Fertility Treatment Costs
For the 7.1% of American married couples who have infertility problems, alternative fertility options, such as fertility drugs and assisted reproductive technologies (ART) can provide for them a way to achieve their dreams of becoming parents.
But these fertility treatments aren’t cheap. What is the price of common alternative fertility treatments? And are they really worth it? Do all health insurance plans cover the cost of fertility treatment?
Fertility drugs are usually the first step in alternative fertility treatment.
Clompihene is a common fertility drug given to women with hormonal imbalances and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Clomiphene costs a minimum of $50 for one cycle; this cost doesn’t include medical visits, ultrasounds, or follow-up artificial insemination procedures, should they be required.
Clomiphene leads to an 80% ovulation success rate with 40% of these women successfully becoming pregnant. Thirty to sixty percent of these pregnancies result in live births.
Gonadotropins, which is sometimes used in conjunction with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), costs approximately $2 000 to $5 000; this price includes tests, drugs and medical check-ups. Gonadotropins leads to a 20 to 60% rate of success in conceiving, while the live birth rate is estimated to be 75 to 80%.
Another common fertility drug, bromocriptine, requires $75 to $112 per cycle. In patients who take bromocriptine, 90% of women continue ovulating while on the drug while 65% to 85% of these women become pregnant.
If your insurance policy doesn’t cover the cost of fertility drugs such as the ones above, you’ll have to pay the cost up front.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Ten to fifteen percent of couples that see a fertility specialist require ART in order to become pregnant.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI, in which sperm is placed in the womb using artificial means) costs $345, a cost which includes the cost of semen analysis, sperm preparation; insemination.
IVF is a process in which eggs from the ovary and sperm are injected into the womb if they become fertilized; it has a 35% success rate of becoming pregnant, with a 28% success rate of delivering a baby.
A frozen embryo transfer (which saves any eggs not used in an IVF cycle) costs approximately $2545.
Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) is a process in which the eggs and sperm are mixed in the lab and then surgically implanted in the womb; GIFT has a 25 to 30% success rate of becoming pregnant, with a cost of between $8 000 to $15 000.
Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) is a process similar to GIFT, except that doctors make sure the egg is fertilized before implanting it into the womb. ZIFT also has a success rate of 25 to 30% success rate of conceiving and also costs between $8 000 to $15 000.
Suggestions for Financial Aid: Health Insurance and Other Options
You should thoroughly research whether your health insurance policy covers fertility drugs or fertility treatment before committing to any plan. Also, be aware that fertility treatment costs vary from state to state.
Studies have found that the earlier couples visit reproductive specialists, the lower the overall cost of fertility treatment will be. This is because the appropriate tests are conducted to diagnose the cause of infertility. As a result, less time and money is wasted on fertility drugs that aren’t effective, and you have a greater chance of becoming pregnant more quickly.
Also, waiting too long to seek fertility treatment isn’t cost-effective. Fertility decreases with age, especially after the age of 35. If you wait until you’re older, chances are you’ll have to spend even more money on fertility treatments in order to become pregnant.
A study found that of 355 American employers, 41% offer health insurance policies that cover at least one type of infertility treatment, but many of these didn’t pay for IVF.
Over 65% of American employees offer insurance policies that are exempt from state mandates that require health insurance companies to make available a policy covering fertility treatment.
Many fertility clinics have financial aid counselors, who can help you set up a loan. If your credit rating is strong, you can have access to low interest rates.
Many health insurance policies cover prescription medications that can sometimes balance the costs of fertility treatments.
Shared Risk is a popular program in which an individual pays for a certain number of IVF cycles at the start of the program (typically four cycles) and if you’re not pregnant after the specified number of cycles, you don’t have to pay.
Fertility treatment can create a lot of financial, emotional and physical stress. Many reproductive centers offer financial counseling, and can help you find an affordable, individual health insurance that's right for you. However, it’s imperative to start budgeting before you start any fertility process in order to avoid disappointment and unnecessary stress.