Infertility is one of the most difficult things a couple can face. When you find out that all of your hopes and dreams for the future may never be realized, it's devastating. Even more difficult may be knowing that there's medical treatment that could help you get the baby of your dreams, but you can't afford it.
It's unfair that babies should essentially go to those with the biggest budgets, and many families have nearly bankrupted themselves paying for the expensive tests and treatments. Recently, however, a bill has been introduced that may change some of that. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the Family Act of 2011 earlier this month to help those who might not otherwise have families. Similar to the existing Adoption Tax Credit, it would provide for the following:
- Taxpayers who have been diagnosed as infertile by a licensed physician and for whom the indicated course of treatment is to undergo IVF treatment would be able to claim a tax credit
- Eligible treatments include medical procedures, laboratory procedures, professional charges, and other necessary costs when a patient undergoes IVF treatments
- The maximum credit amount available to eligible taxpayers would be $13,360
- The credit would be available to taxpayers that have an adjusted gross income of less than $182,500 and phases out for those whose incomes reach $222,520
- There is a 50/50 cost share inherent in the credit so eligible taxpayers may claim the credit for up to one half of their expenses
I can think of many friends who would have benefited greatly from such assistance. I went through years of infertility, and while we never did IVF, all of the tests and doctors' visits were outrageously expensive. We were fortunate enough to work for a company that covered all of our costs, but most, unfortunately, aren't as lucky.
According the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, currently 7.3 million couples in the United States suffer from infertility -- that's one in eight couples. Just one round of IVF costs an average of $12,400. That's a huge financial burden for something that comes pretty much free to people whose bodies are functioning properly.
The bill isn't a panacea, and there are plenty of people who can't even afford 50 percent of the treatment, but it's a start.
If you want to see this bill become a law, letting your representative know is easy with a simple email form from Resolve. Even if you've never experienced infertility, you can help all the couples who do and will.
Are you in favor of the Family Act of 2011?
Image via sabianmaggy/Flickr