IVF COST EXPLAINED WITH PRICE BREAKDOWNS AND HIDDEN COSTS

Chapter 8

Welcome to the 8th chapter of our comprehensive guide on IVF treatment. In the previous chapter, we talked about the possible outcomes of IVF, both positive and negative. Now, it’s time to learn about the financial cost of IVF, so you can start budgeting for treatment in advance because the truth is that IVF can be one of the most expensive treatments available, and can be the most expensive way to have a child. In this article, we will explain:

  • The average cost of IVF and why it’s so expensive,
  • IVF cost breakdown, including each step, additional treatment costs, and price differences between, different types of IVF
  • And how you can make IVF more affordable to fit your budget.

Cost of IVF

As we have said, IVF is one of the most expensive treatments you can get. It’s also a highly individual treatment. The amount of medication you will use, for how long you’ll be using them, the types of fertility evaluation tests you need, and if you’ll be using genetic testing or donor embryos will influence the amount of money you’ll be spending.

If you’re going through IVF for the first time, depending on your medical history and the results of your fertility evaluation, your doctor will come up with a treatment plan; including your treatment protocol, your medication dosages, and any additional procedures you might need. Then, you can come up with an estimation of how much IVF will cost you.

If you have done IVF before but didn’t succeed, your doctor might recommend you some additional treatments depending on the problem you’re facing, such as endometrial testing, assisted hatching, or using a donor program. These will be added to the base price.

Whatever your medical needs are, it’s best to be prepared for them in advance, and budget accordingly. The best way you can come up with an average cost for you is to get a quote from your clinic after going through fertility evaluation. 

What is the average cost of IVF?

The average cost of IVF depends highly on your individual case first, and your location second. However, the average price of IVF is not the average price that will cost you to have a successful pregnancy. For most people, it will take multiple cycles to get pregnant. So with the prices mentioned below, the cost of your treatment can be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled very easily depending on your location.

The average prices for IVF are shown in the table below. These prices are for one cycle of IVF, excluding medicine and other additional treatments. 

 the USAthe UKEurope
The average cost of IVF€15000-€30000€9000-€17000€5000-€8000

Why is IVF so expensive?

IVF is a process that involves multiple procedures being performed. Each procedure requires extensive expert labor, experience, and knowledge. IVF clinics and labs are held to the highest healthcare standards, and no costs are spared to ensure safety. The equipment, the medications, and the tests performed have a high price tag due to being so specialized. All these factors result in expensive infertility treatment, but all for a good cause.

IVF Cost Breakdown

So, what actually goes into this expensive treatment? As we said, IVF has multiple steps, some of which are included in the base price, and some that can be additional costs. Let’s go over every possible expense that can come up during IVF including the base price, the additional costs that can come up, and how the price differs between different types of IVF.

The Baseline IVF Price

Below, we listed and explained everything you need to account for getting the baseline IVF treatment, without any additional tests and procedures. Keep in mind that when you get a quote from a clinic, it isn’t likely to include the prices for the tests that need to be performed or the medications.     

Cost of Fertility Evaluation

Fertility evaluation is integral to IVF and is included in the base price. Fertility evaluation is conducted by performing less invasive tests first; such as Sonograms, Hormone blood tests for women, Semen analysis, and Hormone blood tests for men. If these tests were not enough to find an obvious cause, the fertility specialist might order more invasive tests.

For women, Laparoscopy, Sonohystrogram, Hysterosalpingogram, Hysteroscopy, and Ultrasound, and for men are Genetic testing, Testicular biopsy, and Imaging more invasive tests, but they can also give insights and information that we wouldn’t otherwise get with the less invasive tests. These specialized tests require different techniques, and equipment, making them more expensive.

On average, these fertility tests can cost anywhere from €200 to €5000, depending on what you need.

Cost of IVF Medications

Medication is one of the most important parts of IVF, and also one of the most expensive. Unfortunately, the cost of medications is almost never included in the price quoted by clinics, which can be a big shock for patients.

Before starting the actual fertility drugs, women usually have to take birth control for 1-2 months to regulate their cycle and make the timeline for their treatment clear. A month’s supply of the birth control pill can cost anywhere between €22 to €79.

A type of follicle-stimulating hormone is used during IVF for anywhere between 10-18 days during IVF, depending on the treatment protocol. There are many different types of medications used for ovarian stimulation, and the prices range from around €100 a vial to over €2000.

Gonadotropin agonists are used during IVF for around 4 days on a short protocol, and a single shot can cost around €70 to €250. The cost of the trigger shot is around €250.

The overall cost of fertility medications can change drastically based on the pharmacy, and the location. However, the most important factor is the stimulation protocol that’s employed. We recommend budgeting at least €2000-€5000 for fertility medications for one cycle of IVF.

Cost of Egg Retrieval

Egg retrieval is a 20-minute in-office procedure where eggs are collected via a suction device that has a needle tip. The needle tip is around the thickness of a grain of rice and is usually not painful. However, patients might find it a little uncomfortable during the operation. To make the process easier and more comfortable for patients, it is common to use intravenous sedation and a short-acting but very powerful painkiller together to help with the procedure. The sedation or the anesthesia used can be an additional cost.

The price may vary depending on whether you’re having sedation or local anesthetic, which costs around €700. The cost of the egg retrieval procedure itself ranges from €600 to €1,500.

Cost of Fertilization and Embryo Development

Fertilization can be performed either via conventional in vitro insemination, where an egg cell and sperm cells are left in a petri dish so the sperm can inseminate the egg naturally. Or, a single sperm cell can be injected into the egg with the ICSI method. Conventional in vitro insemination is included in the price of IVF, but ICSI has an additional cost of €1100-€3000 on average because it requires special equipment, more time, and expert labor.

After insemination, the embryos are put in an incubator, which provides them with the optimal conditions they need to grow. With conventional incubators, the embryos are taken out periodically to check on their quality.

However, there are now time-lapse incubators available, such as Embryoscope, that takes the picture of the embryos every 10-15 minutes to avoid distressing the embryo. Time-lapse incubators are highly specialized machines, and clinics can charge extra to use them, which costs about €600.

Another variable during the embryo development process is the use of embryo culture. All embryos are left to develop in some sort of culture, however, specialized embryo cultures can be prepared with various different nutrients, which can cost around €450-€900on average.

Cost of Embryo Freezing

Cryopreservation of embryos and gametes is possible after their extraction; either for fertility preservation or to increase success rates. Lately, cryopreservation of embryos during the first cycle has become more popular with the “Freeze-all” cycles. Freeze-all cycles are preferred by women who do not wish to go through ovarian stimulation or egg retrieval multiple times and don’t want to waste their viable embryos. Not going through ovarian stimulation also brings down the cost.

However, cryopreservation fees differ from center to center. Fees for cryopreservation are based on how long they will be stored. On average, one year of frozen embryo storage costs around €500.

One year of cryopreservation storage for eggs and sperm costs around €450.

Cost of Embryo Transfer

Embryo transfer is the last step in the IVF process, and it’s the most crucial. Though it seems like a simple procedure, variables like the environment, the materials used, and even the speed the embryos are injected can affect the results.

Especially with equipment used during IVF, they have to be of the highest quality as low-quality materials can react with oxygen and harm the embryo. And the sensitivity of the procedure is entirely dependent on your fertility specialist’s experience, which will be reflected in the price.

Embryo transfer costs anywhere from €3000 to €5000 and is included in the base IVF price.

Cost of Additional ART Treatments

Sometimes, patients might need additional procedures to increase their chances of success, as the standard IVF treatment might not be enough. However, these are in special cases where there is a specific problem such as severe male infertility, advanced maternal age, or when a genetic disease is present. Below, we gathered a table that show you the price ranges for these additional treatments, based on location.

 the USAthe UKEurope
ICSI€1500-€3000€1100-€1700€1500 – €3000
IMSI€2000-€3500€1800-€2300€2000 – €3500
PGT-A€350-€600€400-€900€350 – €650
PGT-M€3500 – €5000€4500-€9000€3000 – €4500
Assisted Hatching€500 – €1000€450-€700€450 – €550
Embryo Culture€600-€900€500-€700€450-€800

Cost of ICSI / IMSI

ICSI is a treatment developed specifically for male infertility, and it can increase live birth rates up to three times in cases where the male factor is the reason for infertility. ICSI requires specialized equipment, and expertise to perform, and it’s an extra charge in most clinics. IMSI, is a variation of ICSI, and involves choosing the best sperm cell available, which means it requires extra tests to be performed.

Cost of PGT

Pre-Genetic Testing is the general name given to two different tests. PGT-A and PGT-M can be performed on embryos to see which one is the most viable and if they carry genetic diseases or not. PGT-A screens the embryos for chromosomal abnormalities and diseases, and PGT-M is used to detect single-gene diseases. The additional cost for these tests can add up quickly, as the prices are determined per embryo, and it requires the biopsy, and cryopreservation of embryos. 

Cost of Assisted Hatching

Assisted hatching is an additional treatment that aims to improve the chances of implantation. It’s mostly used when the advanced maternal age causes the embryo to have a thick layer of protective membrane around it, or when cryopreservation is used and the membrane becomes harder. Assisted hatching is usually performed by laser, and is an additional cost in most cases since it requires specialized equipment and expertise to perform.

Cost of Embryo Culture

When in the incubator, the embryos are stored in a nutrient-rich liquid that supports their growth. Some clinics offer an additional embryo culture, where the standard liquid is supplemented with various vitamins, and minerals, which can have additional benefits. These embryo cultures are highly specialized and are often an additional cost in most clinics.

Cost of Sex Selection

Sex selection is still a touchy subject in the realm of assisted reproductive technologies. First of all, it’s high in demand, yet still illegal in most countries due to ethical concerns. However, there is a case to be made for sex selection when it comes to family planning and balancing. 

In order to perform a sex selection on the embryo, the PGT-A test is performed, which looks into the chromosomes of the embryo to determine if it’s XX or XY. It also requires the cryopreservation of the embryo until the results are available.

Sex selection is legal in countries such as Russia, the United States, Mexico, and Thailand, amongst others., and it costs around €4500.

Cost Differences Between Types of IVF

So, by now we understand that medication is one of the most important aspects of the IVF cost. The amount of medication you’ll be on will depend on your treatment protocol, which will directly have an impact on the total amount you’ll be spending on IVF. We would like to remind that your treatment protocol can only be determined by your fertility specialist, and it’s not always a good idea to go with the options below to cut down on the cost, as they might not yield the expected results.

Cost of Mini IVF

Mini IVF is when lower doses of fertility medications are used compared to conventional IVF, for patients that are at high risk for developing OHSS, such as people with polycystic ovaries. Mini IVF is a great option for people who are struggling with infertility due to ovulation disorders but still have a relatively normal follicle count.       

For mini IVF, the baseline price is €5500 on average. The cost of medications for mini IVF is around 30€ for Clomid and around €700 to €1000 for 5 vials of human menopausal gonadotropin.

Cost of Natural IVF

Compared to conventional IVF, natural IVF does not use any medications, which significantly reduces the overall cost, making it close to the baseline.

We’d like to remind you that while natural IVF is a great option for people who would like to avoid fertility drugs because of the severe side effects, a family history of hormone-sensitive cancers, and people who have religious beliefs; it’s not as effective as mini or conventional IVF.

As only 1 egg is harvested during each cycle, the patients might need to go through multiple egg retrieval procedures to get a viable embryo or an egg. It can take way more cycles to get pregnant this way, so even though natural IVF seems more affordable at first glance, it’s not as cost-effective as it seems.

Cost of Donor Eggs, Sperm, Embryos, and Surrogacy

In cases of severe infertility, patients might need to seek donated gametes or embryos to get pregnant. Even though the gametes are donated with no expectation of a compensation, those who are looking to get them will have to pay a fee. This is because when the patients get a gamete or an mebryo, they are responsible for the additional cryopreservation and transportation fees. The average prices for donor gametes and embryos are as follows:

 the USAthe UKEurope
Donor Eggs€7000-€9000€9000-€10000€5000-€7000
Donor Sperm€600-€1500€1000-€2000€100-€2000
Donor Embryo€4000-€5000€3000-€4500€2500-€4000

Cost of Donor Eggs

Donor eggs are an option for people who are facing advanced age, or premature ovarian insufficiency. The process of using donor eggs for IVF is almost the same as going through IVF with one’s own eggs; only the patient doesn’t go through ovarian stimulation or egg retrieval.

While there is no need to pay for medication when using donor eggs, which seems like it would bring down the cost at first glance, donor eggs are costly to use during IVF.

Csot of Donor Sperm

Donor sperm can be used in cases of severe male infertility, or for single women and same-sex female couples. People can either choose a sperm donor from a sperm bank, or they can ask friends or family members for donations. 

When using a sperm donor, the patient has to use cryopreserved sperm and needs to pay for costs such as the transportation fee, the storage fee, etc. If the donor is going to be someone they know, they can either use fresh sperm, which can be prepared on the same day as the egg retrieval, or cryopreserve it beforehand, which they would pay the costs for. 

Cost of Donor Embryos

Embryo donation is the best option available if both partners have severe infertility, or for same-sex male couples who are looking to use surrogacy to have a child. Most donated embryos come from people who went through IVF previously and generously donated the healthy embryos they were not going to use. 

With embryo donations, the patient would not have to go through ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, or sperm preparation. But they will have to pay for the embryo, transportation costs, and some additional procedures that might help to prepare the uterus, or with the embryo hatching after cryopreservation.

 

Cost of Surrogacy

Surrogacy is an option for women who cannot carry a baby full term due to health conditions or for same-sex male couples. Recently, as surrogacy has been accepted more by the wider society, the demand for it grew higher. 

Surrogacy services are mostly carried out by surrogacy agencies that specialize in connecting intended parents with surrogate mothers, and also specialize in the legal side of the process. While in most countries and US states surrogacy is illegal, even in places where it’s legal there must be agencies and reproductive lawyers in place to make sure that everything runs smoothly.  

The average cost of surrogacy is around €110.000, and it mostly involves legal fees and compensation for the surrogate.

How can I make IVF more affordable?

So, how can you find a way to make this expensive treatment more affordable for you without cutting corners? Below, we listed and explained the most common options patients choose to get the treatment they need, without exceeding their budget and getting less quality care and treatment with inexperienced doctors and subpar equipment. 

State Insurance

Depending on the country you live in, the state insurance provided by the social security system might cover IVF treatment. The downside is that most state insurances cover IVF under very specific circumstances, and usually for one round only. Even then, they might not cover all expenses, such as medication costs. So, it’s a good idea to check if you qualify for IVF under your state insurance, and which aspects of the treatment have insurance coverage.

Private Insurance

If you have private insurance, IVF coverage might be available depending on your policy. In most cases, private insurance too will cover some aspects of the treatment and not all. You can check in with your insurance provider to see if IVF coverage is available on your plan, or if you can upgrade to a plan that has coverage. You should also ask about which aspects are covered, and come up with an estimation of how much you need to pay out of pocket. 

Medical Tourism

Traveling abroad for IVF may appear to be more expensive, but it can be much more affordable than visiting a local fertility clinic, depending on where you live. In recent years, a lot of people prefer to do IVF to manage costs, or because the treatment they need might not be available in their home countries. The change of scenery and the vacation-like experience can also help patients relax during the stressful process.

Final Word

In short, it’s highly expensive to have a baby through IVF. With the complicated process, all the additional expenses that can creep up, and the multiple cycles needed; it’s best that you budget for the procedure in advance. Let’s go over what we have learned one more time:

  • IVF is an expensive process, with multiple procedures involved. The base price includes the bare minimum needed for the treatment. Most people need more than a few cycles to have a successful result, which can add up quickly. 
  • The medications and additional procedures that might be required are not usually included in the base price, and patients need to account for them in advance. 
  • People who cannot pay for IVF out of pocket can look into their insurance to see how much IVF can cost them, or they can choose medical tourism for more affordable prices.

We hope that his article had all the information you needed. If you would like to learn more about the cost of IVF, how the IVF process is conducted in Turkey, or want to get a quotation, you can reach out to us by filling out the contact form below. One of our medical consultants who speaks your native language will reach out to you in no time. You can talk about what kind of fertility treatments you require, and get a quotation to see if it’s within your budget. We hope that you can start building the family you want as soon as possible.

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