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Many individuals are willing to go to extremes to have a child, myself included. When I discovered in vitro fertilization (IVF) would be my best chance at becoming a mother, nothing was going to stand in my way — not even the cost.
The cost of IVF is quite expensive. Recently, some insurance companies have begun covering a portion of this cost, however, most are not. Therefore, for me and many other desperate men and women trying to have a baby, paying out of pocket is our only option.
Overall, one “fresh cycle” of IVF can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 depending on what is required to enable a successful pregnancy. A “fresh cycle” differs from a “frozen cycle” as eggs must be retrieved from a woman and then allowed to mingle with sperm to enable growth of what one hopes to become an embryo. A frozen cycle involves just transferring previously frozen, then thawed embryos into a woman who has been primed with hormonal medication, and is much less expensive.
Fresh cycle IVF typically requires a myriad of consults with the reproductive endocrinologist (RE), otherwise known as a fertility specialist, along with numerous blood tests and ultrasounds. Additionally, retrieval of the woman’s eggs and male sperm, embryo growth in the lab and then embryo transfer back into the woman is all done during a fresh cycle of IVF. All of this is included in the $8,000 to $15,000. Less lab work and ultrasounds are involved in a frozen embryo transfer (FET), or frozen cycle and thus cost for this ranges from $3,000-4,000.
Prior to IVF, analysis of male and female anatomy (ie., semen analysis, female pelvic exam, etc.) along with hormone levels and sometimes even exploratory surgery are required to identify why a woman and her male partner are not able to conceive in the first place. Such is not included in the IVF cycle price… tack on another $2,000… or more.
Furthermore, to actually go through the above process of IVF, many forms of hormonal medications are needed. Sometimes, a cycle may begin with oral contraceptive pills (birth control pills), followed by other oral, injectable, patch-form and topical hormonal medications, all of which are pricey. Unfortunately, medication is not included in the price per cycle of IVF, and can range anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 depending on how much a patient requires and what one’s fertility problem entails.
Doing either a fresh or frozen IVF cycle and using medications is the bare minimum needed to try and obtain a pregnancy. Many women also do other things to increase their chances of success. This includes taking supplements, vitamins and herbs and eating a healthy (and possibly organic) diet. Such additional measures usually add to the monthly expenses in some way and can truly add up over time. From personal experience, eating healthier and adding supplements to improve egg quality prior to my retrieval cost me at least an extra $100 a month.
Something new on the horizon that has been suggested to increase chances of pregnancy during IVF is to do acupuncture as well, as it has shown to improve blood flow to the uterus. Research is stating that increased uterine blood flow can help provide the perfect environment for embryo implantation. For this reason, I elected to see a certified Acupuncturist-Naturopath who specialized in infertility. I began weekly sessions three months prior to my fresh IVF cycle and continued until my seventh week of pregnancy. Before I began hormonal medications, with my RE’s permission, I took herbs in tea form that I bought from my Acupuncturist-Naturopath to accompany the acupuncture. The acupuncture and herb tea came out to approximately $1500 total.
The above prices of both the fresh and frozen cycles do not include additional optional testing and procedures such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or pre-genetic diagnostic testing, both of which can help increase chances of successful pregnancy. These add-ons, if you will, can be upwards of $1,000-$2,500 each.
As you can see, one IVF cycle alone can be quite expensive, especially when supplemental options are undertaken. Often, individuals forget that even transportation required to get to frequent appointments can add up. And let’s not forget about time away from work for the appointments, which depending could potentially decrease the amount of money made! I was very fortunate to have my fertility facility an hour away from my home as I know many folks who travel much longer distances to undergo IVF.
All in all, I think it goes without saying that IVF is an investment. Yes, it does cause a lot of stress and yes, it involves a LOT of money. But you know what? Now that I have my son, a healthy 15-month-old, and have seven more embryos frozen for the future, I can say that doing IVF was the best decision of my life.
Fresh IVF Cycle range: $14,600-$29,000
Disclaimer: The above pricing listed is per one IVF cycle, which varies per person, facility and location. Additionally, it is PER cycle and thus pricing does not take into account if a person does not have a successful pregnancy and requires additional cycles to try again for a baby. I was very blessed to have my first IVF cycle be successful; however, many men and women do not end up with such success.