Is there such a thing as cheap IVF?
IVF as generally practiced in the U.S. is quite costly. Unfortunately, those costs are difficult for many couples who have no insurance coverage for IVF treatment. IVF insurance coverage is only mandated in a few states. Unjustly, insurance plans frequently treat fertility as a luxury elective problem. It seems strange that dental coverage is often provided, but infertility coverage is not. In states where IVF coverage is mandated, cheap IVF is becoming a reality for many.
The cost of IVF is a problem for many people who find themselves asking, “Is it worth it since it might not work?” About 15% of U.S. couples are trying to conceive, but finding it difficult. Couples who pursue IVF have typically already pursued conventional procedures of diagnosis and treatment. For many of these couples, having a baby becomes the most important element of their lives. IVF obviously takes time and emotional energy.
So, it is wonderful to have IVF technology available. But yes, it is medical technology – and it does cost.
Why do costs add up? The expertise needed in IVF
Intensity: If you read about or have experienced IVF, you know that it involves a long process that stretches over about two weeks. Think of it as outpatient intensive care.
Scheduling: Every visit involves front office staff for scheduling and greeting you.
Lab work: The blood test involves staff time to draw the blood, label the tubes and record. The blood is then sent to the endocrine lab, where again a skilled technician must interact with the sample and the processing unit. The results of the tests are then discussed internally, typically by the doctor and the nurse. Then the staff contacts you with instructions on how to proceed.
Ultrasound: Ultrasound testing of follicles for size involves considerable expertise.
Egg retrieval: This is the largest cost item, again largely due to the expertise of the nurses and the doctor involved in the procedure. In Standard IVF, there is also an anesthetist involved – and of course there is a cost for his/her time too.
Embryology: The skilled embryologist in the IVF lab finds the eggs, and then inseminates or does ICSI a few hours later. ICSI can be compared to using angel hair to inject into a speck of dust. After insemination, early in the morning each day, the IVF lab team removes the developing embryos from the incubator.
The embryologist evaluates the embryo progress, first as a zygote, and then looks for evidence that the sperm has indeed fertilized. Then on day two, four cells may be observed, and then eventually eight cells. In many cases, this process goes on through the fourth and fifth days as embryos develop to blastocysts. Study of the achievement of each embryo is carefully recorded reflecting knowledge gained from hard won experience.
Transfer: On the day of transfer, the staff, doctor and embryologist discuss how many embryos to use and when to make the transfer. Then the transfer is done, which takes about 20 minutes.
Follow up with results: Two weeks later, the nurses and physicians follow up on the results.
Admin: All the while, in the background, a skilled administrative staff makes sure that all aspects of the business are running smoothly.
Whew! Many talented people on an IVF team are involved in the process, with one goal in mind – your success. You want the best providers you can find, since that expertise determines the outcome. The majority of our patients find us because they are looking for two main things: experienced fertility specialists and cheap IVF.
Dedicated to low cost IVF
At the Pathways Fertility, we take pride in our expertise and are dedicated to providing our services as affordably as possible. We never cut corners. But we believe that affordable IVF should be available to all. That’s why we’ve taken great care to reduce costs wherever possible, and can offer low cost IVF. We don’t like to call it “Cheap IVF” because that rings of low quality. However, we now offer low cost or cheap IVF options like Natural IVF and Mini Stim IVF where not only do the treatments cost less, the medication costs less too.
Contact us to learn more about our “cheap IVF” and other low cost fertility treatments that are available.