IVF is expensive, and infertility is common. Once they have gone through the tests and investigations and the doctor has determined that medical intervention is absolutely required, the first question that most couples ask is: how much does IVF cost?
Unfortunately, there is no fixed answer to that and even the couples that are prepared to meet the expenses might end up burning a lot of dough by the time the treatment is complete. The uncertainty of IVF outcomes and supplementary add-ons or medications that may be required, can multiply the costs quickly and even then, there is no guarantee of having a successful pregnancy.
The average success rates of IVF worldwide are under 50%, and for those who fail, it’s just a lot of money down the drain and in some cases, a massive loan.
According to the US CDC, almost 13 percent of the women in the US alone have to employ some kind of artificial reproductive procedure to be able to conceive. Close to 80,000 IVF cycles are bring performed every year in the UK and Australia, and the number is around 200,000 in the US. However, the success rates remain awfully low and you must understand the procedure and costs of IVF before starting this journey.
Don’t panic because there are ways to be able to afford right treatment as explained below.
Understanding the average cost of IVF
An independent study published in the Fertility and Sterility Journal kept a track of all the out-of-pocket expenses borne by couples undergoing IVF, over a period of 18 months. These expenses covered their IVF procedure, medications, consultations, scans, etc.
On an average, it was found, the couples each spent $19,234 for a single cycle of IVF and for subsequent cycles, the patients ended up spending an additional $6,955.
According to this data, a couple undergoing three cycles of IVF, spent a little over $33,000 out of their pockets.
The researchers also found that the costs were similar for women who had successful outcomes and those who failed to achieve a pregnancy from IVF.
Although treatment costs may vary for you, the study authors believed that these estimates derived from actual patient experiences may give you an idea of realistic costs to consider before starting any IVF cycle.
Consider the clinic & location for IVF costs
IVF costs vary with the location of your clinic, as regions where the overall cost of living is low are likely to have better prices. For instance, the average cost in the US (as discussed above) runs upto around $20,000 whereas in many European and Asian countries, the cost is only a third of that.
With a mission to make fertility services more accessible and affordable, Infertility Aide offers IVF in a choice of locations including where costs fall between $4,000 and $7,500; this includes treatment with some of the pioneer doctors of reproductive medicine with four decades of experience in the field.
In countries like Mexico and Thailand, the cost of IVF hovers around $6,000 – $7,000. The cost of IVF in Malaysia is around $4,500 and our doctors there have demonstrated consistently high success rates that beat the success of IVF clinics in the entire UK.
The costs above are for fresh cycles of IVF, including medication. You will have to extend your budget for embryo freezing, or IVF with donor eggs or sperm.
Most patients flinch at the thought of having to spend so much on a treatment where success is not guaranteed, which is why it is important that you understand the costs as well as IVF procedure details.
Other than the location, the clinic’s standards and doctor’s experience will greatly influence your IVF cost and these are not to be compromised on.
Let’s say you’ve been given a price quote of $14,000, but you keep looking and find another clinic that quotes $9,500. Will you switch to the second clinic?
There are two important points to consider before you make such a jump:
- Are the two clinics comparable in equipment, expertise, experience and success rates?
- Is the second clinic (one with the lower price) giving you the full quote?
If the answer to either of these is NO, you must ask more questions before making the jump. Consider these tips for selecting the right IVF clinic.
Going to a slightly more expensive clinic might be worth it, if you succeed in getting pregnant in your first IVF cycle.
Why is IVF so expensive?
IVF is a sophisticated treatment that requires expensive equipment and skilled personnel. Dr. Leong here explains the factors that contribute to the cost of IVF and what you should consider while deciding:
The cost of IVF typically includes:
- Initial Counselling and Tests – Your doctor will suggest FSH, LH, E2, TSH, Prolactin tests for ovarian functions. HSG, hysteroscopy, etc may also be required for checking the uterine cavity.
- Medication – The injections administered for ovulation induction are expensive. Normally, a woman’s ovaries release one egg a month, but for better chances of success with IVF, the doctor will stimulate your ovaries to be able to collect more eggs prior to the fertilization process. Some cheaper versions of these medications may be available but you must ask the doctor to know the pros and cons of each. If opting for the cheapest medication results in a negative outcome, even the rest of your money will be wasted.
- Lab charges – IVF clinics will then charge for the actual process, which is in vitro fertilization of the collected eggs with sperms done in the IVF lab. This could be anywhere between $2,000 to $8,000 and may reflect in your bill as IVF lab charges.
- Doctor’s fee – There will be several rounds to the hospital for health check-ups, counseling sessions, follicular monitoring, ultrasounds
- Embryologist’s fee – The person who actually performs the IVF procedure in the lab is not a doctor but a specialist called an embryologist. Small IVF centers hire part-time embryologists while established clinics will have full-time embryologist for the lab procedure.
- Media and Disposables – The media used for IVF is used to support the growing embryos for 3-5 days before they are transferred back into your uterus. And lastly, you have to factor in the cost of all disposables—injections, needles, catheter, test-tubes, Petri-dishes, etc
You need to be careful that some clinics offering suspiciously cheap IVF (as compared to other clinics in the same region/country) may be compromising on the quality of materials or reusing disposables.
The doctor’s and embryologist’s fee are unlikely to be compromised, and it will be sensible to pay a little more to go with an experienced doctor.
Do not hesitate to ask questions if you do not feel confident of the practice. You are paying for everything and you have the right to make an informed choice.
Don’t just go for the cheapest
It is not a compromise of standards, as you will see, but primarily because of the low cost of living that allows IVF costs to be so low in some countries.
But even within those, you will find that IVF costs are quite variable. When choosing an IVF clinic, keep in mind you do not blindly want to go for the cheapest—you want to get the best value for your money.
If an IVF clinic offers you very low cost, but their standards and success rates are lower, you may need multiple cycles to achieve a pregnancy and choosing the cheaper clinic wouldn’t really be worth it.
Infertility Aide works only with a few clinics and doctors that are highly experienced and provided the highest standards of service in IVF treatments. Besides, we also take into account the success rates and patient satisfaction.
To learn more about IVF at Infertility Aide clinics and consult with some of the most experienced doctors in Asia, Europe, and Mexico, send in a request via the form on this page.
Nobody can assure a successful pregnancy, but you are only going to take a maximum of 2-3 chances at IVF. Do not compromise on the quality of treatment and make sure you make choices that allow you to have the highest chances of success in every single IVF cycle.
How to pay for IVF?
IVF is usually paid out-of-pocket but some clinics do offer payment plans. Don’t write it off before you’ve explored all your options.
In some locations we offer refund programs where you pay a set fee and a part of it is refunded if you do not pregnant even after 2-3 cycles, although these are not always recommended as if you conceive in the first go, you will end up paying a lot more for a single cycle of IVF.
Some options to consider:
- Credit cards
- Payment plans
- Affordable IVF overseas (Only trusted clinics)
- Borrowing from family
- Health savings plan (HSA) funds
- Insurance (some steps of IVF maybe covered, although it is rare and not significant)
- Medical, personal loans
- Retirement savings (might come with some penalties)
- Crowdfunding (yes, that’s rare but possible)
What if IVF fails?
IVF failure is common and there are so many reasons why IVF fails, so even though you don’t want to think about it, it is good to be prepared for a negative outcome, especially from a financial perspective.
Consult with the doctors on what would be the right treatment in your situation and do not put all your savings or take out a huge loan if your doctor suggests poor chances of success.
Multiple cycle IVF plans may turn out to be more economical, especially for women over the age of 35 years. There are many people who conceive in the first chance, and there are also those who are willing to take as many chances as it takes.
A lot depends upon your financial situation and you must be realistic about the possibilities.
There is no denying the fact that the cost of IVF is an important factor towards choosing a fertility clinic and you must:
- Ask the clinic about what is included in the IVF package cost
- Ask if you are eligible for minimal stimulation IVF, which is relatively cheaper
- Ask about the success rate or chance of success—not just general but specifically in your case
- Ask about multiple cycle IVF packages or any discounts if your first cycle fails
- Consider the doctor’s experience and expertise and the clinic’s devotion to honest practice and not just the price they are offering
For more information on low cost of IVF, get in touch with us through the form on this page or write to us at [email protected]
With contributions from Dr. Leong Wei Yew, IVF expert in Malaysia.
Katz P, Showstack J, Smith JF, et al. Costs of infertility treatment: results from an 18-month prospective cohort study. Fertil Steril. 2011;95(3):915-921. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.11.026
Fertility Treatment 2017: Trends and figures: Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority https://www.hfea.gov.uk/media/2894/fertility-treatment-2017-trends-and-figures-may-2019.pdf
Australia’s IVF rates revealed: one in every 25 births an IVF baby https://www.smh.com.au/healthcare/australia-ivf-rates-revealed-one-in-every-25-births-an-ivf-baby-20180908-p502ja.html
FastStats – Infertility https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/infertility.htm