In vitro fertilization can be a great option for women seeking fertility assistance, but while there are many misconceptions about how IVF works, one thing is absolutely true: it's a pricey investment. Fertility treatments are more expensive in the US than anywhere else in the world, and according to Resolve: the National Infertility Association, only one quarter of health plans provide coverage for fertility treatments. Even when insurance does offer infertility benefits, the coverage typically doesn't pay very much. So how much exactly does a round of IVF cost?
To be fair, the process involved in IVF justifies the cost: it requires multiple doctor's visits, fertility medications, surgical procedures, and laboratory work. Since IVF is a multistep process, the question "How much does IVF cost?" doesn't have one answer. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine's website says that one cycle of IVF costs $12,400 on average prior to medication costs if you're using your own eggs and your partner's sperm. However, basic IVF can cost as much as $15,000 and as little as $10,000 depending on insurance coverage, the treatment center, and the requirements of the patient. The cost of the stimulation medications involved is typically $3,000 to $5,000 per cycle.
With that hefty price tag and lengthy process, the most disheartening thing to hear is that one cycle may not be enough to become pregnant. Even in the best-case scenarios, it can take two to three cycles for IVF to be successful. If the first cycle doesn't result in a pregnancy, the remaining embryos from the conventional cycle can be used for a frozen cycle. Frozen embryo transfers are much more economical, averaging anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 per cycle, plus an additional few hundred dollars for annual storage fees. Though transferring frozen embryos is significantly less expensive, you can always do another fresh, full IVF cycle instead.
If you don't live in one of the 15 US states that help cover IVF costs, some fertility clinics do offer IVF refund plans, which may recoup some fertility treatment costs. With an IVF refund plan, a clinic offers the opportunity for you to pay an upfront fee for a specific number of IVF cycles, and if the treatment is not successful, you may be eligible for a partial or even full refund. A typical refund plan requires prepayment for three IVF cycles, but will refund 70 to 100 percent of the fertility treatment cost if a pregnancy does not result. Resolve has also compiled a list of infertility financing programs that may make IVF an option for someone who couldn't afford it otherwise.