You have just been told that you need in vitro fertilization (IVF) for the best chance to conceive, but the high cost and uncertainty of outcome might have you wondering how to determine the most affordable path for you to have a baby.
Your financial situation and financial package -- how you decide to pay for IVF -- can ultimately impact your chance of conceiving.
The average cost for one IVF cycle in the U.S. is estimated to be $12,500, which may not include the cost of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) or the use of frozen embryo transfers (FETs). Adding those procedures to your cycle will bring the cost to around $20,000 per IVF cycle. Medication costs ranging somewhere between $3000-$7000 per cycle are also not included in the price of an IVF cycle. An estimated two thirds of IVF patients in the U.S. do not have full insurance coverage for IVF. Compounding this financial challenge is a need for two or more IVF treatments by many patients.
IVF treatment can be emotionally and financially stressful, and these feelings can intensify if you have been trying to conceive for months or even years. Many patients can feel defeated and decide not to continue treatment after their first IVF cycle fails, even if they have good probabilities of success with one or two more IVF cycles. What you may not realize is that you can maximize your chances of having a baby by focusing your efforts on affording a course of up to 3 IVF treatments if needed, instead of putting all your hopes and money on one.
As a first step, how do you determine your probability of having a baby from IVF and how will doing one or two more IVF cycles impact your chances?
The Univfy PreIVF™ Report* is the only personalized report that provides both your probability of success and your financial options. The Univfy PreIVF Report's accuracy and personalization is achieved by running your own health data through a scientifically validated IVF success prediction model that is based on your doctor's IVF center's own track record. IVF providers in participating centers use the Univfy PreIVF Report when counseling patients about the benefits and limitations of IVF. Further, you will learn how your chances of having a baby increase when you're planning for a course of 3 IVF cycles (if needed) over planning for just one.
The report also helps providers offer in-house refund packages that increase your chances of having a baby by taking into account your possible need for multiple cycles and the cost of related procedures1 such as the freezing and storage of embryos, and having one or more transfers of viable frozen embryos.
We provide an overview below of how an IVF refund package (also commonly called IVF refund plan, IVF refund program, or shared risk refund program) can help you stretch your dollar to maximize the chance of having a baby.
A major benefit to patients receiving fertility care at Univfy participating centers is that Univfy technology -- using a combination of machine learning and AI -- helps IVF providers qualify 50 to 80% of their patients for an IVF refund opportunity.
This is a game changer when compared with traditional IVF refund programs that typically qualify a fraction of patients due to the use of strict criteria with artificial cut-off levels for age, ovarian reserve and BMI -- methods that pre-date machine learning.
The Univfy platform determines your eligibility for an IVF refund offer based on a more holistic approach that takes your health profile -- including age, ovarian reserve, clinical diagnosis and reproductive history -- to compute the predicted probability of IVF success instead of using artificial thresholds to determine eligibility. This approach has been proven to be 1,000 times more accurate than age-based estimates2.
Learn more about the Univfy PreIVF Report and IVF refund programs offered by Univfy-participating centers:
Ask a Univfy-participating center about special pricing programs they may offer, such as a discounted multi-cycle package or an IVF refund program where patients are given partial or full refunds if they do not have a pregnancy or live birth after one IVF cycle or three IVF cycles. Some Univfy-participating centers offer a credit, instead of refund, that can be applied to a subsequent IVF cycle1
We will use an example of a three-cycle IVF refund program here to illustrate how you can significantly save money while maximizing your chances of having a baby from IVF.
IVF costs vary significantly across different regions of the country. For the purposes of this example, let's say one IVF cycle together with related procedures such as ICSI and frozen embryo transfers costs $20,000 whereas the IVF refund program, including three IVF cycles, ICSI and unlimited number of frozen embryo transfers, is offered at $24,000. Also, let's assume that you are offered a guarantee of a 50 percent refund if you do not have a viable pregnancy or baby after 3 IVF cycles and the use of viable embryos. The cost of medications is not included in any of these fees.
If you choose to pay for one IVF cycle at a time, you pay $20,000 for an IVF cycle whether it is successful or not. If your first IVF cycle is not successful and you want to do another IVF cycle, you would pay $20,000 again. Alternatively, if you enroll in the IVF refund program, you pay $24,000 for up to three IVF cycles, including any number of frozen embryo transfers needed. That means if your first IVF cycle is not successful, you can do the second IVF cycle without paying the IVF center again; if the second IVF cycle is not successful, you can do the third IVF cycle without paying the IVF center again. If all 3 IVF cycles do not result in a viable pregnancy or baby, then you would receive a refund of 50% of $24,000 or $12,000.
In this example, if you were to need a second IVF cycle to have a baby, you would incur $16,000 of cost savings; if you were to need a third IVF cycle, you would incur $36,000 of cost savings. In the most undesirable scenario of not having success from all three IVF cycles, you would save $47,500. If you have a baby in the first IVF cycle, you may or may not save money depending on the cost of frozen embryo transfers and the number of frozen embryo transfers needed. Although you are aiming to have a baby rather than a refund, many patients find the Univfy PreIVF Report and IVF refund program level the playing field by signaling a provider's accountability and, if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing a refund, you would have more financial freedom to choose other family-building options.
In addition to using an IVF refund program, there are a number of options to help pay for your IVF treatment when it's not covered by your health insurance -- including consumer medical loans, discount medication programs and grant programs.
If you're considering a personal or medical loan to pay for IVF, the IVF refund program option can limit the amount of debt (and interest) in the event your first IVF cycle does not succeed.
Once you've determined the cost of your treatment with the help of your provider, you can start to make plans for how to pay for it.
Just because you don't have infertility coverage doesn't mean that you can't afford infertility treatment. Ask your doctor or financial counselor how you can minimize your cost while maximizing your IVF success rate.
Stay tuned. In the next blog post, we will discuss these methods of financial assistance.
Here's a list of the IVF centers participating with Univfy to offer the personalized Univfy PreIVF Report and special pricing/refund programs to 50-80% of their patients:
*Atlantic Reproductive Medicine Specialists (ARMS)
David Walmer, M.D., and Dr. Susannah Copland, M.D.
10208 Cerny St., Suite 306
Raleigh, NC 27617
*Carolinas Fertility Institute
Tamer Yalcinkaya, M.D. and Tolga Mesen, M.D.
3821 Forest Gate Dr.
Winston Salem, NC 27103
With locations in Greensboro and Charlotte
Offers the CFI Promise Program.
*Fertility Center of Chattanooga and Knoxville
Joey Bird, M.D., and Barry Donesky, M.D.
7407 Ziegler Road
Chattanooga, TN 37421
Also located in Knoxville, TN.
Offers the Fertility Center IVF Refund Program.
*Fertility Center of Dallas (FCD)
J. Michael Putman, M.D., and Lily Zhang, Ph.D.
3900 Junius St., Suite 610
Dallas, TX 75032
FCD is also located in Rockwall, TX.
Offers Fertility Center of Dallas IVF Refund Program.
*Gago Center for Fertility and Gago IVF
April Gago, M.D.
2250 Genoa Business Park Dr., Suite 100
Brighton, MI 48114
With locations in Lansing and Ann Arbor, MI.
Offers the Gago IVF Build Your Family Program.
Donald C. Young, D.O., F.A.C.O.G., and Dr. Brian C. Cooper, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.,
1371 NW 121 St.
Clive, IA 50325
Offers the Mid-Iowa Fertility Refund Program.
*Piedmont Reproductive Endocrinology Group (PREG)
Dr. John Nichols, Dr. John Payne, Dr. Travis McCoy, Dr. James Holman, Dr. Gail Whitman-Elia and Dr. Edward D. Tarnawa
17 Caledon Court, Suite C
Greenville, SC 29615
With locations in Columbia and Spartanburg, and Asheville, NC.
Offers the PREG IVF Refund Program Plan.
Office of Klaus Wiemer, Ph.D, and Michael Opsahl, M.D.
12039 NE 128th St., Suite 110
Kirkland, WA 98034
*Reproductive Resource Center (RRC)
Celeste Brabec, M.D., and William Phipps, M.D.
12200 W 106th St., Suite 120
Overland Park KS, 66215
The RRC also has a location in the Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, MO.
Offers the RRC We've Got Heart Program.
Additional clinics will be posted in the near future.
1 Notes: Univfy-participating centers are IVF centers that use the Univfy PreIVF Report to support personalized IVF counseling. Affordable IVF packages are offered by participating centers according to the needs of their local communities. Pricing, discounts, refund levels and fee schedule details are determined by each IVF center and may vary across different centers.
2 Clinical Research References.
Defining human embryo phenotypes by cohort-specific prognostic factors. Jun SH§, Choi B§, Shahine L, Westphal LM, Behr B, Reijo Pera, Wong WH, Yao MWM. PLoS ONE 2008; 3(7):e2562. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.002562. §Co-first authors.
Deep phenotyping to predict live birth outcomes in in vitro fertilization. Banerjee P§, Choi B§, Shahine LK, Jun SH, O’Leary K, Lathi RB, Westphal LM, Wong WH, Yao MWM. PNAS 2010;107(31):13559-60. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1002296107. Epub 2010 Jul 19. §Co-first authors.
Predicting personalized multiple birth risks after in vitro fertilization-double embryo transfer. Lannon BM§, Choi B§, Hacker MR, Dodge LE, Malizia BA, Barrett CB, , Wong WH, Yao MWM, Penzias AS. Fertil Steril 2012;98(1):69-76. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.0411. Epub 2012 Jun 4. §Co-first authors.
Personalized prediction of first-cycle in vitro fertilization. Choi B, Bosch E, Lannon BM, Leveille MD, Wong WH, Leader A, Pellicer A, Penzias AS, Yao MWM. Fertil Steril 2013;99(7):1905-11. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.02.016. Epub 2013 Mar 21.
Antimüllerian hormone levels and antral follicle count as prognostic indicators in a personalized prediction model of live birth. Nelson SM, Fleming R, Gaudoin M, Choi B, Santo-Domingo K, Yao MWM. Fertil Steril 2015. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.04.032