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The Average Cost Of Fertility Treatment In The United States

Updated on November 7, 2017
Hoping for successful infertility treatment
Hoping for successful infertility treatment

Raising children comes with a heavy price tag. As of 2017, the average cost of raising one child in the United States from birth to 18 years of age is estimated to be $233,610. While that price tag may seem large over the course of an 18 year span, what about the price tag couple's pay for infertility? The cost of fertility treatment varies by the type of treatment along with the severity of the diagnosis.

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive and/or carry a child after 12 months of unprotected sex. When first diagnosed after a year of trying to conceive naturally, many couples are shocked and unaware of the surmounting cost of infertility. The cost of infertility can be financially straining because many states are not insurance mandated. Of the 50 states, only 15 states have laws requiring insurance companies to cover or offer coverage with a diagnosis of infertility. To grasp the full extent of infertility costs, we have to look at each type of fertility treatment offered to couples.

Fertility Testing

After trying to conceive for a year without success, the first step to receiving help with infertility is a doctor's appointment. Typically scheduled with an OBGYN, women will undergo a physical and pelvic examination, along with a pap smear. These tests are routine to determining the possible causes of an inability to conceive or carry a child. A doctor will also order a long list of blood tests that include testing for:

Luteinizing hormone (LH)
Thyroid Hormone Tests
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Since the doctor's appointment, examination and testing is done for the cause of infertility, much of the cost is out-of-pocket if an individual resides in a non-insurance mandated state. The average cost of a physical exam and a pelvic exam ranges between $100 to $250, plus an extra $40 for a pap smear test. If the pap smear yields abnormal results, a follow-up visit could cost an extra $350. Of the multiple blood tests required, each blood test can range from $50 to $200 a piece.

Further Fertility Testing

Pelvic Ultrasound- Examines the condition and size of the uterus and ovaries, along with a woman's ovarian reserve (egg supply).

Average cost: $525

Sonohysterogram- An ultrasound using saline to examine the uterus to look for abnormal shape or structure of the uterus, abnormal growths and scarring.
Average cost: $446-$479

Hysterosalpingogram- An X-ray to examine the uterus and the fallopian tubes. The X-ray checks for signs of blockage within the fallopian tubes.
Average cost: $800-$3,000

Laparoscopy- A surgery performed by making a small abdominal incision to examine the pelvic organs. Typically, this procedure is only performed after all other fertility tests do not show the cause for infertility or previous testing has yielded abnormal findings. Laparoscopy can check and treat a multitude of conditions including tumors, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cycts, and blocked fallopian tubes. Since laparoscopy is used to diagnosis and treat health conditions, not just for infertility purposes, some insurances will cover the surgery. However, the overall cost differs whether it is performed in a hospital setting or in office.

Average cost in office: $1,500-$2,500
Average cost in hospital/surgical center: $5,000-$15,000

Infertility comes with an excessive amount of blood tests
Infertility comes with an excessive amount of blood tests

Artificial Insemination

Once pre-existing health conditions have been found and treated, the next step in infertility treatment is usually intrauterine insemination. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is an in office procedure where a partner's sperm is placed inside the uterus near ovulation to increase the chances of conception. IUI is normally used for couples with male factor infertility, cervical mucus problems and unexplained infertility. The procedure is often performed with a combination of ovulation-stimulating drugs and insemination.

The cost of intrauterine insemination or IUI procedure varies greatly depending on what state a couple resides in and the amount of fertility medication needed. Pricing also varies depending on whether insurance will cover and from clinic to clinic. With the cost of the insemination procedure also comes the extra cost of semen processing, ultrasound testing and ovulation-stimulating drugs.

Average cost of an IUI procedure: $300-$1,000 per cycle
Average cost of semen processing: $150-$700 per cycle
Average cost of oral fertility drugs with monitoring/ultrasound: $500-$700

Donor Sperm And Eggs

When a couple is not able to conceive because of a lack of male sperm or female eggs, buying donor sperm and eggs may be an option for successful conception. While the cost of sperm remains much lower than donor eggs, both costs vary by state and by clinic. Donor sperm is used in combination with fertility medication, fertility monitoring and intrauterine insemination. But, donor eggs are only used with a combination of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), oral and injectable ovulation-stimulating drugs.

Average cost of donor sperm: $300-$800
Average cost of donor (frozen) eggs with IVF: $13,500-$17,500
Average cost of donor (fresh) eggs with IVF:$19,000-$26,000

In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Depending upon a case to case bases, many couples undergo in-vitro fertilization, an assisted reproductive technology (ART). To treat infertility, a woman's eggs are extracted and fertilized with a sperm sample in a laboratory. Once fertilization has occurred, the embryo is transferred back into the woman's uterus for implantation. Within the realm of assisted reproductive technology (ART) there are many factors that determine the overall cost per cycle. Factors such as medications, frozen embryo transfer and specialized procedures like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) dramatically increase the overall cost of a single cycle.

Average cost of IVF :$10,000-$30,000

Average cost of ICSI: $1,500

Average cost of an embryo transfer: $3,000

An embryo being fertilized through the process of ICSI
An embryo being fertilized through the process of ICSI

The Real Cost Of Infertility

When looking at the average costs of infertility it is easy to see that individuals or couples can spend as little as $1,000 for medication and insemination, others can spend hundreds of thousands. Each infertile couple is different. Therefore, each individual has a different journey through infertility. Infertility comes with a heavy price tag in the United States with little to no help from insurance. Out-of-pocket infertility costs can be a huge financial burden that some simple cannot afford.

Since being diagnosed with infertility in 2014, my husband and I have spent an extensive amount of money on treatment we weren't expecting to spend. But how could I give up on infertility treatment when I couldn't go a day without thinking about being a mother? Looking at the average costs of infertility treatment only shows you the financial numbers. The costs do not show the depression and anxiety couples experience because of infertility.

Wanting to have children, but physically not being able to conceive naturally is something I wasn't prepared for. Once the initial shock of the infertility diagnosis wore off and I began fertility medications and inseminations, depression and anxiety took over instead. It's hard going through every cycle hoping this month will be "the" month. Sometimes hope can be a cruel joke.

Every month infertility seemed to rob my husband and I of our happiness. Every month was filled with constant anxieties centered around payment dates, ovulation timing, medications, inseminations and endless prayers. The cost of infertility treatment is expensive. But the cost of not pursuing treatment is even greater. With every dollar spent on a hope and every tear shed, infertility treatment is worth the cost. Although infertility treatments carry large price tags, the numerical cost does not show the emotional turmoil couples go through to achieve their dreams of being parents.

For a total of 933 days, countless tears were shed on the road to motherhood. Over the course of two and a half years of actively trying to conceive I went through a total of 5 intrauterine inseminations with oral and injectable medications. After the fourth insemination we began talking about IVF. But we decided to give it one last ditch effort with a different medication combination and another IUI. Finally, success! My son is now nearing his first birthday and being a mother is the greatest gift in life.

Although my husband and I have to pursue infertility treatment again to have another child, every penny spent is worth it. Everyone's infertility journey is different and unique. The real cost of infertility is not money. It is the emotional and physical burden it brings to an individuals life.

© 2017 Liztalton


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