Infertility causes sadness and strain in many relationships. The desire to have a child is one of the strongest compulsions for humans, and when this is an impossibility it leads to pain, tension, feelings of inadequacy, and anger. Fortunately, there are ways that couples can overcome this issue. One such intervention is known as in vitro fertilization. This radical medical treatment was first completed successfully in the late 1970s and has since led to the births of thousands of children. For many couples grappling with conceiving a child, the question “how much does in vitro fertilization cost?” can represent the first step in a journey toward becoming parents.
Choosing In Vitro Fertilization Over Artificial Insemination
There is more than one method of medical intervention for the condition of infertility. Beyond in vitro fertilization, also known as IVF, some couples can turn to a procedure known as artificial insemination. This procedure is more common than IVF, but is not appropriate for as many couples and as many situations as the more complicated IVF procedure.
The process of artificial insemination can be seen as a medical professional simply helping natural conception along. In this procedure sperm is introduced directly into the uterus in the hopes that normal fertilization of a present egg will occur just as it would with natural conception. Alternately, IVF involves the actual creation of an embryo outside of the body and then the introduction of that embryo into a prepared uterus.
Why IVF Can Help
Infertility is a condition that is not caused by just one issue. A couple could be coping with low sperm count, endometriosis, problems with cysts, other medical issues, or completely unexplained factors. IVF can help overcome these concerns, though it is considered by the medical community as the last option for those that have already tried many other methods of treatment.
Understanding some elements of the procedure can help you through the decision process:
- The process of IVF by its nature creates multiple embryos. Most likely several of these will not survive the process.
- The success rate of a doctor does not necessarily indicate your chances of success. These successes could be in couples that are not dealing with the same infertility issues as you.
- The success rate of IVF is not particularly high, meaning that even if you do get pregnant, the risk of miscarriage is high.
- Successful IVF pregnancies often result in multiple births.
- The process of IVF is not simple and can be extremely stressful both emotionally and physically with no guarantee that you will have a child.
After evaluating these risks many couples still choose to proceed with IVF in the hopes that they will achieve their goal of raising their own child.
How is it Done?
The process of IVF requires multiple stages, the first of which involves daily hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries into producing a large number of eggs as opposed to the single egg that is generally produced each month. When a doctor has determined that these eggs have matured to the appropriate stage another injection will prepare the eggs for retrieval. The window of opportunity for this retrieval is very slim and it is critical that the eggs are taken precisely at this point, otherwise they would not be viable. This retrieval is performed with pain medication, either in the form of gentle sedation or general anesthesia.
Depending on the number of eggs that have been produced, the retrieval process will take a half an hour or longer. Immediately after the retrieval, sperm will be introduced to the eggs.
Most of the time this introduction will result in fertilization, but if there are problems an individual sperm can be directly inserted into an egg to produce an embryo. There will then be a waiting period of a few days after which the doctor will determine if any of the embryos are healthy. If viable embryos have developed they will be inserted directly into your uterus.
Between ten and fourteen days later you will be able to take a pregnancy test. A live birth will result in approximately 26% of cycles performed.
How Much Does In Vitro Fertilization Cost?
IVF is not an inexpensive venture. Though many states have recently determined that a portion of infertility treatment costs must be covered by insurance, a large percentage of couples that will undergo such intervention will be solely responsible for the costs. A single cycle of IVF, including the medications and doctor payments, costs approximately $12,500. Though some women will find success after only one cycle, or will determine that they are only going to do one try, many will undergo several cycles. It is possible to reduce costs of subsequent cycles by freezing unused embryos during the first cycle so that they may be used later rather than developing new embryos.
If you have been grappling with infertility for a long time you may be asking “how much does in vitro fertilization cost?”. A financial answer is not a complete response to this question. You must consider not only the money you will invest, but the time, energy, and emotion that will go into it as well.