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How Much Does IVF Cost and Why Is It So Expensive?

In my mind, one of the greatest inventions in modern times is the ability to improve the chances of having a baby. For most of us, children are the lifeblood of our happiness and having children gives a sense of purpose that can’t be found elsewhere. After all, we are here to raise the next generation of people. 

So, if you’re wondering whether IVF is right for you, or how much the process is going to cost, then we have outlined some information to help you out!

Let’s get into it:

 

What Is IVF? 

 IVF is just short for ‘in vitro fertilisation’ which is a fertility treatment that involves combining eggs and sperm outside the body in a laboratory dish. It sounds scary but actually not at all. After the fertilisation of the egg, the embryos are then transferred to the women’s uterus and left to hopefully attach to the uterus walls and grow a baby.

As you may expect, IVF is a very complex medical procedure which requires a lot of specialized equipment and highly trained medical professionals – so, the bill can run high if you’re taking on the bills yourself. 

 

How Much Does IVF Cost in the UK? 

The cost of IVF in the UK can vary wildly depending on a number a couple of factors that you may have no control over. The region where you live may have an impact, as the specific clinic you choose (private, funded, NHS), and the type of treatment end up opting for. Just as an average, a single cycle of IVF in the UK costs between £5,000 and £7,000 in the UK, however, it seems that this cost may be the very minimum spend as there could be additional procedures needed or more rounds of IVF. 

There are a few things that add up here too. Other than the basic cost of IVF, there are other expenses to consider:

  • Medications: It is possible that you may need fertility medications to stimulate the ovaries and promote the production of eggs, to optimise the chance of conception. The cost of these drugs can be between £1,000 and £2,000 per cycle. That puts the total up to potentially £9000
  • Pre-IVF testing: Before beginning the process, both people involved may need to undergo a series of tests to check their fertility and overall health to see whether 1., the process is needed, and 2 whether there can be anything either partner can do to improve the chances of a successful IVF. These tests can cost several hundred to several thousand pounds depending on where you go, but a good average is another £1000. 
  • Genetic testing: This is rare, but some people may want to undergo genetic testing to screen for potential genetic disorders in the embryos. Mny couples with a high risk of birth defects may actually be wise to take this test to ensure that they make the most informed choice they can. This can again add up to £7000 pounds to the cost. The cost is now nearly £17000. 

 

So, What Makes the Process Expensive?

Let’s face it, medical care is super expensive at the best of times, but, there are some specific things that make IVF expensive in particular.  

  • Specialized equipment: the whole procedure requires the use of specialized equipment and technology, including incubators, microscopes, and laboratory time. This equipment is not only expensive to purchase but to maintain, operate and keep clean. 
  • Highly trained medical staff: The IVF process is complex. Both medically, and personally for the users. It requires the involvement of some extremely highly trained medical professionals whos time is extremely valuable. You could be meeting fertility specialists, embryologists, and phycologists. That doesn’t include the teams of amazing nurses and staff who make the hospital run seamlessly.
  • Medications: We covered this above, but specialised medication is always expensive. 
  • Low success rates: Sadly, IVF has a low success rate, which requires most couples to undergo the procedures multiple times. The demand is also extremely high so the price goes up, and up and up. 

 

Tips on How to Reduce the Cost of IVF

The cost of IVF can be quite a burden. The amount of money you may be spending is more than significant and may be unaffordable for many. While there are options to take the procedure on credit, here are some ways we have found that may help you reduce the cost of the procedure and make it more affordable. 

  • NHS funding: God save the NHS. We are lucky to have a health service that may cover the cost of many parts of the procedure – and offer funding for certain couples. The availability of NHS funding can vary depending on your location and the requirements of the couple. It is worth speaking to an NHS staff member to see whether you can be referred! 
  • Private health insurance: If you already have private health insurance, some plans may cover the cost of IVF. If you don’t already have insurance, then check out some providers who will cover IVF and start a plan. It may take some time, but you may eventually get covered. 
  • Fertility grants: There are several organizations that offer grants to help offset the cost of IVF for couples who cannot afford it: Find out more via https://fertilityfoundation.org/
  • Clinical trials: Some fertility clinics in the UK may offer IVF clinical trials, which can provide discounted or free IVF services if you are lucky. The trade-off is that the trials may contain new experimental drugs or different kinds of procedures. There may be a lot of risk with this option. 
  • Shared risk programs: This is a great one. There are many fertility clinics who offer shared risk programs which allow will allow you to pay a flat fee for a set number of IVF cycles rather than incurring costs each time. If your IVF cycle is not successful after an agreed number of cycles, they may be entitled to a partial or full refund of the cost of IVF.

Take these ideas into the fertility clinic that you’re speaking to, and you never know, they may help you find a way to reduce the cost. 

 

Final Thoughts

IVF is a pretty complex process, and there are many moving parts involved. The cost of IVF can be anywhere from £7000 to £135000 depending on the services you require and how many cycles you do. There is no set number for the cost of the procedure. 

There are however ways to mitigate this cost and make it more affordable. 

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