When deciding on a particular fertility treatment (FT), couples wanting to get pregnant need to consider a number of important points, including the cause of the infertility (female or male); the ages and overall health of the couple, particularly the woman’s; and lifestyle preferences. But ultimately, the deciding factor for most couples is the cost of FTs.
Health insurance plans vary widely in their coverage of costs for fertility treatments. Most plans cover all or many of the initial examinations, tests, and office visits to primary care providers, gynecologists, and other medical professionals. Some plans provide limited coverage for fertility drugs and other FTs. Few plans cover the assisted reproductive technologies.
What’s more, most fertility specialists, such as reproductive endocrinologists, and most fertility clinics don’t accept health insurance. However, many fertility specialists and clinics provide some kind of financing or financial counseling to help couples with the costs of FTs.
NOTE: Costs of fertility treatments and related medical services vary widely, depending on the service and the location of the provider. The costs mentioned in this article are those for uninsured patients and were gathered from a cursory search of a number of reliable educational and commercial websites. These costs are in no way definitive. They are estimates only.
The first unavoidable costs of fertility treatments are those for a diagnosis of the cause of infertility in either the woman or the man.
• Visit to a primary care provider: $80 to $200 plus $50 to $200 each for typical tests
• Visit to a gynecologist: $115 to $325 plus costs for tests
• Visit to reproductive endocrinologist: $200 to $400 plus costs for tests, which range from $50 for a sperm analysis to $1,200 for a hysterosalpingogram, an X-ray of the female reproductive organs
The next round of costs comes from the type of FT, which couples normally decide upon after meeting with their doctors and going over the details involved in the treatment. In addition to the factors mentioned earlier, couples now have to consider the risks, side effects, and success rates, along with the costs, of each particular fertility treatment.
Three main types of fertility treatments are available: fertility drugs; surgery; and assisted reproductive technologies (ART), a general term for procedures that help women become pregnant by partially or totally artificial means.
Clomiphene and the various gonadotropins are two of the most common fertility drugs. They help stimulate and regulate female reproductive hormones. Most women need to use them for three to six menstrual cycles.
• Clomiphene pills: at least $50 a cycle plus costs for follow-up visits and tests
• Gonadotropin injections: $2,000 to $5,000 a cycle plus costs for follow-ups
Typical surgeries to treat infertility include procedures to repair genetic defects, clear blocked fallopian tubes, and remove cysts or scar tissue in the female reproductive organs.
• Surgery: $3,000 to $10,000
Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization are the two most common and well-known types of ART and are generally considered a last resort for couples wanting to get pregnant.
• Artificial insemination: $300 to $700
• In vitro fertilization: $8,000 to $15,000
Bottom line: The costs of fertility treatments can be high and out of the reach of some couples. Unfortunately, for couples trying to get pregnant, most of the costs for fertility treatments will come out of their own pockets.