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The Real Cost Of Fertility Treatment

 

Raising children comes with a heavy price tag.  The average cost of raising one child in the United States from birth to 18 years of age is estimated to be $233,610.

While that price tag may seem large over the course of an 18 year span, what about the price tag couple’s pay for infertility?

The cost of fertility treatment varies by the type of treatment along with the severity of the diagnosis. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive and/or carry a child after 12 months of unprotected sex.

When first diagnosed after a year of trying to conceive naturally, many couples are shocked and unaware of the surmounting cost of fertility treatment.

The cost of fertility treatment can be financially straining because many states are not insurance mandated.

Of the 50 states, only 15 states have laws requiring insurance companies to cover or offer coverage with a diagnosis of infertility.

To grasp the full extent of fertility costs, let’s look at each type of fertility treatment and the cost of each.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you click on them to make a purchase I will earn a commission.  Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases.  The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

 

Fertility Testing

After trying to conceive for a year without success, the first step to receiving help with infertility is a doctor’s appointment. Typically scheduled with an OBGYN or specialized fertility doctor, women undergo a physical and pelvic examination, along with a pap smear.

These tests are routine and a starting point to figuring out the cause of infertility.

Related Articles:  6 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Fertility Clinic For You

A doctor will also order a long list of blood tests that include testing for:
-Luteinizing hormone (LH)
-Progesterone
-Thyroid Hormone Tests
-Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
-Prolactin
-Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Since the doctor’s appointment, examination and testing is done for the cause of infertility, much of the cost is out-of-pocket if an individual resides in a non-insurance mandated state.

Most insurances will NOT cover infertility because it is considered a pre-existing condition. *Eye Rolls*

The average cost of a physical/pelvic exam ranges between $100 to $250, plus an extra $40 for a pap smear test. If the pap smear yields abnormal results, a follow-up visit could cost an extra $350.

Of the multiple blood tests required, each blood test can range from $50 to $200 a piece. For blood tests, there is a lot of variation in pricing depending on the state and the clinic itself.

Make sure to always ask what the cost will be up-front for physical exams and blood tests. Just this cost of fertility treatment alone could cost you upwards of $1,000.

One cost of fertility treatment is routine blood work that tests for different hormone levels.

Further Fertility Testing

If you physical exam and blood work find no abnormal results, many fertility specialists will order further testing. In all honesty… The following tests are more invasive and of course cost more money then typical blood work.

Pelvic Ultrasound– Examines the condition and size of the uterus and ovaries, along with a woman’s ovarian reserve (egg supply).
Average cost: $525

Sonohysterogram– An ultrasound using saline to examine the uterus to look for abnormal shape or structure of the uterus, abnormal growths and scarring.
Average cost: $446-$479

*I had this procedure done and will be writing a more in-depth post about this specific ultrasound in the near future. 🙂

Hysterosalpingogram– An X-ray to examine the uterus and the fallopian tubes. The X-ray checks for signs of blockage within the fallopian tubes.
Average cost: $800-$3,000

Laparoscopy– A surgery performed by making a small abdominal incision to examine the pelvic organs. Typically, this procedure is only performed after all other fertility tests do not show the cause for infertility or previous testing has abnormal findings.

Laparoscopy checks and treats a multitude of conditions including tumors, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cycts, and blocked fallopian tubes.

I do know many women who’ve received this procedure because of blocked tubes or endometriosis. This is considered an extremely invasive procedure/surgery.

However, many women find great success in getting pregnant and carrying a baby to full-term after this surgery. It’s always important to weigh your fertility options with your doctor to determine if this is the right path to take for having a baby.

Another cost of fertility treatment is a variety of x-rays and ultrasounds for the reproductive system.

Since laparoscopy is used to diagnosis and treat health conditions, not just for infertility purposes, some insurances will cover the surgery. Hooray!

The overall cost varies depending on whether it is performed in a hospital setting or in office.

Average cost in office: $1,500-$2,500
Average cost in hospital/surgical center: $5,000-$15,000

Insemination

Once pre-existing health conditions have been found and treated, the next step in fertility treatment is usually intrauterine insemination. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is an in office procedure where a partner’s sperm is placed inside the uterus near ovulation to increase the chances of conception.

IUI is normally used for couples with male factor infertility, cervical mucus problems and unexplained infertility. The procedure is often performed with a combination of fertility medications and insemination.

The cost of intrauterine insemination (IUI) varies greatly depending on what state a couple resides in and the amount of fertility medication needed.

With the cost of the insemination procedure also comes the extra cost of semen washing, ultrasound testing and ovulation-stimulating medications.

Average cost of IUI: $300-$1,000 per cycle
Average cost of semen processing/washing: $150-$700 per cycle
Average cost of oral fertility drugs with monitoring/ultrasound: $500-$700

Donor Sperm and Eggs

When a couple is not able to conceive because of a lack of sperm or eggs, buying donor sperm and eggs may be an option for successful conception. While the cost of sperm remains much lower than donor eggs, both costs vary by state and by clinic.

Donor sperm is used in combination with fertility medication, fertility monitoring and intrauterine insemination.

But, donor eggs are only used with a combination of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), oral and injectable ovulation-stimulating drugs.

Average cost of donor sperm: $300-$800
Average cost of donor (frozen) eggs with IVF: $13,500-$17,500
Average cost of donor (fresh) eggs with IVF:$19,000-$26,000

Sometimes the cost of fertility treatment includes donor eggs, donor sperm and IVF.

In-Vitro Fertilization

Depending upon a case to case bases, many couples undergo in-vitro fertilization, an assisted reproductive technology (ART). To treat infertility, a woman’s eggs are extracted and fertilized with a sperm sample in a laboratory.

Once fertilization has occurred, the embryo is transferred back into the woman’s uterus for implantation.

Within the realm of assisted reproductive technology (ART) there are many factors that determine the overall cost per cycle. Factors such as medications, frozen embryo transfer and specialized procedures like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) dramatically increase the overall cost of a single cycle.

Average cost of IVF:$10,000-$30,000

The Real Cost Of Fertility Treatment

When looking at the average cost of fertility treatment it is easy to see that individuals or couples can spend as little as $1,000 for medication and insemination, while others can spend hundreds of thousands. Each couple is different depending on the cause of infertility.

Therefore, each individual has a different fertility journey. Infertility comes with a heavy price tag in the United States with little to no help from insurance.

Out-of-pocket fertility costs can be a huge financial burden that some simple cannot afford.

Since being diagnosed with infertility in 2014, my husband and I have spent an extensive amount of money on treatment we weren’t expecting to spend.

But how could I give up on fertility treatment when I couldn’t go a day without thinking about being a mother?

Let me do some quick math for you on the cost of fertility treatment for my family (just to put the cost into perspective for you):

Intrauterine insemination: $800
Sperm processing/wash: $250
Ultrasound monitoring: $350
Clomid (fertility medication): $30
Fermera (fertility medication): $10
HCG trigger shot: $147 per shot
Donor sperm: $650

We had five cycles total spaced over time because of the cost of fertility treatment. On the low-end we paid just over $1,000 out-of-pocket for one cycle. For the 4th and 5th cycle we paid a total somewhere between $2,000 to $2,350 per cycle.

Keep in mind this short list does not what we paid for travel, fertility blood work, pelvic exams, Sonohysterogram, and a fertility consultation appointment.  The total cost also varied month to month depending on our fertility treatment plan.  

Scary right?

Looking at the average cost of fertility treatment only shows you the financial numbers. The costs do not show the depression and anxiety couples experience because of infertility.

Wanting to have children, but physically not being able to conceive naturally is something I wasn’t prepared for.

Once the initial shock of the infertility diagnosis wore off and I began fertility medications and inseminations, depression and anxiety took over instead. It’s hard going through every cycle hoping this month will be “the” month.

Sometimes hope can be a cruel joke.

Every month infertility seemed to rob my husband and I of our happiness. Every month was filled with constant anxieties centered around payment dates, ovulation timing, medications, inseminations and endless prayers.

The cost of fertility treatment is expensive.

But the cost of not pursuing treatment is even greater. With every dollar spent on a hope and every tear shed, fertility treatment is worth the cost.

Although fertility treatments carry large price tags, the numerical cost does not show the emotional turmoil couples go through to achieve their dreams of being parents.

For a total of 933 days, countless tears were shed on my road to motherhood. Over the course of two and a half years of actively trying to conceive I went through a total of 5 intrauterine inseminations with oral and injectable medications. After the fourth insemination we began talking about IVF.

But we decided to give it one last-ditch effort with a different medication combination, ICI and donor sperm. Finally, success! My son is now almost two years old and being a mother is the greatest gift in life.

Although my husband and I have to pursue fertility treatment again to have another child, every penny spent is worth it.

Everyone’s fertility journey is different and unique. The real cost of infertility is not money.

It is the emotional and physical burden it brings to an individual’s life.

 

Works Cited

Fertility Tests For Women

Raising A Child: How Much Does It Cost To Raise A Child From Birth To 18 Years

How Much Fertility Treatments Cost

Cost of Fertility Treatments

What Are The Average Cost of Fertility Treatments In The U.S.

Fertility Treatments: Your Options At A Glance

Fertility Treatment Options

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