Finance for Fertility Treatments in South Africa
Such expert knowledge, advanced equipment and specialised treatment results in leading success rates, but it is also expensive. This is particularly true given that most medical schemes do not cover fertility treatments and, generally, couples seeking treatment must pay for the cost of fertility treatments out of their own pockets.
What this means that fertility treatment – often a physically and emotionally stressful experience – can also be a financially challenging experience. An alternative may be to take out a loan to finance fertility treatments.
In this article, we look at how to check if your medical aid will cover any of the procedures you may require as part of your fertility treatment, if there is any government support you could rely on, and what finance options are available.
Will my medical aid cover fertility treatments?
The cost of fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), are unfortunately not covered by most open medical aids in South Africa. They also do not cover the cost of the initial appointment.
However, some medical aids may cover part of the costs and others may pay for treatment of certain issues related to infertility. Examples of these issues include cyst removal in the womb, treatments for endometriosis and surgical procedures for blocked fallopian tubes.
There are also certain medical aids that do cover fertility treatments on selected plans, subject to cover limits. Some positive developments in this area are likely to ensure that more medical aids will cover fertility treatments in future, notably the announcement by Discovery Health Medical Scheme that it will provide cover for certain fertility treatments from 2021, subject to terms and conditions.
As Discovery is the country’s largest medical scheme and its decision to provide cover for fertility treatments will certainly create a precedent in the market for other medical schemes in South Africa to follow suit.
The only way to be certain is to ask your medical aid to confirm in writing which costs related to the treatments required will be covered.
Is there any government support for the costs of fertility treatment?
Three public sector hospitals in South Africa – Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Groote Schuur Hospital and Tygerberg Hospital – provide fertility treatment.
However, even though these are state facilities, patients have to self-fund some of the costs, as fertility medications are not available in state hospitals. In addition, it is challenging to obtain a referral within the state hospital system and the time it takes before reaching a fertility specialist can have an impact on how many treatment cycles will be required.
Finance for the cost of fertility treatment
For many couples, the only other alternative is to fund their fertility treatments within the private sector by obtaining a loan.
This may be, for example, a personal loan, or finance available for fertility treatment through companies such as MediFin, which works with all registered doctors, dentists, plastic surgeons and fertility specialists registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and also offers finance specifically for pregnancy and fertility.
The pregnancy and fertility treatments and procedures covered includes In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), sperm donors and egg donors, caesarean sections and natural, normal deliveries and miscarriage.
The benefits of MediFin’s finance includes no deposits, instant pre-approval and payout in 24 hours, which is often important given that many fertility treatments are time-sensitive. It offers low-interest and affordable pregnancy and fertility finance that ranges from microloans under R8,000 to treatment costs up to R100,000, covering treatments such as C-sections and IVF treatments and more. No deposit is required.
The longest loan repayment term that can be applied for is up to 48 months, and a repayment plan with flexible repayment terms that suit your unique affordability needs can be structured.
On average, the rates are competitive when compared to the rest of the credit lending industry. However, the interest rate charged varies from one person to another, depending on the applicant’s credit profile. The interest rate that will apply to your finance can therefore only be confirmed once your application has been assessed.
Fortunately, the application process does not take long at all. You can apply online and qualifying applications can be approved within an hour. Provided all the required documentation has been received (copy of ID; proof of income eg most recent salary slip; 3 months bank statements; proof of residence eg a utility bill), funding for the procedures required can be released within 24 hours.
Repaying the loan is also easy: a loan be paid up sooner as MediFin does not charge early settlement penalties. You can also make additional payments and these additional payments will be allocated towards your principal debt. This will result in you paying off your outstanding loan much faster and reduce the total amount of interest payable over the term. Loans can also be settled any time before the end of the loan term on request of an early settlement quote.
The first step will be to consult your fertility specialist to determine exactly what treatment you will require, as well as a quote or an estimated procedure cost for the required treatment from your fertility specialist.
You can use the Loan Calculator at https://medifin.co.za/loan-calculator/ to enter the amount of the loan you require and to select a loan period to get an estimate on how much your monthly repayments would be.
As with any other finance agreement, make certain that you understand the terms and conditions of the contract and that the monthly repayments are manageable, given your personal financial situation.
Choose the right fertility clinic
One of the best ways to ensure you get the best value for your fertility treatment costs is to ensure you choose the right fertility clinic to provide the treatment.
Most finance options are only available for treatment received at a fertility clinic that is accredited by the Southern African Society for Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG). SASREG is the South African society of fertility specialists that serves to protect the interests of the patients undergoing fertility treatment.
SASREG not only sets minimum standard for ART such as In Vitro Fertilization, Gamete Intra Fallopian Tube Transfer and related Procedures, it also conducts inspection at the accredited clinics to ensure that the laboratories are up to standard and quality controls and processes are in place to ensure your fertility journey is both scientific and rewarding for you as a patient.
You can visit their website sasreg.co.za to check if a fertility clinic is registered.
The right clinic is staffed by qualified and experienced specialists; and offers advanced facilities; technologies on par with the latest medical advancements and a range of fertility treatments to achieve great success rates. This is exactly what you will find at Medfem Fertility Clinic.
Your next step is simply to contact us at Medfem Fertility Clinic and book an initial consultation. Simply click here or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 224 now.
We look forward to meeting you at Medfem Fertility Clinic!