When a couple is experiencing infertility, they may consider In Vitro Fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF. But as they begin to weigh the pros and cons of this procedure, they may begin to wonder, how expensive is IVF?
As Resolve.org shows, there are currently only 15 states requiring insurance coverage for IVF, meaning most U.S. couples will be reaching for their wallet if they choose to pursue this treatment. In an article for Forbes, Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy shared her experience navigating the financial side of infertility. Her personal expenses aligned with the national average of $12,000 for one cycle of IVF, with additional costs shooting that number up to around $20,000. For couples just beginning to explore IVF, these numbers can be intimidating. Where exactly will all these hard earned dollars be going?
Before prospective parents begin the process of joining egg and sperm outside the body, the United States National Library of Medicine’s website suggests understanding what is involved in making in vitro possible. This will help them get a better idea of not only what may lies ahead, but also understand why the expense can be so steep.
To gain a clearer understanding to how the overall cost of IVF breaks down, I reached out to Beth McAvey, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York. She categorizes expenses into four categories, to help patients make sense of each expenditure. Here is what you can expect to spend if IVF is in your future.
Each office will has their own pricing structure, but according to McAvey, you can expect to pay between $350 to $500 for a consultation. She notes however that “insurance can sometimes cover consultations depending upon the patient’s insurance provider and coverage plan.” McAvey also cautions couples to research any center that offers free consultations to ensure they can provide the quality and attention each patient deserves.
According to the National Fertility Association, the fertility medications needed for IVF are necessary to stimulate and encourage egg production. Depending on an individual’s treatment plan, McAvey says patients can expect to pay between $5,000 and $7,000 for these medications. But before you run these prescriptions down to the pharmacy, McAvey recommends checking your in-network fertility coverage to see what cost may be covered by insurance.
This is where IVF couples will be spending the bulk of their overall costs, due to the amount of steps involved to successfully implant an embryo. According to the University of Rochester Medical School, four procedures needed for IVF: egg retrieval, fertilization and embryo culture, assess embryo quality and embryo transfer. Aside from these basic steps, there are also additional genetic screenings that can be done for around $5,000. “Through this process, we can test embryos for Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal issues,” McAvey says. “Over the past few years, this technology has revolutionized reproductive medicine, and multiple gestations and miscarriages have been nearly eliminated.”
No matter how much you budget, extra costs can creep in during the IVF process. What to look out for? McAvey says Anaesthesia, laboratory fees, and cryopreservation of embryos are all potential additional costs that you may not have realized when beginning IVF.
When considering IVF, it would be wise for couples to start their financial research up front. McAvey advises first checking with your insurance provider to understand what benefits are available. Then, if you need to seek extra financial back-up, there are grants and loans available to those who qualify. But beyond the money, the best advice McAvey has to offer is to find a solid support system. “Surround yourself with supportive friends and family and maintain a healthy lifestyle prior to and during the process,” she says. “It is also important to remember to set realistic expectations and have a positive attitude.”