IVF Pricing and Payment Options
If you and your partner have had trouble getting pregnant, you may turn to in vitro fertilization, more commonly referred to as IVF, in hopes of having a child of your own. Same sex couples as well as single parents also turn to IVF as a means of having a baby. IVF is a multi-step process that can be quite costly, but just how much does attempting to get pregnant with IVF cost? Just as IVF is no simple process, the answer to, “How much does IVF cost?” isn’t black and white either. Here we explore the pricing and payment options of IVF and the factors that may influence them.
What is the average cost of IVF?
On average one cycle of IVF will set you back $12,000, though basic IVF can cost as much as $15,000 and as low as $10,000 depending on where you are treated. Additional cycles average roughly $7,000 per cycle.
A complete IVF cycle refers to IVF stages from ovulation stimulation to embryo implantation. In a successful IVF cycle, an embryo grows to full term and a healthy baby is born. In unsuccessful cycles, the cycle may be cancelled before implantation or none of the implanted embryos grow to full term. Many couples need more than one IVF cycle to get pregnant and carry a baby to term. To cut down on costs, couples may create more embryos than needed in cycle one and freeze them for later cycles, cutting out the first half or so of the process.
Medication Costs for IVF
Fertility medications, an essential part of the IVF process, are not included in the estimates above. They will set you back anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 per cycle.
Why do costs for IVF vary?
The simple answer—everyone is different and therefore needs a custom IVF treatment to be successful. Since no IVF experience is created equal, it’s very common for varying costs to come into play.
Basic IVF is simply the baseline for IVF procedures. Depending on your fertility or genetic issue, your IVF journey may be different. For example, couples who carry genetic disorders may turn to IVF to ensure an embryo without the disorder is brought to term. In this case, they will opt to use a screening process, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which tests embryos for the presence of that gene and incurs additional costs. This is just one scenario where IVF costs differ from average.
Reasons why your IVF cost can go up or down
Costs of IVF vary by patient, clinic, what geographic area you live in and your specific needs. Using a surrogate or sperm donor, freezing eggs and genetic screens are just a few of the reasons your cost for IVF may go up or down. It is impossible to determine exactly how each IVF cycle will go. At each turn you may find treatment options that incur an extra cost. It’s important to understand your goals, boundaries and budget before beginning IVF.
Additional costs associated with some IVF cycles
Depending on the fertility issue affecting your ability to get pregnant, your physician may recommend using donor eggs for a higher probability of success with IVF. Egg donation costs are one of the highest costs associated with IVF, averaging around $25,000-$30,000.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
ICSI is an IVF procedure that calls for injecting a single sperm directly into an egg. The process aims to tackle one of the number one reasons for infertility—defective sperm. Though some forms of male infertility have genetic foundations, many men’s infertility results from environmental factors. ICSI was created to mitigate some of those issues and remedy problems with severe male infertility.
ICSI is most commonly recommended for couples who can not get pregnant with basic IVF treatments or when there aren’t enough normal sperm present in the test sample from the male to predict IVF success. On average, ICSI costs between $1,400 and $2,000.
When embryos are cultured in the lab for an extended period of time, the technique is referred to as blastocyst culture. Instead of freezing or implanting 3-day-old embryos, they are cultivated outside the womb for 5 days. The extra two days allows 30-40% of the embryos to develop into blastocysts.
Blastocysts are simply more mature embryos. However, within those two days significant developments occur, allowing embryologists to get a better picture at the strength and advancement of the embryos they decide are best suited for transfer, therefore offering a higher chance of the embryo being successful as they are able to choose them embryos that are most likely to implant.
Patients exploring the blastocyst option must have an adequate number of embryos, generally more than 4, that have reached a specific development stage by day 3. At this point, your provider may offer this option. Many clinics do not charge for blastocyst culture, while others charge a nominal upcharge as low as $175, for the service
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is a genetic test of singular cells within an embryo, which detects genetic diseases and chromosomal disorders before an embryo is implanted. Couples who are known carriers or in another way at-risk for these types of issues can use PGD to help make the choice of which embryos to transfer. PGD leads to a higher chance of transferring healthy embryos and can increase your success rate with IVF. PGD is also a tool for gender identification, which some couples seeking gender balance in their families may use to choose embryos. On average, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis costs $4,000-$7,500.
In one IVF cycle there are often more embryos created than implanted. For the up to 60% of patients who end up with extra embryos, embryo freezing is an option to preserve embryos for future IVF cycles and/or mitigate moral or ethical hesitations that come with disposing of embryos. Couples who do not intend to do more rounds of IVF may donate their embryos. Approximately 90% of embryos survive the freezing process. On average, embryo freezing costs around $2,000.
Frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle
Women who choose to freeze embryos during a fresh IVF cycle may choose to use the frozen embryos in a subsequent frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle. Using frozen embryos in an IVF cycle is cheaper, usually by about $2,000, than a fresh IVF cycle.
Frozen embryos need somewhere to live. To remain viable, they must be stored in proper conditions within a lab. Most clinics offer storage on a yearly basis at a price point of $350-$1,000 annually.
Men who may be at risk of infertility may consider sperm freezing, also called, sperm banking, as a means of having a child. In general, sperm collection, freezing and storage costs less than a $1 a day, which the initial screening, banking and cataloging procedure costing around $550 and additional banked specimens costing $300 with storage for a year.
Does my insurance cover the cost of IVF?
There are 15 states where at least partial insurance coverage for IVF treatment is covered:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
While each of these states require some IVF coverage, it varies significantly state by state and even if your state does not mandate coverage, you may still be covered under your specific insurance plan for certain diagnosis.
Either way, your insurance provider and/or employer should be able to provide you with coverage information, which will fall into one of five groups:
- No coverage for infertility
- Infertility diagnosis only covered by insurance
- Limited treatment and infertility diagnosis covered by insurance
- Full infertility treatment covered by insurance
- Medication coverage only, which may or may not cover infertility medications
If your coverage includes infertility diagnosis, confirm with your doctor whether or not a procedure or test will aid in determining whether or not an infertility issue is present and what’s causing it. Based on their response, you’ll have a better idea of which portions of the process are covered by insurance.
If your coverage includes limited coverage, specify whether or not things like oral and injectable fertility drugs will be out-of-pocket expenses.
If you have male partner, explore what coverage he may have in relation to male infertility issues. All couples should compare both policies if each are insured to maximize coverage and limit out-of-pocket expenses.
If you have full infertility coverage, consider yourself lucky! That being said, never assume items are covered. Always ask questions and clarify what falls into the infertility coverage bucket as things such as embryo freezing, PGD and ICSI may not be deemed “necessary” and therefore not covered by even full infertility coverage plans.
Infertility medication coverage is an especially confusing pain point of IVF insurance coverage. Even in states with mandated infertility coverage, fertility medications may not be included. Or it may include coverage for oral fertility drugs, but not injectable, both of which are necessary for IVF.
What factors determine if insurance covers fertility treatments?
There are 4 main factors that determine if insurance covers fertility treatments:
- Insurance provider
- Where you live
- Your employer
- Your infertility issue
Because coverage varies so significantly based on a multitude of factors, it’s imperative to research your specific coverage and take ownership of asking questions and clarifying insurance issues during the IVF process.
What services are typically included in basic IVF?
Basic IVF typically includes all services associate with each step in a basic IVF cycle:
1. Ovulation manipulation
Woman takes medication, usually birth control or an injectable fertility medication, to stop ovulation during the cycle before beginning IVF treatment. The reason for this is so that the doctor can control ovulation and preserve eggs prior to retrieval. Once blood work is done and an ultrasound is performed to determine baseline metrics, you take ovulation stimulation medications to up egg production.
2. Egg retrieval
Your clinic will monitor the follicles and administer an injection of hCG when they are ready to ignite the maturation of the eggs. After a precise number of hours following the injection egg retrieval will occur. During this time the woman receives an IV sedation and the eggs are gathered using an ultrasound-guided needle inserted through the vaginal wall.
3. Semen washing
Concurrent with egg retrieval, the man will give a semen specimen that goes through a special “washing” procedure in the lab. Additional sample mays be collected and frozen for future use.
4. Embryo growth
Once the eggs and sperm are ready to go, an embryologist will create embryos in a lab. They will incubate for approximately 3 days in very specific conditions before implantation.
A viable embryo or embryos are implanted directly into the uterus using a small tube for transfer. You will be offered sedation, but not anesthetic.
What IVF financing options are available?
IVF is an expensive procedure, but luckily there are many options available to finance this important step in your family. Here are 10 options for financing IVF:
1. Insurance: It is always best to start with your insurance provider to see if and how much of your IVF may be covered.
2. Existing assets: You may be able to leverage current holdings to fund your IVF treatment. Options such as a home equity line of credit or 401K loan can offer low-cost options to financing IVF.
3. Savings: The IVF decision process can be lengthy and it’s ideal to get a jump-start of saving for the procedure as soon as you consider it an option for your family. Even if you are unable to save enough to cover the entire procedure, you will be able to take on less debt with a proactive savings plan.
4. FSA/HSA: Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts can be used to save pre-tax income for use for healthcare related items, such as fertility treatments. Treatments not covered by insurance can still be funded by these types of accounts. The major difference between as FSA and HSA is that money in an FSA must be spent out by the end of each year.
5. Clinic financing options: Many clinics offer packages, payment plans or connections to other financing options to make IVF happen for you.
6. Fertility finance programs: Certain lending partners specialize in IVF financing options. Your clinic may work directly with one of these partners or you can find one independently.
7. Fertility grants: Many nonprofits serve families experiencing fertility issues. B.U.M.P.S., the Cade Foundation and Fertile Dreams all provide support for families who cannot afford fertility treatments.
8. Family members: Consider asking family member who may be able to provide a loan at little to no interest.
9. Credit cards: With good credit, you are likely to be approved for a credit card limit that can cover IVF. Consider shopping around for an appropriate line with the best interest to finance your IVF treatment.
10. Military families: Some clinics offer special pricing and/or financing options for military-connected patients.
Can there be a discount for paying in cash?
Along with the savings of bank fees and interest, you may be able to get a cash or “pay in full” discount on IVF by paying in cash versus a finance plan or insurance. Ask your clinic for details on these kind of offers.
Examples of Multiple IVF Pricing Plans
Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago
Single Cycle In Vitro Fertilization Cost: $8,500 (without monitoring); $10,000 (with monitoring)
Multiple Cycle In Vitro Fertilization: Starts at $18,000 (80% Refund Money Back Guarantee); Starts at $16,500 (without Refund Money Back Guarantee)
Costs for additional procedures:
ICSI, injection of sperm directly in the eggs: $1500
Blastocyst culture and transfer (day 5 transfer): No additional cost
Embryo freezing (includes 1 year of storage): $800
Frozen embryo transfer cycle (thaw, culture and transfer embryos): $4,000
Embryo storage: $800/year
Sperm freezing: $150
Advanced Reproductive Center
Single Cycle IVF Plan: $7,000
Multiple Cycle IVF Plan: $18,000 Multiple Cycle
IVF Plan With Money Back Guarantee: $19,500-$28,000
Donor Egg Cycle: $11,500
Cryopreserved Embryo Cycle: $3,500
Advanced Fertility Services
Cycle 1: $9,500
Cycle 2: $8,500
Cycle 3: $8,000
• Hormonal and sonographic monitoring
• Ultrasonographic egg retrieval
• Sperm preparation
• Embryo culture
• Embryo transfer
Donor Egg Program (MyEggBank): $10,000 (Lab Fees) + Cost of Purchasing Eggs
• Management of recipient cycle
• Fertilization of eggs with ICSI
• Culture of Embryos
• Embryo transfer
Frozen Embryo Cycle: $4,500
• Blood tests
• Embryo thawing and preparation
• Embryo transfer
• Pregnancy test
What is Mini-IVF? How much does Mini-IVF cost?
Mini-IVF, also call minimal or micro IVF is virtually identical to basic or traditional IVF in all way but one—the amount of fertility medication prescribed to stimulate egg production in the ovaries. The lower dose of fertility medications produce less eggs. Using less or no fertility medications lowers cost and a women’s risk of getting ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS), a side effect of fertility drugs, but lowers the overall success rate of IVF.
Women with the following characteristics may consider micro-IVF:
• You have PCOS and want to mitigate the risk of OHSS
• You are facing the beginning of a cancer treatment and are undergoing IVF to preserve future chances of having a child and the fertility drugs are known to have a negative effect on your type of cancer
• Your ovarian reserves are low and will therefore egg production will not be especially responsive to any level of medication
• You are on a budget and cannot afford traditional IVF
• You have a fear of needles (less meds=less needles)
• You are considering IUI and want to avoid a multiple birth
Mini-IVF costs roughly $5,000-$7,000 per cycle.
What are IVF refund programs?
Some fertility clinics have IVF refund programs, which offer partial reimbursement or even money-back guarantees for failed IVF cycles. These programs may cost more in total should the cycle be successful than programs without this type of coverage. You can think of IVF refund programs as a type of insurance—you pay a nominal fee upfront for major coverage should you need it. See Advanced Reproductive Center pricing plan above for an example of how IVF refund programs are structured.
Costs for IVF cycles canceled due to low response
There are a variety of reasons an IVF cycle may be cancelled:
• Too low of a response to fertility medication
• Too high of a response to fertility medication
• Formation of polyps or fibroids in the uterus
A cancelled IVF cycle may happen before or after egg retrieval. If the cancellation comes post-egg retrieval you may be able to freeze embryos for later attempts at IVF with yourself or a surrogate. If it is cancelled pre-egg retrieval your doctor may suggest a more aggressive plan in subsequent cycles.
The cost of a cancelled cycle varies by clinic, though for the most part you pay only for the services they were able to perform. This is one of the reasons why most clinics break down the IVF treatments so granularly in their pricing sheets.
Costs of non-IVF fertility treatments
IVF is at the highest end of fertility treatments when it comes to cost. Depending on the fertility issue you’re experiencing, there may be a much lower cost option for you to explore.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Often suggested for couples experiencing unexplained infertility, mild male infertility or for women with cervical mucus issues. IUI costs an average of $1,200-$2,500 per cycle.
Many couples try two to three cycles of fertility medications prior to investing in an IVF cycle. The mix of medications is similar to the start of any IVF cycles, oral medications to stimulate ovulation, plus injectable medications of stimulating hormones. The average cost is anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000.
Another method of diagnosing fertility issues, which uses a hysteroscope inserted into the vagina through the cervix to examine the uterus. One average, the procedure costs between $750-$4,000.
A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that gives a clear view of a woman’s reproductive organs to diagnose fertility issues. One average, the procedure costs between $1,700-$5,000.