There are many women, who for various reasons have not yet reached their goal in motherhood.
The opportunities to achieve the dream of motherhood have been increasing over the years, but they are not always available to everyone.
Treatments such as IVF are expensive, not always successful with just one cycle, and in fact, it is a financially expensive process for the family.
There are some public hospitals that offer the treatment for free through other funding sources, however, these are scarce services with long waiting lines.
The biggest limitation of IVF treatments is, worldwide, the same: lack of access due to the high price. But why do these treatments cost so much? To be able to spend less it is essential to understand how the treatment works and to choose the most efficient way to spend your money.
In Vitro Fertility (IVF) Treatment Steps
Ovarian puncture + IVF
This consists in the harvesting of the oocytes, done around 36 hours after the administration of hCG, or another hormone used for the same purpose. The transvaginal puncture is done under ultrasound control and anesthesia to avoid discomfort for the woman.
In turn, and after 2 to 3 days of sexual abstinence, the man collects the semen, which is immediately prepared in the laboratory for in vitro fertilization.
The fertilization takes place right after the collection of the oocytes and spermatozoa. First, the follicular fluid collected through the puncture is analyzed to identify the oocytes and placed in a culture environment. Subsequently, semen in which an adequate concentration of motile sperm is previously detected is incubated.
Embryo transfer takes place 2 to 3 days after the woman has performed the transvaginal puncture and may also take place 5 to 6 days later. The number of embryos to be transferred depends on the quality of the embryos, the age of the woman, or by decision of the couple.
As a rule, 1 to 2 embryos are transferred because this number corresponds to a better success rate, with less risk of multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, or higher-order multiples). The embryos to be transferred are placed in a thin catheter that is introduced into the uterus. This procedure does not require anesthesia.
Cryopreservation of Embryos
Because it takes place in a controlled laboratory environment, the In Vitro Fertilization process allows the embryo development to be monitored to identify the embryos that are suitable for transfer.
In about 50% of the cases, more embryos are obtained than are transferred in the first treatment cycle, where cryopreservation is available.
In practice, this means that these embryos are cryopreserved and can be used in a future cycle to try for a second pregnancy or after a failed case. The big advantage is that there is no need for a new ovarian stimulation process and a new puncture.
How much does IVF cost?
Prices for IVF at fertility clinics in the United States range from about $12,000 to $14,000 for one cycle. Most clinics treat parts of the IVF process as some mandatory, some optional, as add-ons to the basic fee. A single IVF cycle can cost $30,000 or more, depending on your needs. But often, the total amount will be between $15,000 and $20,000.
Sometimes a clinic’s basic fee for In Vitro Fertilization will cover monitoring appointments, blood tests, egg retrieval, and follow-up care. If you are quoted below $12,000, this may mean that the basic fee covers less than what is listed above. Ask for a clear list of the basic fee and what will be charged as additional fees.
In most clinics, the base fee does not cover the price of injectable hormones, which can cost from $3,000 to over $6,000, usually paid directly to the prescribing pharmacy.
Additional clinical fees may include intracytoplasmic sperm injection (a specialized way to create embryos), genetic testing of embryos, a test transfer (also called a simulated embryo transfer), and/or storage fees for embryos you wish to preserve.
When budgeting, consider that you may need to go through several embryo transfers or several complete IVF cycles. Ask your clinic about the price of additional embryo transfers if the first transfer does not result in a successful pregnancy and delivery, as well as the price of additional gonadotrophin cycles if you need to create more embryos.
Costs Before the Procedure (Non-Donor IVF)
- Basic fee: $12,000 to $14,000 (usually includes control consultations, egg retrieval, embryo creation and fresh embryo transfer)
- Fertility evaluation: $250 to $500. This evaluation usually involves an ultrasound of the ovaries, a blood test, and a physical examination.
- Semen analysis: $200 to $250
- Injectable drugs : $ 3.000 to $ 6.000
- Follow-up consultations : Usually included in the base fee Embryo Creation and Fresh Embryo Transfer costs
- Egg retrieval : Usually included in the base fee
- Anesthesia (during egg retrieval) : Included in the base fee of US$ 725
- Donor sperm: US$ 300 to US$ 1,600
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) : Included in the basic fee of $2,000.
- Simulated embryo transfer: $240 to $500. Doctors mimic what they will do during embryo transfer – insert a catheter into the uterus – only without an embryo in the catheter.
Costs of Frozen Embryo Transfer
- Cryopreservation of embryos: $1,000 to $2,000. Freezing embryos involves several steps that can increase the cost of your IVF package.
- Embryo storage: $350 to $600 per year.
- Genetic testing: $1,800 to $6,000. Embryos can be frozen to await the results of PGT, short for pre-implantation genetic testing.
- Frozen embryo transfer (FET) : Included in the basic fee of $6,400.
- Medication for FET: $300 to $1,500. Your clinic may prescribe progesterone injections prior to a frozen embryo transfer to help increase the chances of successful implantation.