Breaking the Bank: How Much Does IVF Cost?

Breaking the Bank: How Much Does IVF Cost?

Whenever a couple has been battling infertility, as long as the structural system is in working order in the woman (normal shaped, not bicorneate, uterus and ovaries and fallopian tubes that are open), and as long as the man’s sperm count and quality is normal, the fertility interventions start small. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

First Stop – Clomid

That means the first thing that fertility specialists will try is putting the woman on Clomid, a mild fertility drug that is meant to stimulate her ovaries so she begins to ovulate. If Clomid does not work, then other and stronger fertility drugs are utilized. However, if that doesn’t work then fertility clinics will likely take the next step which is recommending that couples attempt to conceive through intrauterine insemination (IUI).

Clomid 50mg

 

Second Stop – IUI

What IUI involves is taking the man’s sperm sample, washing it and inserting it through a catheter which bypasses the cervix and goes directly into the uterus.

However, if the man has a low sperm count or low sperm quality, this process is immediately recommended among fertility specialists. They allow 6 attempts for the IUI process to be successful. If not, then fertility specialists will recommended in vitro fertilization or IVF.

 

Last Stop – IVF

IVF is the most taxing procedure that any couple could go through. It is physically taxing because the woman has to go on harsh fertility drugs in order to allow her ovaries to produce many mature eggs that need to be retrieved.

Once that day comes, the woman has to be sedated in order for the eggs to be surgically removed. The man gives a sperm sample which needs to be washed, and then the sperm and eggs are joined together.

If fertilization is successful, then the cell division among the embryos are monitored and then after 3-5 days, at least one is transferred back into the woman through a catheter bypassing the cervix. The other embryos are kept frozen for future possible use.

Then after that, the couple has to wait 9 to 11 days in order to test to see if pregnancy was successful. If not, then they will try again during the next cycle and have another embryo from that group transferred.

It is a known fact that IVF is physically taxing, but it is emotionally taxing as well. Couples going through infertility are struggling enough with their emotions as it is because of the fact alone that they feel “defective” for not being able to naturally conceive. Infertility is a self-esteem killer, and it makes it very hard to watch their friends and family having kids without any problems.

Not to mention, couples dealing with infertility feel hopeless and wonder if they will ever have their own kids. That is a tough place to be in. Not every couple wants to adopt and many of those who have never been successful with any kind of fertility intervention end up childless in the end. However, that is the exception rather than the rule. Especially nowadays with so many medical and technological advancements.

in vitro fertilization

Couples who have achieved success through fertility drugs alone, or IUI still have these feelings, but they do in fact have it so much easier than couples who have no other option to conceive other than relying on IVF (or surrogacy but that is the next step if IVF fails which will not be discussed in this article).

Even though infertility is infertility, and all couples experiencing it will feel defeated, stressed, depressed and hopeless at times- couples who successfully achieved a healthy pregnancy with the help of fertility drugs alone or IUI did not have to go through the invasive aspects of IVF- physically and financially!

 

So How Much Does IVF Cost?

The average IVF cost is around $12,000, and may be even as high as $15,000 or as low as $10,000. You cannot compare even the most costly IUI cycle of $800 to any of that. This is an example of why couples who successfully conceived through IUI even if it took 6 cycles for them to achieve a healthy pregnancy are less stressed than couples having to undergo IVF. Financially IUI is less stressful.

By the way, these IVF costs do not include the costs of fertility medications which can range anywhere between $1,500 to $3,000 per cycle. This means IVF can easily cost at least $20,000 in the end. Additional cycles can cost up to $7,000 which means the potential for couples who go through 3 cycles will be paying over $30,000.

fertility medication procedure

This is a huge part of why IVF is more stressful than other forms of fertility interventions! The cost alone is overwhelming and very few people have that kind of cash laying around and immediately run to their banks to get a line of credit or a loan.

So if you are considering IVF because of the other interventions failing or were told that pregnancy could not be achieved without it in cases where you had blocked tubes or your man had a sperm count so severely low that IUI would not work, there is some good news as far as getting relief from the costs.

The silver lining…

 

IVF Discounts and Refunds

Firstly, before any couple chooses an IVF clinic, they need to do their homework. If an IVF clinic is much cheaper than average and the success rates are low, then there is a reason for that. It is obviously a low-quality clinic, and it will serve the couple better to look at other clinics that may be more expensive but have a decent success rate.

Don’t throw away good money for empty promises!

Some clinics offer a refund program which means the couple would have to pay $20,000 to $30,000 up front which would require a line of credit loan or taking funds out of a mutual fund. However, the clinic promises to refund part of your money if the 3rd of 4th IVF round doesn’t take. However, couples would have to qualify in order to get into a program like this and not all clinics offer this program.

In order to look into discounts, you first need to realize that a big chunk of your IVF costs come from the fertility drugs alone. Therefore, you will want to do your research and look for discount programs and mail-in-refund programs, which are offered by several pharmaceutical companies.

You also need to make sure that your insurance plan will cover as much as possible, and not find out later on that you could have saved more on some of the costs only if you had known that your insurance actually covered more IVF costs than you were aware.

Additionally, some clinics offer a payment plan as well where you can pay a certain amount each month and this can take away a lot of the financial stress.

However, let’s now look more in depth into what can add to the IVF costs. Remember there are different types of IVF programs, and because each program is unique, the costs will vary as well.

Costs of Individual IVF Programs

As it is already known that a basic IVF procedure is around $12,000, other factors and different types of programs will easily increase the cost. Let’s go over the different types of IVF procedures and how much more costly they would be due to additional assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

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Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI ).

ICSI is when a single sperm is injected into the egg, and this frequently has to be part of the IVF procedure when severely low sperm counts are involved, or in cases for IVF being a result of both parents being a carrier of a bad recessive gene like cystic fibrosis or Tay-Sach’s disorder. ICSI adds another $1,000 to $2,500 to the IVF procedure.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis or screening (PGD or PGS).

PGD is an IVF procedure that is done for parents who are carriers of a bad recessive gene which means they would have a 1 in 4 chance of passing the disease onto the child. This procedure involves having to biopsy the embryo in order to find out if the embryo is healthy or not. The healthy embryos will be transferred and the unused ones will be frozen. The unhealthy embryos will be discarded or sent to institutions for research. The same applies for PGS when the cause for this particular procedure is due to repeated miscarriages due to chromosomal abnormalities. Embryos are screened and the healthy ones are transferred back or are frozen. The average additional cost for this is $3,000 which includes ICSI. It can however only add $1,800 more or add another $7,000.

Egg donor.

IVF with the use of an egg donor is more costly, and can cost anywhere between $25,000 to $30,000 for one cycle.

Sperm donor.

IVF with the use of a sperm donor is less expensive, and can cost anywhere between $13,000 to $17,000 per IVF cycle.

Sperm donor

Donated embryos.

This is the least expensive option and the cost of an embryo donor cycle costs anywhere between $5,000 to $7,000.

Surrogacy.

This is the most expensive form of IVF. This involves hiring a woman to carry your embryo. You need a lawyer for this as well, so when you factor in the agency fees, legal fees, payment to the surrogate and IVF costs, you are looking at an overall cost ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.

 

Additional Fees that Come with IVF

Now you know the approximate costs of different types of IVF programs. Let’s go over the costs that you are looking at regardless of what program you need.

Embryo freezing.

Most couples who go in for any IVF cycle will produce many embryos. However, in most instances only one embryo will be transferred to reduce the risk of a multiple pregnancy, and the others will be frozen and stored. This alone adds a few hundred dollars to the cost.

Embryo freezing

FET.

Frozen embryo transfer or FET will cost anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000. This is needed if a previous IVF attempt failed or a couple has already had success and wants to expand their family.

Annual storage.

Yearly storage fees alone cost anywhere $200 to $800 per year which is nothing compared to most of what IVF entailed.

IVF is stressful emotionally and physically, and after looking at these numbers you see how it will stress couples out financially too.

IVF encouraging quotes

These fees are definitely overwhelming. However, before any couple looks at this and panics, again there are ways to pay for these programs. Again, you may have to take out a line of credit and go into debt as a result. But remember to look for clinics that offer refund programs and look for other discounts. You will want to save where you can. You can also take out money from retirement savings plans or mutual funds. However, there will be a penalty to pay to do this.

You may be even lucky enough to have family to help you financially, and you can create a crowdfunding campaign as well. You can use a flexible-spending account or health savings plan, or apply for a grant. There are many solutions to help you pay for IVF, and some clinics will again allow you to pay in installments.

As long as you look for solutions and do some planning, most couples will be able to afford the heavy IVF costs one way or another.

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Monica Scott, BS, RN
Monica Scott, BS, RN | ConceiveEasy
Ms. Scott joined ConceiveEasy after working in prenatal obstetrical care for two years in a private practice before being promoted to Director of Nursing. She has a strong interest in women's health with an emphasis on promoting fertility awareness.