with our public loans. It was a lifesaver,” explained Argento.
You want to consider your student loan repayment strategy when thinking of getting fertility treatments. Calculate the difference in payments under the various IDR options, what it would look like to defer, etc. Don’t consider only the cost of fertility treatments, but also how a child will affect your budget in the future, such as with childcare.
Getting fertility treatments can be expensive, and you might not have the cash on hand. You might consider IVF financing to help out.
If that’s the case, you want to get your student loan payments under control before taking on this new payment. Whether that means applying for IDR, deferring your loans or financing, take action now.
When looking at IVF financing, examine the terms, interest rates and eligibility requirements. When focusing on repayment, you likely want to focus on the IVF loans first and take advantage of the federal student loan protections and benefits.
“It’s worth it”
If you feel like having student loans is holding you back from getting fertility treatments, try to zoom out for a second. You’re more than your debt. Becoming a parent is a desire for many, and if that’s what you want, you should go after it.
Will it be easy? No.
Should you give up having children because of student loans? No.
“My student loans were a small factor in deciding to pursue IVF treatments. My son is worth a lifetime of student loan debt,” said Fox.
Though it will be tough managing both, living the life you want and pursuing your dreams is important. We’re all about integrating your student loan strategy into the life you want and not letting your student loans dictate the life you should have.
Need any guidance? Get in touch with us for a consult!