How to Make IVF More Cost Effective (in times of COVID and beyond)

COVID-19 has turned all of our worlds upside-down, and we recognize that now more than ever, investing your financial and emotional resources in fertility treatments may seem daunting. Today, we’re sharing our recommendations on how to make your fertility treatments as cost effective as possible.

1. Do your research in advance.

Ensure you have the best protocol, doctor, clinic, lab for your situation – not all situations are the same and not all clinics have comparable success rates. By conducting your due diligence and selecting the best physician for you at the outset of treatment, you may save significant time and money.

2. Pursue the treatment plan that makes the most sense for you based on your age and family goals.

Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse (even if a couple is not actively trying to get pregnant). For heterosexual couples, the age of the female partner is the single most important factor to consider when deciding whether to seek fertility treatments. There may be some reasons to consider seeking fertility treatments sooner, such as an interest in fertility preservation, irregular or absent periods, a known or suspected infertility diagnosis (including PCOS or Endometriosis), known or suspected male factor infertility, or if you are in a same sex relationship.

For women age >35, 85% are able to conceive within one year of having unprotected intercourse. After 12 months, the likelihood of becoming pregnant in any given month drops to only 4%.

For women ages 35 – 37, we recommend trying to conceive naturally for 6 months before seeking treatment.

For women age 38+, we recommend seeking treatment as soon as you’re ready to conceive.

For women age 43+, unless using eggs or embryos that were previously frozen, we will generally have a conversation around using donor eggs to significantly improve our likelihood of achieving a healthy pregnancy

Success rates for IVF depend on diagnosis and age, but may be as high as 70-80% per transfer. Success rates for IUI are generally 8-15% in a given month.

In your initial conversation with your physician, you should also discuss how many children you would like to have. Your ideal family size may also inform your treatment plan.

3. Therefore, take advantage of fertility benefits while you have them.

Even if you are not ready for a family today, exploring fertility preservation options while you have insurance coverage may help avoid the future expenses associated with multiple rounds of IVF in the future.

4. Choose the most cost-effective treatments and avoid expensive add-ons that don’t impact success rates.

For example, especially if you are planning to use donor sperm for an IUI cycle, compare the cost of multiple IUI cycles to the cost of a round of IVF. In this instance, you may save time as well as money by electing to pursue IVF first. Additionally, make sure to understand if your case indicates ICSI vs. conventional IVF. ICSI can make a meaningful difference in cases with male factor infertility, unexplained infertility, preimplantation genetic diagnoses, previously failed fertilization, and endometriosis. It is also required if using previously frozen eggs. However, ICSI is not always necessary and is an incremental expense.

It is always helpful to understand the trade-off between cost and incremental likelihood of success. Endometrial Receptivity Analysis and Intralipid Infusions are treatments that may be recommended to you that while costly, do not have a significant impact on success rates.

5. Finally, optimize your health in advance of pursuing treatments.

Prenatal vitamins, vitamin D, and CoQ10 for mitochondrial health are all recommended supplements for women pursuing fertility treatments. Maintaining a healthy BMI can also contribute to overall success.

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