When faced with a diagnosis of infertility, one of the first shocks most patients face is that their medical insurance will likely not cover fertility treatment; their second shock is how much they will have to pay out of pocket.
In the past when asked how much infertility treatment costs, we usually gave the cost of a cycle of IVF as a ballpark number. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t take into account those women who will be successful with medication only and those women who will require multiple cycles of IVF. What we needed was good research on a large number of randomly selected women seeking fertility clinic.
We now have that research. A study published in Fertility and Sterility looks at the cost of fertility treatment for 398 women at eight different infertility clinics over 18 months, regardless of the treatment used. All the women were just starting fertility treatment and were trying to become pregnant with a male partner.
The study found that on average women spent $20,000 on treatment. The costs varied by type of treatment: women who only used medication spent an average of $1,182 while women who used IVF spent an average of $24,373.
However, when costs were averaged for successful outcome (pregnancy), the costs were significantly higher than the per-person average. On average, the 46.7% women who had a successful outcome (deliveries or ongoing pregnancies at the time the study ended) spent $48,424 on treatment.
The cost by treatment type:
- Medications only – $5,894
- IUI with clomiphene – $10,696
- IUI with gonadotropins – $19,566
- IVF – $61,377
- IVF with donor egg – $72,642
The study did not take into account what costs were covered by insurance and does not necessarily provide an accurate view of the overall cost of fertility treatment since it does not include the costs incurred by the unsuccessful women who continued to pursue treatment after the study was over. In other words, the average cost of treatment is likely larger.
“Costs of infertility treatment: Results from an 18-month prospective cohort study” by Patricia Katz, PhD (Fertil Steril. Mar 1, 2011; 95(3): 915–921)
How much did you spend in total on fertility treatment?