The Fortune family is a married couple in Norfolk, Virginia. They have been together since high school and married each other when they were both 20. The husband joined the Navy and spent the first several years of their marriage under deployment. Over his Navy career he spent months on end away from his wife defending our country and learning skills he would one day use in the private sector. He completed two tours of duty and after several months in this tough economy he found a job in the civilian world. While he was in the Navy his wife took a job with a local retailer and worked her way up to management. She stayed loyal to her husband while he was overseas and fantasized of the day they would have a child. They had planned to hold off until he was out of the Navy and they had both developed careers for themselves. Now both of them are near 30 and the time was right for them to have a baby. After a year and a half of trying they came to a stunning realization, they may have fertility issues. Another few months pass as they make appointments with doctors to figure out what could be the root of their problem and they are told they will need medical help to conceive a child. The clinic starts them off with the comparatively inexpensive route of intrauterine insemination. They go two rounds of this and the doctor decides the best option may be IVF. The Fortunes make nearly $52,000 dollars a year, have minimal debt, and have managed to save a bit of money over the year but the average IVF can cost upwards of $20,000 for one cycle. They can get some relief with insurance paying for some meds but they are still nervous to move forward. They are talking to some friends one evening about the fact they are considering getting a loan for the procedure. The friend callously yet innocently asks the couple how they think they can afford a child if they cannot come up with the money for an IVF. The family is devastated by the remark and begins to have serious doubts as their biological clocks tick on…..if they had a little more financial help they might find the confidence to give IVF a try.
The Fortune family is a factitious family but the scenario is very common. They did all the right things in their life. They chose to get careers started before starting a family, thinking that the hard part was behind them once they began careers. Their income is close to the National Median income for a married American couple. The comment made to them is not uncommon. The truth is that most families with or without children would struggle with coughing up $20,000 in one lump sum. This does not mean they could not afford to have a child. The Fortune family may have been a little more likely to give IVF a try if there was a tax break involved.
The Family Act is a bill before our federal government now that could give relief for families like the Fortunes. Below is a synopsis from Resolve.org:
Key provisions of the House and Senate bill:
The Family Act covers the out-of-pocket costs associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) including diagnostic tests, laboratory charges, professional charges, and medications for IVF.
The Family Act covers the out-of-pocket costs of fertility preservation procedures if the man or woman is diagnosed with cancer and the cancer treatment or disease itself may result in infertility.
The Family Act has a cost sharing provision allowing 50% of all applicable medical expenses to be covered up to a lifetime maximum of $13,360. You would need to have out-of-pocket costs totaling $26,720 to claim the entire credit in your lifetime.
If you do not owe taxes in a particular year, do not owe enough taxes to use the whole credit, or do not reach the max amount in one tax year, it carries over to the next year for a max of five years after the first year you use the credit.
The Family Act is available to couples filing jointly with adjusted gross incomes of less than $222,520, but the credit is smaller for those earning between $182,500 and $222,520.
I am a father of an IVF child. We did several rounds of IUI and a couple IVF cycles before we got lucky. I am a veteran of the emotional rollercoaster. Our first IVF was covered under insurance but our second one was not. My wife is my hero. We were fortunate enough to have afforded the bills associated with that cycle but it was I was always conscious of how it would affect my wife had it not worked. We would have benefited from a bill like the Family Act.
Go to Resolve.org to get information on the Family Act and get links there on the bills progress. On April 26, 2012 Resolve will be hosting an Advocacy Day in Washington DC in support of the Family Act. Please consider becoming an advocate. We need to educate our elected officials about the science of assisted conception and the impact is has on people who need medical help to have children. If you cannot go to DC write a letter to your states House and Senate members. Resolve.org has links to help you reach out. If you have a blog shake all the trees you can with your words and thoughts. Attain Fertility has great information constantly flowing on the Family Act as well. I have created my own page on Facebook called “Fertility News You can Use”. I am trying to make my Facebook page a sounding board for veterans of and present members of the infertility process. I invite everyone to post stories and news links there for all to share. I wish you all the best in your journey.
About the blogger:
My name is Andy Thornhill and I have also written an Ebook on my family’s journey called “The Longest Love Letter”. It is available for the Kindle and Nook. Please feel free to contact me through this blog page or on Infertility News You Can Use.