Tue | Jun 18, 2019

JMMB Bank offers maternity loan for fertility treatments

Published:Friday | May 24, 2019 | 12:14 AM
Moya Leiba-Barnes, general manager, client partnership, JMMB Bank.
Moya Leiba-Barnes, general manager, client partnership, JMMB Bank.

JMMB Bank signed an agreement with the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit (HWFMU) at The University of the West Indies (UWI) in April to provide up to $5 million in loan financing for individual patients to help offset the cost of ­infertility treatments and related services offered by the unit.

This special, unsecured maternity loan is the first of its kind in the Jamaican financial sector.

“This new agreement with the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit serves to ­solidify JMMB Group’s commitment to being a financial partner of choice. As such, the loan is designed to provide a financial safety net for potential parents who may need the assistance of fertility experts for various conception/reproductive techniques,” said Moya Leiba-Barnes, general manager, client partnership, JMMB Bank.

The agreement comes on the heels of calls from the HWFMU urging financial institutions to respond to the growing levels of infertility by providing financial solutions to enable potential parents to better plan their fertility and to make parenthood a possibility for these individuals.

Up to 25 per cent of couples in the world, according to statistics, are said to be affected by ­infertility. A local study done by The UWI, Mona, in 2002 showed 31 per cent of Jamaican women being affected by fertility impairment. Additionally, such fertility-treatment procedures can be especially beneficial for cancer patients who may wish to freeze their eggs before undergoing treatment so that they can still have the option of becoming parents through the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART).

“We are happy that JMMB Bank came on board to ­champion this cause so that many everyday ­couples who are interested in raising families may have the opportunity to do so in an affordable manner. This loan facility will also allow them to fulfil their dream of becoming parents without compromising their ­financial future or achieving their other goals – including planning for the lives of their children hereafter,” said Dr Vernon DaCosta, director of the HWFMU.

He further indicated that the inclusion of a financing option will provide patients with a seamless process to receive treatment from the HWFMU.

Individuals will have up to five years to repay the loan at a competitive interest rate of 18 per cent and a low processing fee starting at two per cent with no penalty for early repayment. Additionally, this maternity loan is backed by a creditor life insurance component to protect the life of the applicant.

The fertility-management unit offers a range of sexual and reproductive health services to assist couples to achieve pregnancy, such as ART, which includes in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), a ­procedure to treat ­infertility due to female and male factors such as, but not limited to, blocked fallopian tubes and low sperm count; freezing of eggs and sperm; and other ­assisted-conception services.

In sharing the average cost for the services, the unit outlined that IVF starts at approximately US$7,500, which includes ­medication, ultrasounds for follicular tracking, estradiol blood tests, and egg-recovery and laboratory fees. The cost to freeze eggs, for up to the first two years, is US$5,000. This amount covers a set of supplementary services similar to those offered with IVF. To freeze sperm for less than a year, the cost is US$300, and an annual storage fee for eggs is US$350.

For individuals to access this special, unsecured maternity loan, the process should begin with a referral letter or notice from the HWFMU detailing the cost of the procedure, followed by an initial conversation with a JMMB Bank representative.

Additionally, the following documents would need to be submitted: income verification, taxpayer registration number (TRN), proof of address, and a complete loan application form. The process is typically completed within seven business days after the submission of all the relevant documentation.

The financial institution is ­committed to being in its clients’ world and providing easy, seamless financial solutions that bring innovation to the market and address the gaps that exist. As such, Leiba-Barnes said that the bank is open to exploring additional partnership arrangements as it seeks to make financing for this process as accessible as possible for couples who have fertility challenges.

This newest maternity loan solution is the second such introduced by the bank since the start of the year, having established a similar partnership with The UWI to provide an innovative postgraduate education loan. That loan will make postgraduate education more affordable for students by providing up to 100 per cent financing with a flexible repayment option.