Understanding the Real Costs of IVF
It’s Time to Do Your Homework!
If you’ve been trying to have a baby for six months to a year, depending on your age, you may be ready to consult a fertility specialist. You may have heard stories about the cost of fertility treatment and of IVF in particular. At the same time you may be looking at websites and seeing different kinds of financing.
What are the real costs of IVF? Can you afford it? It takes some work to get the answers. Let’s discuss how to find out.
The Cost of IVF is More Than Just the Procedure
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) estimates the average cost of an IVF cycle in the USA to be $12,400, and then there is the cost of fertility medications, which comprise as much as 30-40 percent of the total cost of a fertility cycle. Your cost will depend on your diagnosis and the treatment plan you and your reproductive endocrinologist agree on for each of the partners.
There are several elements which may be part of your diagnosis and treatment:
- Tests to attempt to find the causes of infertility in both partners.
- Medications to treat conditions that are affecting your fertility, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or diabetes.
- The cost of the IVF cycle itself.
- Procedures to help fertilize the egg if there are issues with the sperm, such as assisted hatching or ICSI, or to evaluate the health of the embryo, such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
- Oral drugs to stimulate ovulation like clomiphene citrate.
- Injectable fertility drugs, which regulate your cycle, stimulate ovulation, and ripen the eggs—these drugs cost from $4,000 to $10,000 per cycle.
- Use of donor eggs and/or a gestational carrier.
The cost of fertility medications has increased more than 107 percent in the last seven years, while the cost of the IVF procedure has remained much the same for the last two decades. Another factor which affects the cost of IVF for you is where you live. If there are more fertility clinics in your area, thus more competition, prices may be lower.
Paying for IVF
The first step is to consult a fertility doctor and find out what she or he recommends to help you get pregnant. The financial consultant at the fertility clinic will explain the costs of your treatment plan. Ask a lot of questions when you get your first cost estimate. An important one is, “Does this include the cost of fertility drugs?” The answer is usually “no”….you’ll have to do that through a pharmacy. That is such a substantial part of the cost, and it’s one that many insurance plans do not cover.
The second step is to thoroughly investigate your insurance policy, and find out what’s covered and what isn’t. Insurance coverage varies tremendously from state to state and from employer to employer. The following states mandate at least some level of coverage for fertility treatment, according to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia. After you dig into your policy you can begin to figure what your out-of-pocket costs will be. Read more about insurance coverage.
You may also have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your employer. Funds you have saved in those accounts can be used to help pay for your out-of-pocket costs for fertility treatment.