Getting pregnant is not always easy. Between 10 to 15 percent of couples in the United States and in Central Europe are deemed infertile. Infertility and fertility treatments are often a valuable option.
A couple is labeled infertile after six to 12 months of trying to get pregnant with no success. The causes of infertility are varied and can require different routes of treatment. Fertility treatment costs will differ, depending on the type of infertility treatment, the area one lives in, and other, often unknown, factors.
Medications Used for Fertility Treatment
The first option that many doctors will consider is medication. There are two main types of medications, clomiphene and gonadotropin. Both can regulate reproductive hormones and trigger an egg to be released from the ovaries each month. The price of clomiphene is dependent on whether or not the medication is generic or a brand name. The price can range from $10 to $100 per month. One can take this medication for up to six months, after checking to see that they did not get pregnant on a given cycle.
Gonadotropins will cost more. They are an injectable medication, administered in the doctor’s office. The cost of this type of treatment can vary depending on the dosage, and how long one needs to take the medication. The cost will range between $1000 to $5000 per cycle.
Ruling Out Physical Reasons for Infertility
After using medications for several months, doctors usually want to rule out any physical reasons for infertility. This often requires tests such as sonograms and possibly surgery for the woman and sperm count testing for the man. The costs will be dependent on the types of tests. Surgery will be the most expensive, but if there is a blockage, for example in the fallopian tubes, this can often be corrected. Surgery can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. The variance in costs is dramatic because they will depend on whether the surgery is outpatient or inpatient, how invasive the surgery is, and the nature of actual treatments.
The next step often taken during fertility treatments is intrauterine insemination. This will be an option for women who ovulate, either with or without medications, but still fail to get pregnant. The sperm are collected, either from the partner or a male donor, concentrated, and then injected directly into the uterus, via a catheter, at the time of ovulation. The average cost of this type of treatment is approximately $865. The procedure may need to be repeated more than once if the couple does not get pregnant the first time. Additional costs may include the medications needed to stimulate ovulation, a sonogram to ascertain ovulation has occurred and donor sperm if required.
In Vitro Fertilization
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the more costly fertilization treatments. One reason is that it is a multi-step process, requiring optimal timing. First, an egg is removed from the woman’s ovary. In a lab, it is combined with either the partner’s sperm or donor sperm. Once fertilized, the resulting embryo is then implanted directly into the woman’s uterus. As with other treatments, the costs vary. An average cost of $8165 was tabulated by the Resolve organization, who polled a variety of clinics. However, others report that the cost is more likely around $12,400. The figures may differ because the first does not include the cost of the associated medications needed for an IVF cycle. Either way, the cost is for only one cycle of IVF and often many cycles are necessary.
Additional Fertility Treatments and Costs
The addition of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to IVF will cost couples an extra $1500 per cycle. This is a procedure where one sperm is injected directly into one egg for fertilization. It is often done when the male has poor or very low sperm count.
However, if the couple decides that they need donor sperm, they will have to add an additional $300 to $400 per cycle that they use it. Donor sperm can be used with IUI, IVF, or ICSI.
Also, if the couple needs a donor egg, the costs will be even more. The couple will have to resort to treatment via IVF. One cycle of IVF with a fresh donor egg will cost the couple between $20,000 to $30,000. Using a frozen egg will lower the chances of pregnancy, but also the cost, which will be closer to $16,000.
Two other procedures known as GIFT and ZIFT are not regularly performed, though they were done in the past. In most cases, IVF has replaced these as safer and more reliable.
While fertility treatments are costly and emotionally draining, a couple that is fruitful will be exuberant. In the end, the fertility treatment costs will seem negligible if successful. The baby that is produced will be a gift that the family will find priceless.