In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a medical treatment plan to help couples overcome their infertility and get pregnant. IVF treatment has become increasingly more common, with one study from the Family Fertility Center at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women estimating nearly five percent of children in the United States were conceived through an IVF procedure. While IVF procedures are primarily geared towards women, there are some IVF medications available for men as well. IVF treatment plans are individually created based on your medical history. Because the plans may vary so much between patients, it is difficult to calculate the exact costs. Most sources place the cost of one IVF treatment cycle between $13,000 to $22,000.But there are ways to keep your costs lowered.
Because there are so many IVF options available, you can customize your treatment plans to save money. There are many factors you can change which dramatically reduce cost without risking the effectiveness of your treatment plan. Some of the most common IVF costs and possible alternatives are covered below.
Choosing Between Frozen and Fresh Embryos
A big contributing cost factor is whether you use frozen or fresh embryos. If you decide to use frozen embryos you do not need to include egg retrieval as part of your IVF treatment plan. Once your eggs are retrieved there are also additional costs to properly freeze and store your eggs during the procedure. If you decide to use frozen embryos, you can save roughly $5,000. Before choosing this option, check to see whether your treatment plan already has the cost of freezing and storing eggs built into the cost. If it is built in, speak with your doctor to see if this cost can be removed if you choose to use frozen embryos over retrieving your eggs.
Fresh embryos are taken from you during your IVF cycle. Once harvested, they are immediately fertilized. Previously, doctors always recommended using fresh embryos as it had a higher success rate. While the success rate is still technically higher as of writing, the use of frozen embryos is becoming increasingly common. It is also hard to attribute whether it was specifically the use of fresh embryos that caused those plans to succeed or if it there were other factors.
Another potential issue with fresh embryos is deciding when the best time to harvest is. Your body may respond to medication in an unexpected way, which causes a delay in your cycle. While this may sound like a minor issue at first, depending on how you are billed it may drastically increase the cost of the procedure.
Depending on your medical history, your doctor may suggest using a surrogate. If you choose to use a surrogate, the surrogate is given the fertilized egg and gives birth to your child. Using a surrogate is one of the most expensive IVF treatment options available. In most cases, the surrogate must be paid for her services, though you may be able to avoid this if you have someone generous in your life willing to volunteer her time. In addition to surrogate costs, there are also legal issues you must settle, which often involves hiring a lawyer to act on your behalf. Finally, you must make additional treatment costs for the additional procedure. As a result, surrogate costs can range anywhere from around $50,000 to upwards of $100,000.
While choosing a surrogate is initially the most expensive process, it may be your best option depending on your medical history. If you have had multiple miscarriages in the past or have a preexisting medical condition that makes pregnancies dangerous, a surrogate may be your only viable option. Most doctors only resort to recommending a surrogate if you have a condition or allergy which makes you unable to use common IVF medication.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
Some doctors offer ICSI as part of an IVF treatment plan. Compared to other parts of the plan, ICSI is not particularly expensive, on average costing between $1,000 to $2,000. During this process, your doctor inserts the sperm from your partner directly into your egg. ICSI typically only helps couples where the male partner’s sperm has limited mobility. If this is not an issue for you and your partner, you can save money by cutting ICSI from your plan. If you are unsure whether it can help, consult with your doctor first to see why exactly it is being recommended.
Buying IVF Medications
Another one of the big contributing factors to how much your IVF treatment costs comes from prescribed medications. There are many IVF medications to choose from. There are many IVF medications which require additional medicine to have any effect at all, requiring hormones or other ingredients to trigger an effect or prevent additional complications. With so many medications to choose from it is difficult to predict the exact cost. For some plans, it is as low as $1,000. Other plans may require up to $5,000 each cycle.
There are a few ways you can save money with IVF medication. With so many options to choose from, you may be able to request substitute medications with the same ingredients but a lower cost. The biggest way you can save money is choosing where to buy your medication. Before deciding to purchase medication from a local pharmacy, check to see if there are less expensive options available from an online pharmacy.
Using less expensive medication does not mean a lower quality product. Many online pharmacies have access to better deals than traditional pharmacies, which is reflected in their prices. Online pharmacies often have a wider selection as well, which may save you money if you are looking for a specific type of medication normally sold in larger packs when you only need it for a few days.
Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee your IVF treatment will work on the first cycle. The more cycles you need, the higher the cost. Additional cycles do not require you to pay the entirety of the costs all over again. On average, an additional cycle costs between $5,000 to $10,000 depending on several factors. This includes medication changes, medical history and other changes to the base plan. If you have preexisting conditions, such as PCOS or endometriosis, you will most likely require multiple cycles. Many couples plan and save up for at least several cycles before committing to an IVF treatment plan to best prepare for the expenses.
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