Deciding to have children together is a monumental decision. It can be an exciting and hopeful time to embark on this journey together. But when trying to conceive lasts longer than you both think it should, it can be frustrating. Seeking out fertility treatments like IVF and IUI can add to the stress. During and after IVF, there are still many ways for you and your spouse to stay connected.
While undergoing treatment for infertility might be one of the most difficult periods of you and your partner’s life, it can also be a time to strengthen your relationship. Here are a few ways a couple can connect with one another emotionally and physically during and after IVF treatments.
Throughout IVF Treatments
Honor One Another’s Contributions
It doesn’t matter what part of the journey to parenthood you are on, honor your unique journey and contributions toward having a child together. There will always be moments that you might shoulder more of a burden, but the same is true of your partner.
Holly Schechter, who went through IVF with her husband, explained how hard it was for her at first to consider herself as part of a team. She writes, “I had kept him [my husband] a bystander; I sought satisfaction in martyrdom. And I carried a grudge, too; it was difficult to acknowledge that this wasn’t solely my burden to bear, just because it was solely my abdomen…We would spend almost two more years sitting at our kitchen table, trying to make a baby. As I lost hope, I also relinquished my need to be a martyr. It became our struggle, our treatment.” You are a team, with different roles and responsibilities. Together you will get through this time in your life, too.
Connecting During IVF Treatments
Be ready for the emotional roller coaster
As you continue this journey toward parenthood, medical treatments, doctor appointments and schedules can quickly dominate your lives together. Recognize that you are both on an emotional roller coaster, too. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine describes it this way:
“Infertility often creates one of the most distressing life crises that a couple has ever experienced together. The long term inability to conceive a child can evoke significant feelings of loss. Coping with the multitude of medical decisions and the uncertainties that infertility brings can create great emotional upheaval for most couples.”
Knowing this is normal and that many couples experience feelings of grief, worry, frustration, sadness, hope and even joy. Take it day by day and check in with one another. If feelings of anxiety, depression or sadness become overwhelming, finding emotional support can give you both a sounding board and some relief. Support groups such as those offered by RESOLVE or finding a professional counselor can help you both, individually or together.
Find new ways to connect with each other
Intimacy is more than sex. There are times when physical intimacy might not be recommended, such as after egg collection, IVF, child birth or other medical procedures. Remember the power of holding their hand for the first time, giving hugs, massages and going on a walk together.
You can also offer support through love notes, little gifts like their favorite drink or treat. Do a task for them that they dislike. Clean the kitchen or their car, pick up the groceries. Show you care in the little moments.
Australian charity Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) recommends creating “‘IVF-free’ evenings or days when talk about IVF is off-limits.” This simple practice can give couples the breathing room to step away from the IVF vortex. You all might consider getaways or a vacation between cycles to practice self-care for yourself and your relationship together.
Nurture your physical relationship
Going through IVF can definitely take the romance out of a couple’s sex life, but there are ways to lessen the stress and anxiety this new reality can bring. Trying to have intercourse on a schedule on the most optimal days and times can quickly transform a pleasurable experience into a transactional one. Find ways to reclaim your physical relationship and make it about connecting with your partner.
Schedule a date night
While we are still in a COVID-focused world and at home more often, take advantage of the time you both have available to connect one on one with your spouse or partner. Fun date night ideas:
Complete a home improvement project not related to a child.
Try a new hobby.
Go on an adventure, even if it is to a store or a local hiking trail.
Set time that is just for you two. There are so many wonderful ways that you can spend time with each other. This time is so precious. Here are even more date night ideas.
Remember to chat with each other
Communication is key. Being able to talk about insecurities, worries and fears are important as a couple. But it is also equally important to not drown your partner in conversations about infertility all of the time. You both may have different ways of processing the emotions you are feeling. One week you might not want to talk, or the opposite may be true. Creating a safe place to discuss how you’re feeling and how to make decisions together will help you have more empathy and compassion for one another. You may have many decisions to make together about treatment, finances, which friends and family to tell and more. Be ready to listen, compromise and help each other through the hard parts.
Going through infertility can yield positive benefits no matter the outcome. COPE reminds us that “Research studies have found the crisis of infertility can positively benefit relationships by forcing couples to be self-reflective and improve their communication, and it encourages partners to develop effective coping strategies together.” Coping and communication skills are the foundation of healthy relationships for the long-term.
Staying Connected After You Become Parents
For many couples, IVF is a solid path to parenthood. For other couples, they may need to build their family in other ways – such as with a surrogate or through adoption. Once you have a child/ren, your life as a couple is permanently changed and life will never be the same. Accept that. The journey you and partner have been on, with its joy, sorrow, excitement and hope has created expectations for life as parents. The transition from dream to reality may be a little rough, but here are some suggestions for connecting with your partner after you become parents.
Give yourselves some grace
The transition to parenthood can be tough for any new parent. Sometimes our expectations of how we think it will be don’t always match with reality and can cause misunderstandings. Have some grace. Both of you are caring for newborn. You are exhausted and will be that way for a while. The laundry, house and chores simply won’t be the same because your child’s needs will come first. Enjoy the precious moments you have together as a couple and with your child/ren.
Listen for each other’s needs and enlist support
Keep in touch and help each other through this transition. You may not have the personal space you are used to and the caregiving schedule can become overwhelming. Take turns and lean on each other. Enlist support to help you during the sleepless nights or with chores. Meal and grocery delivery services can make household chores easier. A friend can coordinate a meal calendar to allow many friends and family to provide meals to help you all during this time. Call on family or employ a night doula also called a baby nurse or night nurse to help you make it through those tough first few weeks and months as routines become established.
Reserve time to be a couple
Date night and couple time after a child is different. When you are able to have a family member or babysitter watch your child, get out of the house and go for a date (see date ideas above), even if it is a walk around the block. At-home date nights are a wonderful way to connect with your partner. Try a game night or movie night. Make a meal together. Get dressed up and enjoy a meal. Dance together or pick up a different hobby together. The important part is to make time for one another and practice self-care. Prioritizing your relationship and taking care of yourself and each other are wonderful habits to model for your child.
Infertility insurance is not a common coverage among the millions of families worldwide who have had children via IVF. While some traditional health plans will cover infertility diagnosis and treatment, the coverage is often incomplete. Many families are still paying out of pocket to cover the costs. And some decide to forgo having their own biological child, building a family in other ways.
Some companies offer fertility treatment benefits such as IUI and IVF, but it’s a small number as compared to the number of U.S. businesses (18,500) with 500 or more employees. ABC News reported, “Over 400 U.S. companies offer benefits for fertility treatments…[but] Even with some employers adding infertility benefits, the majority of IVF patients treated last year paid for all or some of their treatment out-of-pocket, according to Fertility IQ.”
Treatment for infertility has long been thought of as a women’s issue or a lifestyle choice for those who can afford it. Change is coming though. In 2017, the American Medical Association declared infertility a disease for the first time. For the world of insurance, this distinction makes a world of difference.
However, insurance as a industry is slow to change. Immediate past president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Dr. Richard J. Paulson explains that just 30 years ago “most insurance companies didn’t even cover obstetrics [childbirth]. It was all out of pocket.”
Why don’t employers offer infertility insurance?
One reason employers don’t offer infertility insurance is that is is too expensive. The cost of fertility treatments is still too high. To cover it would require insurance companies to raise the cost of health insurance premiums overall. Combine this with the escalating costs of healthcare and it is even less likely that employers will add infertility coverage in the future.
Another financial concern is that the cost of infertility treatments often incentivizes couples to seek higher risk treatments in the hopes of a quicker return. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advise against the transfer of multiple embryos during an IVF cycle for most women. They favor elective single-embryo transfer (eSET) using IVF, a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology, because of the risks of multiple birth, which can lead to much higher healthcare costs for patients and insurance companies.
Why can’t the states require fertility coverage?
Out of the 50 states, 18 have any type of required infertility coverage according to RESOLVE, a fertility advocacy nonprofit. Advocates from RESOLVE and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine are currently working in the hopes that states will be able to create/pass laws that mandate insurance coverage for infertility. This, however, will be a long road because even if states pass similar laws, like Delaware, which has one of the most comprehensive bills concerning infertility, not everyone would still have access to the same coverage.
State laws can only mandate or require that employers of a certain size and those with a certain type of insurance cover specific health benefits. Employers who are smaller and those are self-insured are exempt from state regulations. Only a federal law can require that infertility be covered, and the Affordable Care Act already does not consider it part of the Essential Healthcare Benefits.
How can I find insurance that covers fertility treatments?
Supplemental health insurance is designed to fill any coverage gaps left by a traditional health insurance plan. This insurance can cover a variety of conditions that your traditional plan does not cover or does not cover completely. Often supplemental health insurance plans cover eye care/glasses, dental care, hospitalization, accidents, major illnesses and other medical conditions, including infertility.
Where can I buy infertility insurance?
Infertility insurance is now available as a supplemental health policy for future families. At LifeSpring, we cover children today so that families of tomorrow don’t have to worry about what health insurance they have or who their future employer will be. They can have the freedom to be an entrepreneur or business owner without the worry of not having the financial resources to cover treatment for primary infertility.
Change is taking place in insurance and health care reform, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait to see what options your child or grandchild may or may not have access to. By covering children today, we can make coverage more affordable for many more families. It’s a fantastic way to preserve a family legacy by planning ahead. Learn more about LifeSpring’s innovative Primary Infertility Assistance Policy and see if it might be right for a Texas child in your life.
A couple experiences infertility when they have not become pregnant after at least one year of having sex without using birth control methods. Couples who meet with a doctor regarding their infertility issues will discuss lifestyle issues and also determine what medical tests and counseling are needed as part of their infertility treatment. Up to 30% of couples may not find a reason for their infertility.
Traditional health insurance coverage
Many health insurance plans and policies will cover some aspects of infertility diagnosis, but the tests and treatment coverage a couple can receive will vary from one insurance policy to another. This is the case regardless of whether a couple has insurance through their employer or purchased independently through a broker, the Healthcare Marketplace or through a public option.
It is smart to check your plan for the coverage that you have. Many cover a diagnosis, but treatment for infertility is sometimes considered “voluntary” by some traditional health insurance plans. According to RESOLVE, 17 states mandate or require that insurance offer coverage of infertility treatment, such as IVF and IUI. In most cases, these mandates are far from complete or comprehensive.
Infertility as a medical diagnosis
The American Society of Reproductive medicine declared “infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs the body’s ability to perform the basis function of reproduction” in 1993. But the American Medical Association did not agree with this until much later in 2017 said David Adamson, M.D. This explains why even though infertility is a medical diagnosis, traditional health insurance still considers expensive treatments elective or unnecessary.
Even the Affordable Care Act which was designed to increase access to healthcare for more Americans does not consider infertility treatment as an Essential Health Benefit.
Types of infertility treatment
A couple exploring treatment for infertility could undergo hormone testing, imaging, genetic testing, ovulation testing, or other initial tests, in order to determine their cause for infertility. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a standard workup includes a semen analysis, ovulation assessment, a hysterosalpingogram, and possibly, tests for ovarian reserve and laparoscopy. Once a doctor has enough information needed, then he or she will put a treatment plan in place for the couple. Their treatment plan could include IUI to start and then add IVF later.
What is IUI?
IUI (intrauterine insemination, formerly called artificial insemination) and IVF (in vitro fertilization) are two commonly prescribed treatments for infertility. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) describes the technique of placing sperm into a woman’s uterus when she is ovulating.
This procedure is used for couples with unexplained infertility, minimal male factor infertility, and women with cervical mucus issues.
IUI is a more cost-effective solution and is often done in conjunction with ovulation-stimulating drugs; it is typically prescribed before a doctor proceeds with IVF treatments.
What is IVF?
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and it was introduced in the U.S. in 1981. It describes a technique where a woman’s eggs and man’s sperm are combined in a laboratory in order to create an embryo(s). Depending on the diagnosis and age of the woman, an embryo or embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus through her cervix to enhance the chances of pregnancy.
One round of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) can cost $12,400 according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. However, if the cost of medications, egg storage and genetic testing are included, the true cost can be much higher. FertilityIQ estimates it can cost $23,000 per cycle, and that couples pursuing IVF may need on average 2-3 cycles for a successful outcome.
LifeSpring’s infertility insurance policy is a supplemental health insurance policy purchased for Texas children ages 0-13 that provides the beneficiary couple up to $50,000 of coverage following a diagnosis of primary infertility when they are older. It was designed to give the next generation of couples affected by infertility the hope and financial resources they need.
The primary infertility assistance policy covers primary infertility treatments for the beneficiary couple, including medication, testing, doctor visits, IUI, IVF, anesthesia, egg/sperm/embryo storage and other related treatments with no deductibles or co-insurance. The one-time purchase does not need to be renewed.
If you’re looking for the best infertility insurance for your future family, we invite you to learn more about LifeSpring’s infertility insurance policy, see our frequently asked questions, and apply online from the privacy of your home or smart phone. In about the time it takes to order a coffee drink from your favorite coffee bar, you can receive a custom quote after answering a few short questions.
Many of us look forward to the day when we are ready to have our children or grandchildren. The desire to have our own biological children is strong. In a recent poll conducted by Harris Poll, more than 4 in 5 parents who still have children under 18 living at home (82%) say it is important to them for their children to have their own biological children one day.* But 12% of all couples, or 1 in 8, are impacted by infertility. Health insurance is often what we turn to if we need medical treatments for any diagnosis, but coverage varies widely depending on your plan. The vast majority of plans, even group health plans, do not usually cover all of the infertility treatments that are needed for successful results.
How does infertility insurance help?
Infertility insurance or assisted
reproduction insurance is an insurance policy that specifically covers medical
procedures related to a diagnosis of primary infertility. It is purchased to
reduce your financial risk if you and your partner face this medical diagnosis. The diagnosis of infertility affects both partners, so the
diagnosis and treatment is often needed for both. The good news is that most
couples — 85% to 90% — who seek and receive treatment are treated with
conventional medical therapies such as medication or surgery to have their own
child. Many of these will eventually be able to have their own biological
child. The main barrier for families is the high cost of infertility treatment.
What kind of coverage do traditional health plans offer?
Traditional health insurance for
most families in the United States is purchased through an employer or
purchased independently either through a broker or through the Healthcare
Marketplace. Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act (2010) — which
mandated expanded healthcare rights and protections including coverage for preexisting conditions and
preventative care — infertility treatment, including Intrauterine Insemination(IUI)
and assisted reproduction technology such as In Vitro Fertilization(IVF), were missing from this insurance
mandate. This means that infertility benefits are largely absent from many
traditional health plans.
Seventeen state legislatures have
stepped in to pass legislation in effort to require that traditional health
plans include some benefits for IVF (see a list of what is mandated by state), but they are far from complete or comprehensive. Also,
employers may opt-out of infertility coverage as a way to lower their costs. In
Texas, health insurers are required to “offer” but not “cover”
IVF and related services. In order to qualify for IVF services, the couple must
have a five-year history of infertility or have specified medical conditions
that caused the infertility diagnosis. And the law includes exemptions for
These mandates do not address the
numerous medications and medical procedures that are commonly used to diagnose
and treat a couple with primary infertility. And, employer self-funded health
insurance plans aren’t subject to state laws. With so many exceptions and
exclusions, it can be a frustrating exercise to count on traditional health
plans to cover all of the expenses to resolve an infertility diagnosis.
Can I advocate for infertility insurance coverage from my employer?
The short answer is yes, but it can
be a long road. Some recommend asking an employer directly to pursue an
insurance rider, basically a plan add-on, to cover infertility treatment benefits
because companies may not be aware that it is a benefit that is missing and
desired by their employees. This type of rider is expensive, so many times
companies will opt not to include it. RESOLVE has a toolkit for employees who want to pursue this option.
Can I advocate for infertility treatment coverage from my health insurance plan?
The short answer is probably not.
While some might advocate asking your traditional health plan insurance
provider to cover a health diagnosis, they likely will not be able to make an
exception. Exceptions could be perceived as a bias and opens the insurance
carrier up to having to cover others.
Traditional health plans are
admitted and regulated by each state’s Department of Insurance, and these state
agencies require that insurance, such as health insurance is applied without
discrimination or preferential treatment.
The federal Affordable Healthcare
Act requires coverage of essential health benefits, but infertility treatment
is not considered part of those. According to the U.S. Health and Human Services, “Plans can put an annual dollar limit and a
lifetime dollar limit on spending for health care services that are not
considered essential health benefits.”
In the case of Texas,
the Texas Department of Insurance
includes infertility diagnosis in the mandated health benefits, but not treatment in its
benchmark plan of health coverage. “State law mandates an offer of coverage for
in vitro (IVF) in the group market, but does not require each employer to elect
Can supplemental health insurance be used to cover infertility treatment expenses?
Yes. Supplemental health insurance is a type of insurance that can fill the gaps that exist with traditional health plans and cover a specific diagnosis like primary infertility. This type of insurance is purchased before any diagnosis. Because insurance involves pooling risk, some who purchase it won’t ever need the benefits while some will. This is what makes supplemental insurance affordable for many people.
LifeSpring Insurance Services offers
the country’s first and exclusive supplemental health insurance for primary
infertility treatments. This primary infertility assistance policy can be
purchased for children ages 0-13. Once covered, the policy pays up to $50,000
for infertility treatments at age 18-35 for the beneficiary child and their
future partner once they are ready to start a family.
A number of common infertility treatment procedures, tests and out-patient care are covered under
LifeSpring’s infertility insurance policy, including drug therapy, diagnostic
testing, IUI, lab tests, IVF, surgical care, egg and sperm retrieval and
storage, and more.
The Primary Infertility Assistance
Policy can be purchased online by any caring adult for any eligible beneficiary.
For a one-time premium, it costs about $2,000 offering today’s adults an
opportunity to give the next generation of couples affected by infertility the
hope and financial resources they need. Benefits can be used to complement
traditional health plans and are paid directly to physicians, medical
facilities and pharmacies with no deductible, no copay and no coinsurance. The
insurance policy is an admitted plan approved by the Texas Department of
Insurance, which regulates the insurance industry and evaluated this plan to
ensure it will be available now and in the future.
Are other supplemental insurance plans available?
To our knowledge, there are no other
supplemental insurance plans that cover a primary infertility diagnosis for
tomorrow’s families. We have seen discount plans and financing
programs for infertility treatments. Some
may include “insurance” in the name, but they do not cover infertility
treatment for tomorrow’s families. Rather, these plans offer financial assistance
for medical complications related to infertility for today’s adults undergoing
Why is a supplemental health policy from LifeSpring Insurance Services the best infertility insurance available?
Navigating traditional health
insurance options for covering infertility treatment is complicated to say the
least. If you or your partner are self-employed or an entrepreneur, the options
are even more expensive for less coverage in most cases. The options are limited even for our servicemen and women. We may not be able to
change our nation’s complicated healthcare system or the benefits employers
provide, but we can change the way infertility is insured and make it
affordable for many more people by covering children when they are younger. In
this way, we can remove the barrier of finances so that future families can
pursue infertility treatments if they ever need it when ready to have their own
Can LifeSpring Insurance Services help your future family?
In a Harris Poll conducted in 2019, 78% of parents say it’s important to them that their children can have their own biological children one day. And one in three parents (33%) worry their children may suffer from infertility in the future. But we do not know which couples will have trouble conceiving a child. This is why LifeSpring Insurance Services created a Primary Infertility Assistance Program to cover not only the child but also their future partner and to remove the barrier of finances from the infertility and assisted reproduction technology equation. If you’re looking for the best infertility insurance for your future family, we invite you to learn more about LifeSpring’s infertility insurance policy, see our frequently asked questions, and apply online from the privacy of your home. You will receive a custom quote in about 10 minutes.
* This survey was conducted online
within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of LifeSpring Insurance
Services from October 15 – 17, 2019 among 2,018 U.S. adults ages 18 and older
among whom 1,172 are parents. This online survey is not based on a probability
sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be
calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and
subgroup sample sizes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.