The costs of IVF varies considerably around the world, and in the USA all investigations and treatments are paid directly by patients or by their health insurance, but quite what health-insurance companies include in their cover varies; with most covering the costs of diagnosing infertility, but not the costs of treatments. Not all couples have health-care insurance, and in some USA states there’s State-mandated insurance cover and in these IVF is 277% more widely used, but the IVF success rates also happen to be lower.i
The average cost for a complete IVF cycle in the US is about $12,400 (plus medication), with some clinics charging $15,000 or more for complete in-vitro cycles (without medication), while others charge much less than the average, but cost doesn’t always reflect expertise, the quality of care or equipment, or accurately indicate outcomes. With a wide range of different pricing structures and packages on offer please make sure ALL the costs are fully explained if you’re thinking of IVF.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that success rates differ between clinics, so look closely at the data as it may reflect different approaches to treatment, particularly “patient screening” on the basis of the likelihood of successful outcome, rather than their labs and expertise. If clinics screen couples coming for treatment expect their success rates to be high, and clinics that specialise in difficult cases (older couples, low ovarian reserve or immune conditions) may have lower published success rates, but the individual chances of success will probably be higher there.
A rough guide to infertility costs in the USA
Initial investigations: should include blood tests, ultrasound and possibly a hysteroscopy or an HSG, total cost of about $2,000
Blood tests: should cover FSH, LH, estradiol (one of the estrogens) progesterone and testosterone, while AMH will indicate ovarian reserve, each test usually costs around $65
Ultrasound: will check the structure of the ovaries, tubes and uterus and the number of developing antral follicles, costing around $150-200
Semen analysis: costing around $50
Infectious-disease screening: costs $100-220 per partner
Structural analysis: with hysterosonogram (HSG) or Hysterosalpingo-contrast-sonography (HyCoSy) costs $600–1,000
IUI (Intra-uterine Insemination): $200–900 each procedure
Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) cycle: $200–500
IVF cycle: $10,000-30,000
ICSI cycle: $1,200–2,000 on top of IVF
Embryo freezing: $500 – $1,000 for a year
Frozen embryo transfer: $2,000 – $3,500
Medication costs are usually additional, the average cycle costs about $3000, it can be as low as $1500, but can reach $7000 per cycle for ‘poor responders’. The different costs reflect variations in the unit price of medications chosen, the dosages given and how long the ovaries are stimulated.
There are a couple of alternative ways of looking at costs:
- One is to consider the expected cost of achieving a pregnancy; so if a Clomid treatment has an 8% chance of achieving a pregnancy and costs $500 it could be said that with 12 medicated cycles the expected cost for a pregnancy is in the region of $6,000. In comparison IVF has about a 30% chance of a pregnancy each cycle, which leads to the expected costs of a pregnancy being in the region of about $45,000.
- Another is looking at what people actually pay and a study (published in 2011) that involved 8 different clinics and followed women over 18 months of infertility treatment found that:
- The average cost for IVF was $24,373 and that this rose to $38,015 when donor eggs were used ii
- When the cost of a successful outcome (pregnancy or delivery within 18 months) was calculated the cost of IVF rose to $61,377
It’s worth noting there were no significant differences in spending between women who had successful IVF and those who were unsuccessful during the 18-months the study covered.
For some couples IVF is unavoidable if they’re going to become parents, but for many couples it isn’t the only option that’s open to them, and with such high costs involved (and 66% of IVF cycles in 2010 involved the additional cost of ICSI iii), for couples without a known cause for their infertility it may make sense to fully investigate how to improve their natural fertility levels before embarking on an expensive IVF journey. Within a two year time-frame of trying this is the advice most experts generally give and is where the information at morefertile® comes into its own; which is to inform and empower couples to increase their natural chances of conceiving, and if this doesn’t work they’ll be in much better shape to succeed with IVF.