Raising kids is always expensive, however for some couples, the costs start to add up even before the baby is born.
More than 7 million American women have used infertility services, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This large number includes simple treatments such as medications to help with improving follicle number, all the way up to fullblown in vitro fertilization (IVF) which can cost thousands of dollars.
Naturally, cost — and potential insurance coverage — plays a huge role in the decisions women make in order to become pregnant and ultimately deliver a healthy baby.
Here are some financial facts about different levels of assisted reproductive technology options:
1) Fertility Medication
The most commonly used medication is Clomid (clomifene citrate). Taken in the early part of the cycle for five straight days, it works well to improve or encourage ovulation (egg release).
Some health care providers — and some women — choose to start with Clomid while continuing to have regular sexual intercourse to see if a little ovulation support is all they need. Clomid varies in price from $10 for generic clomifene citrate at some pharmacies, on up to $100.
2) Intrauterine Insemination
This fairly simple process requires a fresh sperm collection that is washed and then placed into a long, thin catheter which is threaded up through a woman’s cervix into her uterus. IUI can be done in-office and has a set-up similar to a Pap smear with a speculum.
The insertion process does not usually take more than a few minutes. The woman will be advised to relax lying down on the table afterwards for 15-30 minutes before standing up.
A typical IUI costs about $200-300 per treatment depending on the type of clinic and city. This does not include any medications and blood work required.
Many clinics do include sperm washing in their price, however some may have it as a separate item. Those women who are purchasing washed sperm from a sperm bank will pay that fee separately.
3) In vitro Fertilization (IVF)
This process is understandably more involved. First, a woman is placed on fertility medications that could include hormones and injections for optimal follicle development. She is often monitored by ultrasound and with blood tests to ensure proper collection of the follicle(s).
At the appropriate time, she undergoes a retrieval process whereby a needle is inserted into her pelvic area to collect the eggs. These eggs are combined with sperm (either washed from a fresh sample, or purchased at a sperm bank) to be fertilized.
Fertilized eggs are then transferred into the uterus for implantation. The cost for this procedure is approximately $12,000-$17,000 per cycle and often includes medication and ultrasounds.
4) Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
This procedure follows the same guidelines as IVF, however instead of allowing several sperm the chance to fertilize an egg (may the best sperm win!), the laboratory injects one sperm into one egg.
Once fertilized, they are placed into the uterus for implantation. The addition of ICSI to IVF increases the cost to closer to $20,000 per cycle, often including medications and ultrasounds.
Keep in mind, the average couple trying on a regular basis at ovulation between the ages of 25-29 have a 78 percent chance of becoming pregnant in one year. A 30-34 year old has a 63 percent chance, and a 35-39 year old has a 52 percent chance.
Many clinics advise that couples do try at least six months continuously before seeking out fertility treatment. However, it is always a good idea for both the future mother and father to talk with their health care provider about fertility and have their blood work and hormones checked.
Reviewed April 15, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
1) American Pregnancy Association. (2015). In Vitro Fertilization: IVF.
2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Infertility.
3) Fertility Plus. (no date). Frequently Asked Questions About Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).