People using in vitro fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF, to grow or start their family, might be wondering what IVF costs may be associated with the process.
What is IVF?
IVF is a procedure that takes eggs from the ovary and combines them with sperm outside the body in a lab in an attempt to create an embryo.
"IVF is the most advanced form of assisted reproductive technology available to help patients conceive or preserve their fertility for the future," Dr. Sanaz Ghazal, a board-certified reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist and OB-GYN in southern California, told TODAY Parents.
Why do couples turn to IVF?
"IVF is a powerful strategy to help couples overcome infertility and successfully conceive," Ghazal said.
Common causes of infertility that can be treated with IVF include: male factor, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes and unexplained infertility.
Ghazal told TODAY Parents that some couples turn to IVF for reasons other than infertility.
"IVF can be coupled with preimplantation genetic testing to screen embryos for specific genetic problems, like cystic fibrosis, that can be passed from parent to child," she said.
She continued, "By testing embryos for these gene defects and other chromosomal abnormalities and only transferring normal embryos, you can significantly decrease the risk of having a child with those genetic problems."
How much does IVF cost?
Costs associated with IVF treatment plans vary.
"The cost of IVF can vary widely depending on a number of factors including the services performed with IVF, (such as) intracytoplasmic sperm injection or preimplantation genetic testing, and your treatment plan," Ghazal told TODAY Parents.
In addition to the cost of IVF treatment, patients also need to factor in the cost of medications, which can be thousands of dollars depending on the type and dose of medications used.
"There may also be additional costs if your treatment plan includes the use of an egg donor, donor sperm, and/or a gestational carrier (or surrogate)," Ghazal said.
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, in vitro fertilization costs $19,200 for a single cycle.
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How to pay for IVF costs
Ghazal said that the costs of IVF treatment can be "a real barrier to getting the care needed."
"Many fertility clinics accept insurance, so a good starting point is to research your insurance policy carefully to see if you have any fertility coverage," Ghazal said.
The California specialist encouraged patients to talk to their employer about whether the company offers any family-building benefits, and consider using a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings plan (HSA), if you have one.
"Look for a fertility clinic that offers financing options or payment plans to help pay for treatment," Ghazal said. "You can also consider applying for a fertility grant through various organizations to provide some financial support on your journey."
Ghazal also encouraged patients to ask for special discount opportunities.
"Don’t forget to ask your clinic about discount programs for military personnel, as well as for cancer patients going through IVF for fertility preservation," she said.
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IVF treatment cost
The costs associated with IVF can be daunting but be wary of clinics advertising really low prices and get a clear understanding of what’s included in the cost.
"When it comes to fertility care, you often get what you pay for," Ghazal told TODAY. "IVF can be stressful, confusing, complicated and expensive so it’s really important to find the right doctor for your fertility journey."
She continued, "You want someone who will help you navigate your options, offer personalized care to achieve your goals, and who will support you every step of the way."
For people going through IVF, Ghazal recommends:
- Don’t compare your journey to others because everyone’s path is different and set realistic expectations.
- Prepare yourself for bumps along the way, but don’t get discouraged or lose hope.
- Make sure you give yourself grace through the experience and make self-care a priority, especially when it comes to your mental health.