For couples dealing with infertility, the cost of fertility treatment can be significant. While numerous variables need to be considered when estimating the cost of treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF), estimates put the price on the order of $12,000-$14,000, and sometimes even higher. This does not include the added cost of medications, which themselves range between $3,000-$5,000. While other treatment options exist at a lower cost, such as ovarian stimulation plus intrauterine insemination (IUI), these options are considered less effective. Clinical study results from the University of California published in journal Fertility and Sterility in 2010 documented a correlation between the cost of treatment and successful outcomes, defined as delivery or ongoing pregnancy at 18 months. For readers trying to assess their personal cost for fertility treatments, check out this free calculator.
Seeking to offer a new comprehensive solution for affordable fertility care is the Glow Fertility Program. Created by Glow, the largest fertility community of over 10 million women in the US, the fertility program provides families with a holistic, one-stop-shop for their fertility treatment with services such as fertility coaching, access to fertility clinics and pharmacies, reduced pricing on fertility treatment and medication, concierge medication services, and transparent financing options. Examples of average treatment costs and savings patients can realize through Glow include:
- IVF: $10,000 through Glow, $4,000 savings
- Egg freezing: $7,000 through Glow, $3,000 savings
- IUI: $1,200 through Glow, $300 savings
As a platform, Glow not only supports individuals struggling with infertility, but offers solutions for all stages of a woman’s life. Perhaps most notable are Glow’s four mobile apps:
- Glow: ovulation and fertility tracker
- Glow Nurture: pregnancy tracker
- Glow Baby: baby tracker
- Eve by Glow: period tracker and sex tips
Glow originally spun out of PayPal Co-Founder and CTO Max Levchin’s business incubator, HVF, as did Affirm through which the Glow Fertility Program is able to offer monthly payment financing options with 6.99%-16% APR. Levchin is currently Chairman of Glow and CEO of Affirm.
To learn more about the Glow Fertility Program, Medgadget heard from three individuals representing three different perspectives: (1) Dr. Beth McAvey, Reproductive Endocrinologist and Fertility Specialist at Reproductive Medical Associates of New York, (2) Eniko, a Glow Fertility Program patient who recently gave birth to the program’s first baby, and (3) Jennifer Tye, Chief Operating Officer at Glow.
Michael Batista, Medgadget: For our readers who have not had to personally live with infertility, can you shed some light on the physical and emotional challenges associated with the inability to conceive children?
Dr. Beth McAvey: Infertility presents tremendous challenges to patients and couples. There is a biological imperative to reproduce and often the fear of it not working provokes feelings of anxiety. In addition, the combination of financial concerns, the burden of treatment, which may include injections, blood tests, procedures, and multiple office visits, and other personal sacrifices can lead to more stress for patients and couples. Patients who undergo fertility treatments often require extra support and can benefit from understanding and compassion.
Medgadget: What options do individuals struggling with infertility have today?
Dr. McAvey: Treatment options for infertile patients have expanded and there are more options available than ever before. Not only can the diagnostic part of the evaluation be quick and targeted, but treatment can be focused and data-driven. It is not uncommon for a couple to have a precise reason for their infertility pin-pointed at the first visit and treatment initiated within a month of a new patient consultation. Treatment options generally include inseminations or assisted reproductive technologies like in-vitro fertilization (IVF). In this new era of personalized medicine, IVF involves genetically identifying healthy embryos and transferring one into the uterus at the perfect time. Success rates for patients of all ages are higher than ever before.
Medgadget: What does it mean to “preserve fertility?” Why is the number of individuals choosing to preserve their fertility on the rise?
Dr. McAvey: Fertility preservation usually refers to egg freezing. Single women or women who would like to delay pregnancy for other reasons may opt to go through a series of injections that will can result in having several eggs retrieved and frozen for future use. The eggs can be stored until the individual is ready to have a family. Most commonly, women in their 30s are freezing eggs, but younger and older patients have options, as well. Furthermore, couples who would like to delay or plan for future pregnancies may opt to have embryos, eggs fertilized by sperm, frozen.
Medgadget: What do you see as the biggest benefit and potential impact of the Glow Fertility Program?
Dr. McAvey: Fertility treatments are accompanied by emotional, physical, and often financial burdens. Through partnerships with customized fertility programs such as the Glow Fertility Program, we have been able to help patients overcome these hurdles and successfully achieve pregnancies. The Glow Fertility Program is of great benefit to patients because it makes fertility treatment more accessible by helping to lower the cost of treatment and medication as well as providing financing options. The program also provides the emotional support of an experienced Glow Fertility Coach who can help patients navigate the fertility treatment process 24/7.
Medgadget: Congratulations on your successful pregnancy and the birth of your baby! We’d love to hear a little about your story. Before your involvement in the Glow Fertility Program, were you considering any infertility treatment options?
Eniko: After two years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive, we decided to try IVF while living in Hungary. We were very happy, because we got pregnant on our first try, but unfortunately after the full term pregnancy we lost our baby girl to Apert Syndrome. This happened because there was no genetic testing such as PGD or PGS available in Hungary and we didn’t have any genetic history of family illness.
Anxiety from this tragedy has never left my mind and heart. However, after healing, we started to rebuild our future again and I couldn’t imagine our life without a child. I was always worried in back of my head about what could happen next, but we never gave up. After moving to the US, I made two trips to Hungary in hopes of achieving a successful IVF, but both attempts failed, leading us to the decision to try IVF in the US.
Our biggest challenge was finding the best doctor and clinic for us. You’re trying to make the best decision for your future baby – so finding the right doctor near you is extremely important.
Medgadget: How did you find out about the Glow Fertility Program? Can you share a little about the process of working with Glow?
Eniko: After several hours spent searching for the best possible solution, I found the Glow app. I started to use the fertility app to track my ovulation. This was when I received an invitation to a free seminar where I met my future doctor. I also met my Glow Fertility Coach at the event. Her story gave me strength to continue with Glow and helped me believe that we could be successful – she had gone through 6 rounds of IVF to conceive her 2 children.
Working with Glow was the smoothest experience during our entire treatment process. They not only helped with the emotional aspects of the process but also the financial aspects.
Medgadget: What parts of the Glow Fertility Program were the most beneficial for you and your family?
Eniko: Thanks to the coaches at the Glow Fertility Program, we found a doctor and clinic that was a great match for us: Dr. Shamonki at Fertility Specialists and Associates of California. Our doctor went through our history extensively and ordered tests that were never available to us before to ensure our baby’s health.
The Glow Fertility Program negotiated the price with the clinic, and all payments were made through them. We even saved money by paying through Glow, rather than to the clinic directly. We always felt safe and secure with a Glow Fertility Coach guiding us.
Medgadget: Would you recommend the Glow Fertility Program to others? What would you tell individuals out there who are considering infertility treatment and might be scared or apprehensive about beginning the process?
Eniko: I would definitely recommend the Glow Fertility program to others because of the emotional and financial support you receive.
For people considering fertility treatment, never give up! We are one of the examples who were lucky on our 4th try. I always trusted Dr. Shamonki’s suggestions which resulted in one healthy embryo – a girl! I never believed the saying, “it only takes one,” but it really only takes one. My personal advice to all the couples is to support one another, relax, and always remember to be a warrior – not a worrier.
Medgadget: What inspired Glow to build a program to make infertility treatment more affordable?
Jennifer Tye: The Glow app aims to help women who are trying to conceive. However, at some point we know that if a woman is struggling to conceive an app is no longer helpful and she should seek the help of a fertility specialist. We firmly believe that everyone should have the right to start a family on his or her own timeline, but we also know that the cost of seeking fertility treatment can be prohibitively expensive. The average cost of IVF in the US is $14,000 and the cost of medication can add another $4,000 – $5,000 while the average cost of egg freezing is $10,000 and the cost of medication can add another ~$4,000. To put this into perspective, the cost for IVF is essentially half the estimated amount of disposable income for the average U.S. household. We knew there was a major need to make treatment more accessible to people who need it the most.
Medgadget: Can you walk us through the typical process of engaging in the Glow Fertility Program?
Tye: It’s very easy to join the Glow Fertility Program – a first of its kind, comprehensive fertility program! You can get started by visiting the Glow Fertility Program website and getting a free consultation. You will then be connected with a Glow Fertility Coach who can help you find the best clinic or doctor for your situation. Our coaches will also walk you through what you can expect from an initial consult, help you understand any costs that may be involved, and help you to prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor. Once you’ve had an initial consult, you can determine your treatment plan with your doctor and receive Glow’s favorable pricing, all while getting support from our knowledgeable and supportive Fertility Coaches along the way.
Medgadget: How is Glow able to so significantly cut the cost of infertility treatment and infertility medications for patients?
Tye: The Glow community is over 13 million users strong and growing! It’s through the power of this community that we’re able to negotiate savings at clinics and pharmacies that we share with our patients. Not only do our patients receive savings, they also have access to our amazing Glow Fertility Coaches. These coaches have seen it all when it comes to fertility treatment and preservation, so they’re incredibly valuable resources to our patients.
Medgadget: Why has no one done anything like this before? How is Glow best positioned to address the challenges of unaffordable infertility treatment and support?
Tye: For the last five years, we’ve been working with women who are trying to conceive, and we’ve learned a lot in that time – including how to best help women who are struggling to conceive naturally. We’ve seen that for many couples, conceiving naturally is just not possible, and we knew that we wanted to make fertility treatment more accessible to everyone who may need it.
First, we’re able to help support our users by alleviating some of the financial burden by negotiating special pricing with top clinics across the country. And second, we’re able to provide crucial information to our users through Glow Fertility Program events and webinars and individualized coaching from our Glow Fertility Coaches. Most of our Fertility Coaches have personal experience with fertility treatments or preservation and provide invaluable emotional support to our patients during what can be an extremely stressful journey. They’re also available after hours to answer any questions that may come up for patients.
While the need for a program like this has existed for many years, it’s difficult for individuals to advocate for themselves when it comes to pricing and treatment support. That’s where Glow can come in since we work with so many patients, clinics, and pharmacies across the country.
Link: Glow Fertility Program…