Does affordable IVF exist? The answers may surprise you.
For countless families the world over, In Vitro Fertilization has become the answer to conceiving children when other options are not available. IVF is practised globally and clinics have a constant flow of patients seeking the treatment. With all this in mind, it seems like IVF has become the norm in our society, yet questions still surround it. Today we look at one of the biggest perceived issues with the treatment, the cost. It’s no secret that IVF is very expensive, and many families who would like to undergo it often cannot afford it. But is it as simple as that? In this article we breakdown the facts.
Let’s start by working out why the treatment can be so expensive. IVF is a multi-stage process – it doesn’t happen all at once, and each stage can have different prices. For instance, injectable drugs are required to be taken before eggs are taken for fertilization in a laboratory, and these alone can cost up to $4,000 in the USA. Visits to the clinic are normal over a two week or so period, and ultrasound procedures plus others can vary in cost depending on the clinic. Once eggs are harvested, normally the fertilization takes place as normal in the uterus, but if that does not succeed intracellular insemination can be undertaken – in which sperm is placed directly into an egg in the lab. This alone can cost more than $1,000.
We haven’t even mentioned health insurance premiums and the costs already look high. So how are people affording it? Stories from various patients online recount the spending of savings, inheritances and loans in order to cover it – often with some contribution from an insurance company to slightly ease matters. The other option which has become far more common over the last 20 years is medical tourism – the practice of travelling to more affordable clinics abroad for medical procedures.
A quick google of the term will instantly bring up results from Mexico, Turkey, Poland and beyond. Recently Prague in the Czech Republic had gained a specific reputation for successful IVF procedures, and is a common choice for patients, for example. When travelling abroad one often cannot use health insurance, but the costs are far reduced even though undertaken 100% privately. In the Czech Republic some prices are reported to begin from around $2,000 dollars for own-egg IVF treatment, around a 6th of the price of USA based treatment.
Some people would rather take the process in their own country – but more are realising that Western standards can be found across the globe in a huge number of reputable clinics. Reproductive assistance is no longer something that dwells in the West, but lives the world over. So if you’re saving up for IVF in the UK or USA, it’s worth keeping in mind that your money could go further with the right choice of clinic and a short flight abroad.