Presented by Future Family
You never know where you’re going to find answers and inspiration— or money—to help you pursue your dreams of building a family.
For LaMonica McNair, it came when she was getting a manicure. She and her husband, Howard, had been trying to have a baby without success for more than eight years. Their infertility struggles not only strained their marriage but caused them personal anguish, even shame. They continually wondered: Why were so many people around them having babies and yet they couldn’t?
Fertility Loan Tips in the Nail Salon
McNair hadn’t felt comfortable talking to anyone about her fertility struggles for a long time, but she finally confided in her nail technician, Dee, whose son and daughter-in-law had faced fertility issues. Dee had helped them with research and advice, and inspired McNair, who says, “She really lifted me up.”
Dee turned McNair onto Future Family, a company that offers guidance and financial support for people on complicated fertility journeys.
For so long, McNair and her husband had despaired of finding answers. After years of blood tests and ultrasounds, holistic treatments, weight loss, surgery, and a failed IUI, they decided to keep trying, to move past their devastating loss. It was then that she found out that IVF, which was recommended as a next step, would cost around $20,000.
She thought, “Who has $20,000 laying around?”
McNair had researched many options, but it was Dee’s knowledge of Future Family and its Grandbaby Plan, that gave her real hope.
Getting to Yes for a Fertility Loan
In the summer of 2019, when McNair was on a mothers-and-daughters family trip, she told her mom about their hope to pursue IVF and about the Future Family loan options.
McNair says: “Her only concern was that she didn’t know anything about IVF. She was concerned that it was a big, major surgery. I explained it all to her and she asked me how I felt. I said, ‘This is the move I need to make.’ She said, ‘If you feel all right about it, then let’s do it.'”
“We filed the Future Family Grandbaby Plan form online together. A few minutes later, an email came in saying that we were approved and both of us started crying.”
McNair didn’t tell her husband right away, but when she heard from her medical provider that should return for IVF preparation testing, she finally did.
McNair says: “When I told him we were approved for IVF funding and treatment, he just grabbed me and hugged me. That was the moment that confirmed that this was the right thing.”
When I told (my husband that) we were approved for IVF funding and treatment, he just grabbed me and hugged me. That was the moment that confirmed that this was the right thing.
Support + Financing = Hope
Claire Tomkins, the founder and CEO of Future Family understands how difficult dealing with infertility can be. She lived through it herself and since launching Future Family in 2017 has heard from thousands of clients. They have had similar experiences—of feeling isolated and overwhelmed by the costs and the physical, emotional, and psychological struggle of finding the right path.
Tomkins’s motivation for the company came from going through six rounds of IVF; she ultimately had three children. The infertility experience strained her relationships with her husband, friends, and colleagues, who didn’t understand what she was going through and couldn’t truly help.
She says: “I was lucky enough to have kind nurses who were supportive and upbeat, but not everyone does. That was the inspiration for creating not only fertility financing but also an affordable fertility coaching program at Future Family. All of our loan packages come with a dedicated Fertility Coach.”
Says Tomkins, “Our Fertility Coaches not only have technical knowledge, with each being a registered nurse with at least ten years clinical experience, but they are also deeply empathetic and compassionate. They help clients feel informed and emotionally supported.”
That connection has been invaluable to McNair. She was happy to have been approved for the Grandbaby Plan loan, and then surprised and even more relieved that for a small fee, she gets the Future Family coaching as well.
I was lucky enough to have kind nurses who were supportive and upbeat, but not everyone does. That was the inspiration for creating not only fertility financing but also an affordable fertility coaching program at Future Family.
McNair says the nurse-coach “keeps in contact often and answers all my questions, and on the days that I need encouragement, she seems to ‘know’ and she reaches out. She’s also there for my husband.”
Tomkins says that the Grandbaby Plan idea came from input from women who had signed up at Future Family and were active on online forums: they needed help for the big investment required for IVF.
According to Tomkins, “The Grandbaby Plan is a way for a grandparent-to-be (aka a parent) to take out a customized fertility loan for IVF (and egg freezing) on behalf of their child. If you don’t have a parent, we will accept a sibling or extended family instead. The idea is to allow family to help each other in this sensitive time.”
How to Have the Money Talk
In McNair’s case, she and her husband will be paying the loan payments, with her mom as co-signer. She was able to have a heart-to-heart talk with her mom, who then supported her decision to pursue the loan. However, it’s not always easy to share with family how expensive fertility care can be, and harder still to ask for financial help.
Thomas Farley, a.k.a America’s Etiquette Expert “Mister Manners”, is often asked how to approach this conversation with family. He says, discussing money issues can be a deeply personal conversation so those planning their fertility path should approach family members with thought and care.
Here are the steps he recommends:
- If this is a couple going through the fertility process (as opposed to an individual), before broaching the conversation, they should be in agreement about the scope of involvement they will be requesting from their family or families.
- They should be clear what decision-making input their parents or other relatives will have. Once they’ve reached consensus with one another and are ready to engage in the conversation, they must take great care to ensure that the parents or family members don’t feel guilted into giving.
- The discussion with family members should ideally be had in-person, and in a pressure-free, open manner. If there is receptivity to the idea, the would-be parent or parents should have a detailed budget and a set of goals to share.
- The prospective grandparents must be given ample time to consider the request, and to speak with their own financial advisor or retirement planner about what sort of contribution they can realistically make.
- If they ultimately decide to proceed, the parents should not use the fact that they are subsidizing or underwriting the process as a rationale for directing it.
- All parties to this arrangement must establish clear parameters. Is this a loan? Is it a gift? What is the maximum amount everyone agrees to spend, regardless of how the treatments go? Establishing goals and committing to an understanding of the expectations and roles will help prevent misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and resentment.
- Once the terms are set—even if the terms are “no strings, no budgetary limit”—the agreement should be put in writing, not only for the sake of the individuals directly involved, but also for the sake of siblings or other family members who may (for example—rightly or wrongly) feel their future inheritance is being spent disproportionately on a sibling. (Editor’s note: the Future Family Grandbaby Plan is a legal document that accomplishes this purpose.)
- If the parents ultimately determine that financial assistance is not within their means, the would-be parent or parents should not harbor any feelings of ill-will but rather take comfort in the much-needed support their families can provide in many other ways, from emotional support to logistical support.”
Staying Optimistic Even with an Unexpected Path
Knowing that there is financing in place, McNair says she and her husband can focus on preparing for their IVF cycle—going to the doctors, taking medications they need, working out, staying optimistic, and keeping their stress levels down.
She has come to an understanding, saying: “I had some shame about feeling that I was less than a woman because I couldn’t have kids. I’ve come to realize that we all have issues, and this just happens to be my and my husband’s issue. This is our story. I’m glad for the road that we’ve had to take. I’ve found out that so many people have gone through this and found success. We’re no different than them and we can, too.”
Find out more about the Future Family Grandbaby Plan here.
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