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IVF Baby Cost: Nearly $20K

By    |   Monday, 09 December 2013 04:30 PM

How much does it cost to have a baby using in vitro fertilization? A new analysis shows the price tag can add up to nearly $20,000.
The findings, by researchers from the University of California-San Francisco, are based on a new analysis of various out-of-pocket costs for couples undergoing fertility treatment. The study, published in The Journal of Urology, found those using medication only had the lowest out-of-pocket expenses at $912, and those using IVF had the highest at $19,234.
The researchers said the new review was conducted to help inform couples who seek infertility care and the physicians who counsel them.
"Urologists are on the front lines of counseling male and female partners about fertility options and almost all patients want to know the cost," said James F. Smith, M.D., an assistant professor and director of reproductive health at UCSF. "To our knowledge no previous group has measured the actual out-of-pocket costs of reproductive care in prospective fashion."
Up to 24 percent of couples have difficulty conceiving a child, with estimates of the prevalence of infertility varying from 6 percent to 24 percent. Between 8 percent and 18 percent of men and 12 percent of women seek infertility care at some point in life. But many couples who seek infertility care have only partial or no insurance coverage, and the costs may be too burdensome for their household, the researchers noted.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies show the use of fertility treatments in the United States is increasing each year. But the United States has one of the lowest rates of IVF use compared to other developed countries, while Australia has the highest IVF use, according to an earlier study. The average cost of an IVF cycle was 6 percent of annual disposable income in Australia compared to 44 percent in the United States.
For the new study, 332 couples were recruited from eight reproductive clinics and tracked for 18 months from the start of treatment. They were asked to maintain monthly cost diaries of out-of-pocket expenses, including clinic visits, medication, and miscellaneous expenses such as travel, parking, food, and other expenses related to fertility care.
The results showed more than half of the couples, many of which had incomes of more than $100,000, underwent IVF. Of the remaining couples 19 percent received non-cycle based therapy, four percent used medication to induce ovulation only, and 22 percent underwent intrauterine insemination. Among the3 findings:
  • The overall out-of-pocket expense was about $5,338.
  • Couples using medication only had the lowest out-of-pocket expense at about $912, while those who underwent IVF had the highest at $19,234.
  • Couples spent about $6,955 for each additional IVF cycle.
  • Couples with male factor fertility paid around $9,404 more than those with female factor infertility only.
  • Couples with insurance coverage for fertility care spent $2,152 less than couples without insurance. The out-of-pocket expense was not significantly associated with successful pregnancy.
"For many patients the high costs identified in this study represent a significant burden on household finances and almost certainly have a major role in fertility treatment decision making," said Dr. Smith. "These data provide real world estimates of out-of-pocket costs, which can be used to help couples plan for expenses that they may incur with treatment. Communicating these costs clearly with patients at the onset of fertility care can help them prepare for treatment and make informed decisions about their options."

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The price tag for having a baby using IFV can add up to nearly $20,000, a new analysis shows.
Monday, 09 December 2013 04:30 PM
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