Your choice of pharmacy may also depend on which drugs your doctor prescribes. All three major players in the fertility drug field have contracted with preferred pharmacies or managed-cash networks to provide a guaranteed lowest price for those with no insurance coverage. Serono works with Freedom Pharmacy. Ferring has teamed with q.d.CARE (Commitment to Affordable Reproductive Endocrinology). And Organon has partnered with DesignRx.
The fertility pharmacies listed with the AFA or on drug company websites are all legit, but there are many more dubious drugstores sending pop-up ads all over the Internet promising to provide bargain-priced fertility meds. Before you type in your Visa number, though, make sure the drugstore is licensed in the United States, requires a legitimate prescription, and provides a phone number so you can call to talk with a human being if you have any questions.
Take Advantage Of Drug Company Discounts on Fertility Drugs
Some pharmaceutical companies have their own programs to help out customers who have no insurance coverage for their fertility meds. If you’re paying cash and purchasing Serono drugs through Freedom Pharmacy, you automatically get enrolled in their FertilityAssist program. Your third cycle of treatment will be free, regardless of whether your first two cycles were OI (ovulation induction), IVF (in vitro fertilization), or one of each (for more information call Fertility LifeLines). The only requirement is that the third cycle has to be within 18 months of the first. Ferring helps out patients with its Bravelle HEART (Helping Expand Access to Reproductive Therapy) program. Your doctor simply attaches a HEART sticker to your prescription; take it to a participating pharmacy (there’s a list on Ferring Pharmaceuticals' website), and if you order 20 or more vials of Bravelle, you get five for free.
Look Into Philanthropy Programs that Subsidize Fertility Drugs
Even with the specialty pharmacies and frequent-user programs, fertility treatments and meds are still out of the financial grasp of many uninsured couples. Luckily, there are companies and individuals out there who want to help. The InterNational Council on Infertility Information Dissemination (INCIID, pronounced “inside”) offers a scholarship program called INCIID the Heart. “Anyone can apply—there is no age or income limit,” says Nancy Hemenway, executive director of INCIID. “The only requirement is that you have a medical need, a financial need, no insurance coverage for IVF, and a compelling story.” If you’re chosen for the program, you’ll be paired with a clinic that donates one IVF cycle, and Organon donates the drugs. Check out www.INCIID.org for more info.
The drug company Serono has it own program, called Compassionate Care. Patients with no coverage can apply to receive one cycle for free, depending on their medical and financial need. Call FertilityLifelines at 866-LETS-TRY, and they will send you a brochure and application.
You should also ask your doctor or nurse if they know of any fertility scholarship programs offered in your community. For example, the Cleveland Clinic has Partnership for Families, where families who have done one round of IVF and can’t afford another cycle can get one for free, including a cycle of medications. The only catch is that most of these programs have age and income limits.