How Much Does IVF Cost?

So I’ve got an announcement, my wife and I are expecting! Our due date is early July so I’ve kept this news on the down low for quite some time. We’re really excited about this life changing event and you can probably expect a few more baby / parenting related posts in the near future.

I really wish I could say that getting pregnant was simple, but the reality is, we spent three years trying and required In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Infertility is something many couples don’t talk about, but it affects roughly 1 in 6 couples in Canada. Going in, we knew it would be an expensive venture, but we still wondered how much does IVF cost? After experiencing it first hand, I’m going to share with you what you should expect if you decide to go this route. Note that this is what I paid in Ontario, Canada. Prices vary by province and country.

 Estimated costNotes
Initial tests & consultations$600
Vitamins$600
IUI drugs$3,000$1,000 per procedure X 3
IUI procedures$1,500$500 per procedure X 3
Consultation fee$250
IVF drugs$3,300Based on 3 embryo transfers
Egg retrieval$9,000Includes sperm washing & insemination
Freezing of eggs$1,750Not everyone has to pay this
Admin fees$500$250 each - retrieval & transfer
IVF transfers$4,500$1,500 per procedure X 3
Total estimated cost$25,000Budget $20,000 - $25,000

I’m going to be clear, the above estimates are not EXACTLY what my wife and I paid. I had to use some averages just so you can kind of get a rough estimate of what you should budget and/or expect to pay. You may end up spending less or you may end up spending more. But a good number to budget is $20,000 – $25,000 (mind you I’m quite conservative so this might be a bit high).

I’m not 100% sure of this, but I also believe that not every fertility clinic charges the same amount. Prices should be similar, but they can definitely vary.

I should also note that the cost of drugs will vary. Sure a lot of them you will need to use, but dosages and the types of drugs you require will depend on the individual person. Not all employer drug plans will cover the cost of infertility drugs. If you’re lucky like we were, you’ll get some of your drugs covered, but don’t bank on it.

The medical procedures can be written off as medical expenses, but not all your drugs. I recommend keeping all your receipts and keeping a detailed log so you can give it to your accountant come tax time.

What to expect when getting help

The general rule when you need to seek help with getting pregnant is to wait 12 months after trying (if you’re under the age of 35) and 6 months if you’re over the age of 35. However, speak to your family doctor as they may suggest you to come back before 12 months since it takes a couple months to get that specialist appointment. You will need a referral to a fertility specialist from your family doctor; you can’t simply just show up and expect a consultation.

During your first consultation (which is covered by OHIP), your doctor will ask you a ton of questions to try and figure out if there are any obvious issues to address first. A misconception about infertility is that it’s all female factor, however there can be male factor issues at play, a combination of both or in some cases the infertility is unexplained.

To try and determine the reason you will be required to do a few tests e.g. blood work, ultrasounds, semen analysis, and other procedures to check the uterus and ovaries which aren’t all covered by OHIP. Before you do the tests, make sure you’re comfortable with your doctor otherwise ask your family doctor for another referral.

At this time, your doctor may recommend certain vitamins for both partners. Again, these aren’t expensive, but they will certainly add up over time.

Depending on the results of the test, you may require additional procedures (which you’ll need to pay for). Those additional procedures may require you to take even more drugs (which obviously aren’t free). For perspective, at this time, my wife and I were already out a few hundred dollars.

how much does ivf cost ultrasound

Getting started with your treatments

With all the results in, your doctor will be able to recommend you the next course of action. If everything appears normal, it’s a pretty simple process. But, if the tests showed something else that may affect your ability to get pregnant; that may require attention first.

Assuming everything is “fine,” your doctor will most likely recommend you try Intrauterine insemination (IUI) first which is less invasive compared to IVF. I won’t go into the details of IUI (you can Google that), but I can confirm that it’s significantly cheaper than IVF. Of course, you also need to add in the cost of drugs which are more expensive than the actual procedure.

The chances of being successful with IUI are lower than IVF, but since it’s less invasive and cheaper; it’s highly recommended if you’re a candidate. You get charged for every IUI procedure (about $500) in addition to drugs if required. You can technically do it as many times as you want, but doctors usually recommend trying three times before moving onto IVF.

Before your IUI treatments, your clinic will recommend you attend one of their IUI orientations. This session will go over what to expect, but almost always the first questions is how much does it cost? I’ve already told you what to expect above, but during our session, we had couples break down in tears once they heard how much money they would need to spend.

You may need a support group

At this time, I want to remind anyone who’s struggling with conceiving that you’re not alone. It’s a very normal thing and it affects more people than you realize. You will run into a ton of idiots (sometimes family) who don’t understand (or don’t know) what you’re dealing with. It’s best to find a support group if you need that extra support and safe place where you won’t feel judged. There are many out there that are free to attend if you do your research, and if you prefer individual counseling, sometimes benefits will cover it so look into it. We had great support with informedfertility.ca.

As a male, it was pretty easy for me to dodge questions about having kids, but at the same time, I did get annoyed whenever someone would just assume you’re going to or not going to have kids. I would write a post about RESPs or about the cost of having children and people would just assume I’m having a kid (and start asking about it). My wife had to deal with much more crap than I did.

It’s also okay to hate on everyone (within reason). I couldn’t help but want to hate on people who appeared to have the perfect lives. Oh you got pregnant by accident or on your first try? That’s Great! Excuse me while I cry in a corner. We never had to attend any baby showers during this time, but it’s something we had planned on avoiding if it came up.

The cost of IVF and what to expect

If you do plan and need to move onto IVF later on you will need to meet with your specialist again and in our case we were provided with an online orientation to understand the steps and costs involved. You may also need to do some more repeat tests as a good length of time has likely elapsed since you did your initial tests, it could be as far out as a year ago.

There are also unexpected complications that can arise along the way when undergoing any infertility treatment which incur more costs. For instance, unexpected cycle cancellations result in lost money on wasted drugs and when you’re ready to resume again you’ll be purchasing those same drugs all over again. There is also time off to consider for procedures and upon a successful IVF completion some doctors recommend taking 5 days off which for some people, taking time off work will cost them money.

Now that we were in full IVF mode, this is where things started to get expensive. To prepare for the retrieval process, my wife had to buy more drugs which were not cheap. At this stage, she was on quite a few pills and daily injections which is normal for anyone going through IVF. The actual retrieval process cost us $9,100 which included admin fees, sperm washing and the procedure. We were hit with an additional cost for frozen embryo storage due to an unexpected IVF complication. Separate to the retrieval you will then need to pay for the transfer which is when they put the embryo(s) back in you, that cost us $1,750.

How many embryos taken from your eggs and sperm, and actually make it to the stage where they can be put back varies per cycle, but for the argument of this article, I’m going to assume three embryos in one IVF cycle (for reference, we had less than that). Every time you do the IVF procedure, you’re paying for it. If you run out of embryos, you’re going to need to pay that massive fee again and start all over. Hopefully you’re successful with the first batch of embryo(s) since your cost at this time will be around $12,000 – $18,000. Remember there is also the risk that none of your eggs and sperm will make viable embryos.

There are also a lot of add-on options like embryo genetic testing and other procedures before your IVF transfer in an effort to help your chances, however as far as I know these aren’t all scientifically proven so we opted out.

Assuming, you’re successful, you will still need to factor in a few extra costs. Since it was an IVF baby, your doctor will most likely recommend you keep taking a few drugs. It’s also recommended you do a few extra tests such as the Harmony test (at a cost of $500) just to make sure your baby is healthy. There are also other options that OHIP will cover if you’re 35 and over and don’t want to pay out of pocket.

how much does ivf cost

The Province of Ontario pays for fertility treatments

Ontario residents with a valid OHIP card are eligible for Ontario’s Fertility Program. To qualify for the one-time cycle per lifetime for IVF, women must be under the age of 43. You also must be recommended by your healthcare provider to ensure IVF is appropriate for you. If you live in a different province, you’ll need to check what fertility benefits are available to you.

The program covers the following (taken right from the Health Ontario website)

  • Artificial insemination (AI), including intra-uterine insemination (IUI)
  • One in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle per eligible patient per lifetime, including:
  • The one-at-a-time transfer of all viable embryos to allow for the possibility of multiple chances for pregnancy
  • One additional funded IVF cycle, if acting as a surrogate. This can occur either before or after receiving a funded IVF cycle for the purpose of building your own family
  • One fertility preservation (FP) cycle, including sperm and egg freezing for medical reasons, per eligible patient per lifetime.

Obviously, most people are interested in taking advantage of IVF since it cost the most, but note that this government program does the not include the cost of drugs. As you’ve seen from my above estimates, you still be on the hook for about $5,000.

Some people ask, why not just go for the free stuff? If you elect to go for the sponsored method, you’re put into a queue where the wait is about 12 months (at least it was when we were trying in early 2016).

If you can afford the treatments, you’re better off paying for it so you don’t have to wait. Alternatively, you can take part of the program if you’re starting to run out of funds.

Is IVF worth it?

At the start, people want to know how much does IVF cost? But assuming they’re successful, they say that the process is priceless. I can see why people say this, but in reality, there is a hard cost you need to consider.

Some people are willing to spend any amount to get pregnant, and I certainly understand that. But, I’ve also heard of people who have mortgaged their homes, borrowed from their parents, or gone into debt for it. Only you can decide how much you want to spend, but speaking strictly from a financial perspective, going into debt to have a child could cripple you.

What many people don’t factor in is the emotional and physical toll infertility has on couples. Going through this process is very emotional and can put a real strain on relationships or do the opposite and make it stronger. Women will also have to pump their body full of drugs which can wreck them physically, emotionally and take away from their social lives since administration of the drugs requires a strict daily schedule to adhere to.

My wife and I personally had set a cut off date for our fertility treatments. We were fortunate enough to be able to afford treatments, but we had to set a “date” so we could get on with your lives. We knew that if IVF didn’t work, there were other ways for us to become parents, so we had to prepare for that.

Final word

Going through infertility and IVF is a very stressful time and there are going to be a lot of insensitive people you come across. As a male, things were relatively easy for me to deal with, but I can imagine what my wife and many women have to go through.

As for how much does IVF cost? We personally spent about $14,000 since we only had to do one IVF procedure and some of our drugs covered. However, going into it, you should budget $20,000 – $25,000. Costs can go up or down depending on the circumstances and what options you decide to do. Don’t give up hope and best of luck to you.

By | 2017-04-18T06:18:48+00:00 April 17th, 2017|featured, My Money, Personal Finance, Young Money|

23 Comments

  1. Brian G April 17, 2017 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Congratulations Barry and wife! Thanks for writing about this. It is so important that people know that there is support out there for those going through this and the options that are available.

    • Barry Choi April 17, 2017 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Hey Brian,

      Thanks! yes, without support, this process can be extremely stressful.

  2. Sal D'Souza April 17, 2017 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Wow, thanks for sharing that! You’re openness and honesty is so appreciated!

  3. KC April 17, 2017 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Congratulations!

    Thank you so much for writing this up. I honestly did not know how much it would cost and am stunned. I think I will try to have a baby earlier than expected to hopefully reduce the need for having to go that route. Thank you for sharing.

    • Barry Choi April 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      KC,

      Thanks. It’s obviously impossible to know how long it’ll take to have a child, fortunately we were in a position to afford IVF.

  4. NZ Muse April 17, 2017 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Congrats!!!! And thank you for writing about this. We are at the stage of figuring out exactly how we are going to afford maternity leave (as I make 2/3 of our fairly modest income) – if we had struggles conceiving, then that would be a whole other kettle of financial fish.

    • Barry Choi April 17, 2017 at 4:21 pm - Reply

      NZ Muse,

      Thanks! We’re fortunate that we had the funds for this stuff, but it obviously still played a factor with other financial decisions.

  5. Tawcan April 17, 2017 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Congrats Barry! That’s amazing news. You’ll really enjoy being a dad and of course, sleep less. :p

  6. Alyssa Fischer April 18, 2017 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Congratulations Barry! Very well written.

  7. Jenna West April 18, 2017 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry! Thanks for writing such an informative article and putting so much effort into your site! Is there a subscription option so I’ll receive alerts when you’ve published new articles?

    • Barry Choi April 18, 2017 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Jenna,

      Thanks for the feedback. You can signup for my mailing list on the top right of this page. I send out emails at the start of every month.

  8. My Own Advisor April 18, 2017 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Wow, great news! A huge congrats to you and your wife 🙂

    Best wishes,
    Mark

  9. Susan April 18, 2017 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    Congrats. A couple of comments. This is just one of the many reasons why people should stay or get out of debt. Life doesn’t always go the way you plan and debt limits your flexibility. As for a non financial comment, I never understood why people think other people’s procreation is their business.

    • Barry Choi April 19, 2017 at 12:51 am - Reply

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks for the comments. We were very lucky that we had no debt going into this process but we know people who have put themselves into debt because of it. You can’t put a price on having a child, but in this case you can.

  10. Jaymee @ Smart Woman April 18, 2017 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Congratulations to you and your wife Barry! This is so exciting 😀

    And thank you for sharing what it costs to go the IVF route. I work in Labour and Delivery and have only heard from patients that it’s an expensive procedure, I just didn’t know how expensive! (It’s about as much as my student loans wow!)

    This makes me more happy that couples are now allowed to claim these medical taxes during tax time.

    • Barry Choi April 19, 2017 at 12:52 am - Reply

      Jaymee,

      Prices can go up and down. I know of at least two couples who spend two times what I estimated while others spent half of what I did. When you’re spending that much, every tax break helps.

  11. Arienne April 19, 2017 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Congratulations Barry!! It’s all going to be worth it. Thank you for sharing your story and your experience. Very well laid out and detailed for those going through the same thing. It’s not too far now for this next chapter of your life to begin!

  12. Cheryl April 23, 2017 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Barry this is wonderful news! Blessings on your close-to-here wee one, your wife and you. Wishing you a healthy delivery and so much joy as you get to know your baby. Fasten your seat belt dad .

    • Barry Choi April 23, 2017 at 11:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cheryl,

      My wife and I are very excited and of course, very thankful.

  13. yettie April 23, 2017 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Congratulations to you & your wife, wishing you all the best on your parenting journey.

    I applaud your thought process in entering fertility treatment, especially putting a time limit on it before exploring other options. I spent 5 years and a lot more $$$ (lived in the US so everything was out of pocket) on fertility treatments and it’s so easy to have the process take over your life. Setting limits makes a big difference

    • Barry Choi April 23, 2017 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      Yettie,

      Yes, fortunately, we had some coverage. I can’t believe how much health care in the U.S. costs.

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