Is the Cost of IVF Too Expensive?

If you’re beginning your fertility journey wondering (and worrying!) about: “What is the cost of IVF?” then you’re not alone!

One of the top questions patients have when they enter our fertility centre is exactly that: How much does IVF cost?

Before I even begin, let me point out that there are several different options available to treat infertility, and in many cases the right treatment may be simple and inexpensive.

Treating infertility doesn’t automatically mean IVF! That said, there are many cases where IVF offers you the best chance to have a baby.

So, let’s say you do need IVF treatment. How much will the cost of IVF be? The answer is not always simple.

Everyone is different and the cost of IVF treatment will depend on your particular fertility challenges. This will determine the specific tests you need, and the specific treatments that are advised for your unique situation, which all affect IVF costs.

What You’ll Find Out in this Article

In this article, I’ll go through every IVF cost you may encounter on your fertility journey.

This is something my team and I do every single day! We understand that undertaking infertility testing and treatment often leads to both physical and emotional stress.

Understanding your costs right from the start is one way to relieve some of the stress. At our fertility centre we help you understand those costs from the first to the last step. We believe in giving you transparent price information about everything you may need, without surprises.

Breaking Down the Cost of IVF Treatment

IVF costs fall into two categories. The first is the cost of tests and seeing the fertility doctor for review and advice. The second is the cost of the actual IVF fertility treatment. Let’s talk about tests and assessment first.

What Tests Might I Need to Pay for Before I Have IVF?

The first step in our clinic when you start your fertility journey is a free appointment with a fertility nurse. During this appointment an experienced nurse reviews your situation and any tests you have done before. The fertility nurse will then tell you what tests you require.

Your fertility tests are essential to help you choose the most successful fertility treatment. These tests are always required when you first come to the centre.

The initial tests for women include an expert fertility ultrasound and examination, as well as blood tests to look for essential hormones and egg levels. The total costs of these starting tests for women is around TT$1,500.

Men should have had a sperm test done in our lab, which costs TT$400. This is the best way to get an expert assessment of the sperm shapes, numbers and swimming, and to identify any antibodies and any issues in the semen (the fluid that nourishes the sperm after they are manufactured in the testes) that might be stopping the sperm from working.

What Doctor’s Visits Might I Need to Pay for Before I Have IVF?

Once these tests are done, you’ll see one of our expert team of who will begin the process of helping you understand what your fertility problems are, and the treatment options and solutions available to you. Budget for two medical consultations (around TT$500 each).

Who Needs More Extensive and Expensive Pre-IVF Testing?

Some people may need more than the basic starting tests. If you have had miscarriages or failed fertility treatment before, then you may require more complicated tests.

Our doctors will tell you this at your first medical consultation. You should budget between TT$1,500 to TT$3,000 for these tests. More extensive testing, including saline scans, might be required for some people and adds another TT$3,000.

Occasionally we may need to do genetic testing, or to look inside the womb with a telescope (called hysteroscopy).

If you need these tests you’re expenses can rise significantly, from anywhere between TT$6,000 for genetic testing and up to TT$40,000 for hysteroscopy, and sometimes more.

The Hidden Costs of IVF

What if you’ve done tests before? Unfortunately, many people do not realise that your tests need to be up-to-date before you begin any IVF treatment.

If you plan on waiting a year or more between doing your first tests and choosing to start treatment, then you will need to repeat the tests, which obviously costs you money.

Most tests results, such as sperm tests and hormone blood tests must be less than a year old if you want to start an IVF treatment cycle. However, some tests (such as an AMH egg level) last for longer than one year.

What Will the Cost of IVF Treatment Be?

So, you’ve done your tests and your doctor has recommended that you do IVF. Let’s examine the cost of IVF treatment, and by that I mean all of the actual costs.

Again, your situation will be unique, and there are a range of things that you might need to pay for when you do IVF treatment.

There are three things everyone undergoing IVF must pay for (we’ll discuss these in detail below):

  1. Pre-cycle Blood Tests
  2. The IVF cycle cost
  3. Medication to grow your eggs

And then there are other items you may need to pay for depending on your medical situation:

  1. Sperm Injection (also called ICSI). Needed by 60% of patients. Cost TT$6,500
  2. Blastocyst Culture. This is the process of growing embryos to Day 5. Needed by 90% of patients. Cost TT$2,200
  3. IVF Add-ons. These are optional additional treatments that may improve the chances of conception. Used by 25% of patients. Costs vary.

Basic Cost of IVF Treatment

Let’s go through the first three costs in more detail.

Pre-cycle Blood Tests are essential blood tests needed for IVF treatment, and include infection screening. These cost around TT$700 per person and are valid for one year.

The IVF Cycle cost of  IVF  covers your basic treatment: Egg growing, egg collection, IVF lab work to look after your eggs and embryos up to Day 3, embryo transfer, and embryo freezing if you have surplus good quality embryos.

Your cycle cost includes the fees for the doctors and scientists who will provide all of these services and procedures and monitor your cycle. Most clinics have a range of costs. In our clinic, the IVF cycle cost averages TT$35,000, with discounts for people who book their cycles early.

Egg Growing Medication is also an expense for anyone undertaking an IVF cycle. This cost varies widely depending on the woman’s age and egg levels. Younger women, and women with high egg levels, need less medication to grow their eggs, so their costs are lower. This cost can range between TT$5,000 and TT$45,000, with an average cost of TT$20,000.

What About the Cost of  IVF Add-ons?

IVF add-ons are non-essential treatments offered as extras for IVF treatment cycles. They are controversial and not offered by all clinics.

Add-ons are unproven treatments which may or may not improve the chances of having a baby. Medical studies indicate that some of these add-ons seem to have positive effects for some patients. Other add-ons have been shown to have variable effects. And then there are still other add-ons that have no impact on the chance of having a baby with IVF, but may have other benefits, such as reducing the time it takes to have a live birth.

IVF Add-ons to Consider

IVF add-ons can be costly and it is important that you understand the cost of IVF and the possible benefits and negative effects before you choose to use them.

Our fertility centre offers several common add-ons:

  • Endometrial scratch
  • Saline scan or HyCoSy
  • Embryo glue
  • Pre-implantation genetic testing (PGA/PGT)
  • Intralipid infusions
  • G-CSF infusions
  • Serum genetic testing
  • Calcium ionophore

Add-ons can range in cost between TT$2,700-TT$9,000. One add-on, Pre-implantation Genetic Testing, is more costly and varies according to your situation. It can often double the fee of your IVF treatment cycle and you will need to consider this as you look at the cost of IVF treatment

Embryo Freezing and IVF Costs

If you are lucky and have surplus good quality embryos in your IVF cycle then these are usually frozen for your future use. This is good, because it means you may be able to avoid going through another full IVF cycle in the future.

If your embryos have been frozen, to use them in the future you will go through what is called a frozen embryo treatment cycle, which is about a quarter of the cost of a full IVF cycle. But you’ll need to factor in an annual fee for storage of those frozen embryos, which is TT$2,500 per year.

We may also freeze your embryos if you have an excessive response to the egg growing medication during your IVF cycle. Such an excessive response puts you at risk of getting Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (called OHSS).

OHSS is a medical condition where your ovaries are enlarged, the abdomen becomes swollen and fluid collects in the abdomen.

It causes a variety of symptoms including pain, nausea and vomiting and often requires admission to hospital. These days it is rare to get OHSS because IVF doctors can predict many of the women who may get it.

If you are at risk of OHSS, the doctor intervenes to prevent it by doing a “freeze-all embryos cycle” and then delaying your embryo transfer for several months.

The Cost for a Frozen Embryo Cycle

Around 10% of IVF treatment cycles end as a freeze-all cycle. If this happens you will then need to go through a frozen embryo cycle in the future.

The total cost for a frozen embryo cycle (without add-ons) is around TT$13,000 and needs to be considered as part of the cost of IVF.

The Cost of Sperm Freezing Before IVF

Around 5% of patients choose to freeze sperm before IVF treatment. This happens for a variety of reasons.

Some men have extremely low sperm counts and freeze in case they stop making sperm. Other men are working abroad or have trouble producing a sample and prefer to freeze sperm before an IVF treatment cycle.

Sperm freezing before IVF will cost around $2,500 to produce the sample, have it cleaned and frozen in the storage unit, and then monitored daily to keep it safe.

This cost includes three months of storage fees. If you do not use the frozen sperm within three months of it being frozen, then you will pay an additional annual storage fee of TT$2,500 for every year that it remains unused and still frozen.

There you have it: A complete picture of all the basic and not so basic costs of undergoing an IVF treatment cycle! There’s just one more very important consideration. In many cases, pregnancy does not occur in the first IVF cycle.

If that’s the case, IVF still may be the answer, and conception after multiple cycles is very common. It’s important to understand this so you can be realistic both the cost of IVF  as well as your chances of pregnancy and achieving your final goal of having a baby.