IVF, Reduced Cost IVF
Can the cost of IVF be significantly reduced without compromising the quality of the care or the expectation of a successful pregnancy? If we examine each of the components of IVF costs, we can quickly conclude that the medications used to stimulate the ovaries constitute a large component IVF costs. Blood testing and ultrasound monitoring also contribute significantly to the cost of an IVF cycle. It is possible to reduce the amount and type of medication used in an effort to reduce the overall costs of an IVF cycle. Using lower concentrations of stimulating medications reduces the number of laboratory tests and ultrasound evaluations needed to properly monitor the cycle, resulting in lower costs to the couple and fewer visits to the clinic.
“Reduced Cost IVF” may be appropriate for certain patients but not for others. For example, a patient under 35 years of age with blocked fallopian tubes would be an excellent candidate for “Reduced Cost IVF” because it is not as important to retrieve a large number of eggs in this type of patient. IVF overcomes the mechanical obstacle to conception. Conversely, an older patient (over 38 years of age) whose husband has an extremely low sperm count might not be a good candidate for this approach. Obtaining a greater number of eggs is important in this example because advanced age diminishes the percentage of high quality eggs available and having a greater number of eggs to inject with sperm offers tangible advantages in terms of outcomes. Additionally, in this example the low sperm count necessitates the use of direct sperm injection into each mature egg. With a lower total number of eggs available due to the modified stimulation, fewer of the eggs retrieved would eligible for the direct sperm injection (ICSI) resulting in fewer high quality embryos for transfer or freezing.
The properly selected couple can be offered a complete IVF treatment cycle for approximately $5500 including medication, monitoring, egg retrieval, and embryo transfer. It is imperative that each couple considering reduced cost IVF understands that this approach may not be appropriate for all couples and that studies that have looked at the results of this approach do suggest a somewhat lower expectation for success compared to traditional IVF. The advantages of this approach include fewer visits to the infertility center, reduced chances of ovarian hyperstimulation, lowered expense, and reduced stress.