I am so happy to say that I recently won a grant to help pay for my IVF medical costs. When they called me to announce I was a winner I was so excited and grateful I immediately burst into tears. What a blessing! I am so appreciative, and I wanted to pass on advice to others on how to improve your odds of winning an IVF grant.
“If I could summarize my advice into one word it would be persistence.”
-Keep a record of your fertility history
This is a good habit to get into anyway. But most IVF grant foundations require detailed information. Things to know include how long you have been actively trying to conceive, how many pregnancy losses you’ve had, when you had them, how far along you were, and the dates you lost your pregnancies. Anything related to your fertility diagnosis should be noted.
-Visit your fertility specialist if you haven’t recently
Get the most up to date information from your doctor about your treatment plan
-Know how quickly you need treatment medically speaking
Get an idea of how quickly you need to pursue treatment by asking your doctor.
-Try to save up as much as you can
-Research the different IVF grants you are eligible for
Make a note of both the ones you are eligible for and the ones you are not. In a future blog post I will go over how to set up a spreadsheet to track your applications, it makes it so much easier to stay organized.
-Write down all of the items/tasks the IVF grant foundations require
Often grants require either a statement from your medical provider or they supply a specific form your provider. Assist your provider if they have questions regarding what is being asked of them. If there is any uncertainty do not hesitate to contact the grant foundation to ask your question.
-Submit your application at least a few weeks before the deadline
Knowing the deadline allows you to contact your medical provider and time for them to properly complete their portion of the application (if required). Keep in mind providers may take vacations or attend medical conferences so be sure to factor that into the time necessary to complete your application and any necessary exams, blood work, and or required paperwork from the doctor. Some applications require a specific postmark date (date the post office stamped your mail) and other applications require your application to be in their hands by a specific date, don’t confuse the two dates. Pay careful attention to how they word their deadline information.
During the Application:
-Be as thorough as possible.
Do not leave a single thing out. Mark “N/A” if something is not applicable to you instead of leaving anything blank. Try to avoid writing anything as “unknown” if it is something that you could find out with a little investigating. For example if you don’t know whether you had a specific blood test, call up your doctor and be sure to find out.
-Be honest in your entire application
Fabricating or lying by omission is not just a character flaw, it is absolutely fraudulent. Be honest in your essay, with the income you report, your medical history, criminal record, everything. Just assume that the foundation will thoroughly review the legitimacy of your application info by doing checks on the information you provide.
-Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Ask your doctor for medical information. Contact the IVF grant foundation if any part of the application is confusing and you don’t know what they are asking. Oftentimes they respond quickly by email, and it’s good to have it in writing to refer back to. Keep those emails because if you are applying to multiple grants it is easy to confuse information if you don’t stay organized.
-Make sure you double and triple check what you submit.
I messed up big time the first time I filled out a grant application, luckily I caught my mistake in time. I accidentally put my yearly salary into the “monthly salary” section. Major mistake which could have easily disqualified me.
-Have your partner or another person you trust to carefully check your application for any errors before you submit your application.
-Keep a copy of your application for your records
After you applied:
-Mark your calendar
Write the date you applied. Write the expected award announcement date. Sometimes grant foundations extend their dates for different reasons.
-Update your email contact list
Add to your contact list the email of the foundation you applied to. If you unsure the email address you are expecting notifications from, email them to find out if it is a different email address or if it is their main one you should add to your contact list.
-Check your spam email
Some notifications from foundations may slip through your main email and go into your spam, despite your efforts to add them to your contact list. You just might receive an email announcing you as a winner and you definitely don’t want to miss that! You may receive other notifications such as extended deadlines or changes to future deadlines.
-Answer your phone
It may be the foundation calling. Some will call you and inform you of whether you lost or if you are the lucky winner. Even if you don’t win, a timely phone call or email is something to be thankful for, because they are considerate enough to reach out to each individual to let them know.
-Some grant foundations shut down
As with any non-profit, lack of funding can cause a foundation to shut down completely. It just happens sometimes. Although the odds of this happening right after you apply are probably low, it is a possibility.
-Ask why you were not selected
Although I have not done this yet with the second grant I got rejected for, I think it’s worth asking. It may be something that you can correct on your application in the future. If you were ineligible due to something out of your control, don’t worry too much, just apply to the grants you are eligible for.
-Did not win? Apply again.
Try again before the next deadline if the foundation allows multiple entries. Try to keep a copy of your previous application to see if there were any mistakes you made so you can have them corrected before you apply again.
-Cast your net wide
By applying to multiple grant foundations you improve your odds of winning. The competition is stiff so the odds of winning are kind of low from what I understand. Why not improve your odds and apply to multiple places?
Take a deep breath and reward yourself for your hard work, because some applications require a large time commitment to complete. If I could summarize my advice into one word it would be persistence. Even if you do not win a grant you can know that you did everything you could to at least try. Remember there are a myriad of ways to fund your IVF. I will include other blog articles about how to fund your IVF cycle including ways to save up, discount programs, and loan tips. Remember be persistent and you can make your dream a reality.