The cost of infertility on a person’s mental and emotional health cannot be quantified — but during National Infertility Awareness Week, TODAY Parents is examining the very real financial costs of infertility.
Whether people choose to pursue intrauterine insemination (IUI), in-vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy or adoption, the costs can reach six figures in many cases. Just ask Becky Fawcett, a mom from New York City who spent more on her journey to become a parent than she spent on her first house in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Her total expense? Nearly $200,000.
Fawcett shared this breakdown of the costs she faced: $82,000 for five rounds of IVF resulting in three pregnancies that all ended in miscarriage. That was followed by two adoptions, one of which cost $40,000 and the other $63,000.
“We were in our early 30s,” Fawcett told TODAY. “That’s the money you would spend on a house or invest for your future. No one plans to spend it on having a family.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states are required to either cover or offer insurance coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment. Even if insurance coverage is available where you live, it's still important to contact your insurer and clarify what your out-of-pocket expenses will be.
This guide reveals how much different paths toward starting a family can cost.
Related story: How 3 families navigated the cost of parenthood
IUI: From a few hundred dollars to more than $2,000 per cycle
Intrauterine insemination is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to increase the chance of fertilization.
“The cost of IUI is dependent on the fertility center and can range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars for a cycle,” Dr. Jenna Turocy of Columbia University Fertility Center told TODAY Parents. “This includes the cost of ultrasound monitoring and bloodwork, medication and the insemination procedure. Ultrasound monitoring and bloodwork are important to optimally time the insemination.”
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology estimates costs could run even higher — up to $2,000 per cycle depending on the fertility clinic, the type of medication used and any follow-up required.
IVF: About $20,000 per cycle
In-vitro fertilization costs $19,200 for a single cycle, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
“The cost of assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments varies considerably based on different factors, such as your location, potential insurance coverage and the desired outcomes of the procedure, which may entail doing multiple rounds,” said Dr. Sharon Briggs, head of clinical research at Modern Fertility. “The full course of treatment includes an average of two-plus cycles, bringing costs up to $40,000. These costs also depend on where you live.”
Briggs told TODAY the first appointment about IVF is likely to include a meeting with a financial consultant who can explain benefits coverage and specific costs.
Related story: 5 things to know before starting IVF
Adoption: About $50,000 per child
Fawcett, the New York City mom who spent almost $200,000 in total, is now the founder and president of Help Us Adopt, an organization that provides grants of up to $20,000 to help families with the cost of adoption. Help Us Adopt has given more than $4.5 million in grants since its inception in 2007.
The organization gives grants to both domestic and international adoptions. Fawcett noted that the costs are similar for both kinds of adoption.
“In the case of domestic adoption you’re paying for everything twice — once for the adoptive parents, once for the birth mother,” Fawcett said, giving examples of attorneys, social workers and counselors. There is also the cost of medical expenses for the birth mother. Even if she has insurance, the adoptive parent or parents often pays any deductibles.
In the case of international adoption, she said, the orphanage essentially takes the place of the birth parents and costs run about the same after the orphanage's fees plus country fees.
Fawcett said that while the price of $30,000 is often quoted when it comes to adoption, it’s incorrect. “I don’t think it’s fair to give anyone false hope,” she said. “I tell people to plan to spend about $50,000. If it’s a bit less, great. If it’s more, it’s in the range.”
Surrogacy: About $150,000
With surrogacy, a woman other than the baby’s parent carries the pregnancy. Surrogacy has a large cost variable depending on whether the surrogate is being paid or not. In situations where a family member carries the baby, parents-to-be can avoid a cost that generally ranges from $30,000 and $60,000, according to Emily Westerfield, an active gestational carrier and the gestational carrier program director for Gift of Life Surrogacy Agency.
“The more experience a carrier has, the higher the base compensation,” Westerfield told TODAY, noting that payments are broken down monthly as the pregnancy progresses. Carrying multiples brings a higher fee.
Westerfield said gestational carriers receive additional compensation ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 for hormone medications, maternity clothing, lost wages, travel costs and procedures such as the embryo transfer or a cesarean section.
If the parent or parents hire a surrogate, they can expect to pay the costs mentioned above along with medical and legal expenses. Dr. Barry Witt, a reproductive endocrinologist, OB-GYN and medical director with WINFertility, told TODAY Parents that surrogacy costs about $150,000 total.