Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Roulette, anyone?

The genesis for this post came from my thinking about our recent DE cycle, and our decision to do another cycle immediately with the same donor so we have a better chance of having multiple children who are all full genetic siblings.

I've been wanting to do a post for awhile on the financial side of infertility. Occasionally I see bloggers post a total of their IF-related costs, but it's rare as a stand-alone topic and rarely as detailed as I think a post needs to be to be helpful.

Let me start with how lucky my husband and I are that we can afford to pay for treatment. I know that, and I know this post may rub some people the wrong way. Despite the fact that the costs are breathtaking, we've never had to consider forgoing treatment because of the price. And after all, what would we be more willing to spend money on...

It breaks my heart when I read bloggers talk about how they can't afford the next step, or when they consider using all their savings for one try. It's awful that those of us dealing with IF can't rely on insurance coverage, and that even when we have insurance coverage, it's almost always paltry compared to the costs involved, or doesn't cover IVF.

Onward to actual numbers...

Our donor cycle cost about $45,000. That's $25,000 for the IVF cycle (her costs/meds + my costs, including CGH), $2,500 for my meds, $13,850 for the donor (her fee + agency fee + escrow fee), and about $4,500 for her travel costs. (We didn't get to take advantage of a shared risk cycle because I'm recommended to transfer one embryo at a time due to the DQ Alpha partial match.)

A repeat cycle is going to cost less, because we will only pay for her IVF cycle and then the testing/freezing of the embryos, but the donor fees and travel costs will be pretty similar (agency fee drops a bit, donor fee goes up a bit). My guess is ~$37,000-$38,000.

This first donor cycle produced 3 perfect embryos. $15,000 each. Isn't that nuts? It's like walking into a casino and putting a giant stack of bills on red on the roulette wheel.

Since the beginning of 2010, we've spent about $140,000 on infertility treatments across our 5 IVFs with my eggs and the 1 DEIVF. Prior to that, we spent 2 years doing IUIs. I had some med coverage through insurance at the time ($5,000 lifetime max), but it ran out during our last IUI with injectables.

When we were looking into gestational surrogacy, after learning about our DQ Alpha partial match, I found out that it costs about $100,000 to engage a surrogate. About $25,000 goes to the surrogate, $20,000 goes to the agency, $25,000 pays for the insurance for the surrogate, and the rest covers expenses. Crazy.

It's unfair that some of us have to spend thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars to have the children we want.  IF is unfair.

I don't know what the answers are.


  1. That cost is just plum sickening! I was actually checking into infertility insurance coverage since our IF started. Unfortnanetly only 15 states mandate infertility coverage be offered to employees. Oklahoma is not one of them (that is where I live) Sometimes I feel that infertility costs are very biased. How could a couple making under $50,000 a year afford these cost? Why should anyone have to pay $100,000 for a pregnancy?

    I was reading an article today about couples traveling to India for IVF. The cost of it with medications is $3,000. The cost with donor eggs was a little more, but it definitely makes you think about it.

    The whole thing sickens me! Sorry im a little emotional today.

  2. The cost is disgusting!!!! My mom does u/s's for high risk pregnancies in NY and the stories I hear...the state paying for IUI for people on WELFARE while middle class (or lower) people struggle to pay for one IUI cycle.

    I realize not having a pregnancy isn't life threatening, but it does affect the mental aspect of women and men. It drives couples to therapy ($125 a session), to take drugs for anxiety, depression and there is so many links of physical health problems to depression. Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper in the long run to at least off to pay $20K. That would give most at least 1-3 attempts!

    Makes my stomach turn. We have spend a fraction of what you have and are at the point we can't afford it anymore given the uncertainty. Terrible.

  3. Great post! I am blown away by the cost of IVF in the US. The whole infertility experience is unfair, as you so rightly point out. It's not fair we can't get pregnant naturally, it's not fair that some of the people who do are terrible parents. But then to have such financial pressure loaded on as well... well, it's demoralising.

    I am doing IVF in Peru, just because that's where I happen to be living. I used to live in NY and I thank God I didn't have to try to do IVF there because even though the expertise is fantastic, my insurance does not cover IF and the costs are mindboggling.

    Waiting to see if this round of IVF has worked, so I can't tell you a success story from Peru yet. But my doctor here has impressed me so far (compared with first IVF in Australia). This round has cost us about $US6000 so far. In Australia it cost about $11000 upfront, and the government gives you about half back.

    I have also read about a high quality IVF in India, Czech Republic, Mexico and Spain.. prob lots more besides. If I was an American, I'd be thinking about heading overseas for IVF.

  4. Thank you for being so frank and detailing your costs. I was seeing donor eggs for 25-30K and was shocked, so your numbers really blew me away. I agree with posters that there should be coverage for IVF. I too live in a state with no mandatory coverage and it sucks big time to pay from pocket.

  5. Great post. We also have been lucky enough to afford to pay mostly out of pocket for our 5 IVFs (the last one worked and I am now 11 weeks pregnant!), but it really angers me that IF treatments are considered "elective." I joke that I will use the cost against our child one day, "Of course you have to brush your teeth - do you know how much it cost to create you?!" ;-)

  6. We spent $50,000 on 3 ivfs and a surgery for dh and I thought that was a lot. I would have spent hundreds of thousands though to create our family. We too are lucky enough to have the funds as well although the tension was mounting towards the end bc dh is all about saving saving saving. So am I, but what the hell were we saving for if there were no kids to spend the money on? I'm pulling for you guys big time. No one should have to spend this kind of money. And I am just heartbroken when u hear families have to give up bc they don't have the funds. It is all so unfair.

  7. Hi. I'm visiting from another blog and noticed the link to yours. We are possibly preparing to enter into IVF for the first time, and I thought the cost for that was bad. I can't even fathom what you have spent so far. The whole thing is just unbelievably unfair.
    I hope you get to bring your baby home soon.

  8. ivf cost uk

    hi! you know what? i also have the same problem as you. i had an ectopic pregnancy twice. both times i ovulated on my right ovary, so this time if we're going to try again then i have to ovulate on my left ovary before we can proceed with iui. my right tube seems defective. the big problem is... i almost always ovulate on my right. dra. s is suggesting ivf but hubby and i are not thinking about that yet. we're going to try the natural way or iui for now.

  9. We are getting ready to do IVF - our only child just died, and my wife feels she cannot go on without any child at all. We do have the funds for one try, maybe two. No more than that. Is there any place where one can look up the odds of success?

    1. SART data ia a good place to start since it varies a lot by clinic/by age/etc.: