For many couples who are having difficulty conceiving, fertility assistance through a specialized clinic becomes their only chance of having a baby. This is rarely a simple option and for some, the cost can make this an unrealistic choice.
Although the drive to have a baby can be almost overwhelming, if you are considering using IVF to help with conception it is very important that you do careful research first. No fertility program or clinic can offer a 100% guarantee of success.
What’s IVF Going to Cost Me?
Like many other medical procedures and treatments, the cost of having IVF varies considerably between practitioners and individual centers.
If you are considering having IVF treatments, it would be wise for you to organize your health insurance cover first and to ensure this covers fertility assistance as well as other services. Pathology, radiology, hospital and ancillary cover is also important so that you are not faced with a large unexpected bill for services you cannot claim at the end of your treatment. In addition, ensure that childbirth is covered in your health insurance. After all, the whole point of embarking on IVF is to have your own baby at the end of it all.
Where Can I Find Out How Much it will Cost?
In the interests of transparency, fertility clinics need to state their fees for services very early in the consultation process. Some provide written quotes if the treatment plan is clear, but this isn’t always the case.
Although most clinics have very well designed and comprehensive internet sites, cost explanations are frequently prefaced by very positive statements regarding the quality of the services they provide as well as their conception success rate. The information can also be confusing, especially to parents who may not understand all of the medical technology or treatment descriptions.
Most practices have nurse coordinators and reception staff who are experts in explaining how different treatment components are charged and what percentage of rebates apply. Most clinics have payment/fee structures which match specific times in the treatment program. For example, pre-payments before the cycles begin, at the time of collecting medication to stimulate ovarian follicles and when the embryo is transferred.
Most couples tend not to do individual research into fertility clinics unless they are particularly interested or they are aiming to minimize cost as much as possible. There is some financial competition amongst different clinics, so satisfy yourself that you are getting good value for money.
Generally, a couple’s GP will refer them to a particular fertility clinic which the GP practice has had prior dealings with. Remember, you need to be an active participant in your own care, so don’t be afraid to request a referral to a clinic which you may prefer and which may better suit your individual budget.
Why is it so Expensive?
Most fertility clinics provide a range of services, which are ultimately designed to assist in successful conception. These are unique and require significant expertise with medical, nursing, scientific and pathology staff as well as equipment.
Understandably, not all couples will require the full suite of services offered, or need to pay for services their individual situation does not warrant. Typical services are:
- Ovulation Induction
- Intrauterine Insemination with either the partner’s sperm or donor sperm
- In Vitro Fertilization
- Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection also referred to as ICSI
- Hatching of Embryos
- Culture of Blastocyst
- Storage of frozen embryos and then transfer
- Sperm aspiration
- Storage of semen. Freezing of sperm tissue
- Biopsy of Embryo and diagnosis of genetic conditions
- Surgical treatment for gynecological conditions which are impacting on fertility
Points to Remember
- Before you embark on any fertility treatment, speak with your private health insurance fund about your individual cover. Don’t assume you are insured for extras.
- If you don’t have private health insurance cover, either join, or start saving. The costs can really add up.
- Do your research into what services different clinics provide, what’s included in their standard charges and what’s separate.
- Keep all your receipts and paperwork.
- Speak with your friends or others who have undergone fertility treatments. Often the best source of support and insight comes from those who’ve had firsthand experience.