If you've been trying to have a baby with no luck (yet), the idea of IVF can be exciting...but the costs can sound scary. After all, more than 8 million babies have been born as a result of this procedure. But it's known to be pricey, too. So how much money would IVF cost you, really?
According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), the average cost of an IVF cycle in the US is $10,000-$15,000. But, like with any fertility treatment costs, that completely depends on your insurance coverage, your own health status, and your clinic. A Journal of Urology study, for example, showed that out-of-pocket IVF costs averaged at around $19,000. And for those doing multiple cycles, each additional cycle cost about $7,000.
In other words, it depends. And, unfortunately, there may be additional costs for some people. Don’t shoot the messenger!
Why IVF costs vary so widely
Insurance is one of the biggest factors. Some health insurance plans cover some or all of infertility treatment costs and some don't. Some cover the cost of procedures but not the cost of medications—or vice versa—and others don't cover either.
Currently, only some states have laws that require insurance to cover (at least some) IVF costs. If your employer is located in one of those states, you're more likely to have coverage than if IVF assistance isn't mandated. Check out this article to see how your state is handling fertility treatment insurance.
Your area's cost of living can also influence costs greatly. In some parts of the country, fertility procedures may cost twice as much as they do in others, says David Bross, co-founder and Vice-President of Parental Hope, Inc., a non-profit that provides financial support to couples battling infertility. And different fertility clinics may offer different rates.
Plus there's your own unique infertility situation to take into account. For example, couples who will need to use an egg donor will have additional costs related to that. Fortunately, our Family by Co platform makes that process more positive, transparent, and affordable than other options out there. You can read more about our pricing and commitment to you here.
So, what's included in IVF costs?
Here's how IVF costs typically break down:
Everyone who undergoes IVF has to have a basic workup, evaluation and monitoring via ultrasound and bloodwork. This can cost around $2,500 before any insurance coverage, but because of different plans, some of that may be covered and your personal out-of-pocket costs can vary drastically. Some plans don't cover the costs at all, others pay part or even most or all of it. For more specifics, call your health insurance carrier to see what your policy covers.
Retrieval and labs
Your egg retrieval is a procedure that needs to be done under anesthesia to (you guessed it) retrieve those eggs (a.k.a oocytes). Then, in a lab, those eggs are fertilized with sperm. The egg retrieval and fertilization process can cost around $7,000.
If you're lucky enough for at least one of those fertilized eggs to grow into an embryo, then there's another procedure to transfer it into your uterus. This part can cost around $1,400.
Here's what's *not* included in typical IVF costs
Heads up: there may be extra costs involved with IVF too, like additional testing or procedures. This could include:
- PGS or PGD testing: Preimplantation genetic testing can be performed before the transfer to check the embryo(s) for chromosomal abnormalities or inherited genetic disease.
- Frozen embryos or sperm: If you decide to freeze embryos or sperm as part of your IVF plan, then there's the cost of freezing, plus usually an annual fee for storage, which can be around $600 to $1,200 per year.
- Medication: Medications are given to stimulate the ovaries and trigger ovulation in preparation for retrieval. Medication can cost $2,500 to 5,000 for one round of IVF, says Bross. Some prescription plans cover all or part of it and some don't.
You can totally reduce IVF costs
While the actual total cost can vary widely from person to person, there are ways to reduce them for you.
Research health insurance options as early as possible
Lilli Dash Zimmerman, MD, Fertility Specialist at Columbia University Fertility Center (CUSFC) recommends that people interested in IVF take a close look at their health insurance options when they first start considering it. See what plans are available to you and what they cover, as far as fertility treatments are concerned. In some cases, it may make sense to pay for a pricier plan if it saves you money in the long run.
Compare costs (and success rates) at different clinics
If you're considering more than one different fertility clinic, don't just look at the fees they charge, says Bross. "First look at the quality of the clinic. What are their success rates?" he asks. "Number two should be prior patient satisfaction." If the fees end up being about the same at the different clinics, a higher success rate could translate to being less money spent in the long run.
Look into medication discount programs
Some pharmaceutical companies offer discount programs, where people under a certain income level can apply for a certain percentage off their medication. Check out our Find a Grant tool for some of these opportunities.
Weigh your payment options
Cost structure can vary widely, so find out what offerings your clinic has. For example, some clinics offer bundle pricing, in which one dollar amount covers monitoring, retrieval, labs, and a certain number of embryo transfers—whether you need that many or not—says Travis Lairson, director of operations at Inception Fertility. This can take some of the guesswork out of how much you'll pay and could help you feel confident you'll be able to afford the full amount of IVF, even if you have several transfers.
Apply for grants
There are a variety of grants available to help people financially through their fertility journey. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
Bross tells us that, sometimes, he's surprised how few people apply for certain grants. Your odds of getting one could be higher than you think.
Many people look to friends and family for help paying for fertility treatments like IVF, and so if yours are supportive, you may want to reach out for potential financial help.
Work closely with a finance coordinator
Fertility treatment is expensive, and your clinic knows this. That’s why your clinic likely has an in-house finance coordinator to help you through the process. They can answer all your questions about pricing and your own individual needs, and may also be able to help you choose a payment plan for costs you can't pay upfront.
Summing it up
With all the unknowns, it can be scary trying to figure out how and if you can afford IVF, but don't go it alone. Start with your insurance company, work closely with your fertility clinic, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there by applying for grants or asking family and friends for help. Finances can be totally tricky, but the resources available may help you save some costs for this investment in a (hopefully) future family member.
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