The cost of infertility on a person’s mental and emotional health cannot be quantified – but during National Infertility Awareness Week, TODAY Parents examines the very real financial costs of infertility.
Whether people choose to pursue intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, or adoption, the costs can reach six figures in many cases. Ask Becky Fawcett, a New York mom who spent more on her journey to parenthood than on her first home in suburban Philadelphia. His total expense? Almost $200,000.
Fawcett shared this breakdown of the costs she faced: $82,000 for five cycles of IVF that resulted in three pregnancies that all ended in miscarriage. This was followed by two adoptions, one of which cost $40,000 and the other $63,000.
“We were in our early 30s,” Fawcett told TODAY. “It’s the money you would spend on a house or invest in your future. No one plans to spend it to start a family.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states are required to cover or provide insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Even if insurance coverage is available where you live, it is still important to contact your insurer and clarify your personal expenses.
This guide reveals how much the different paths to starting a family can cost.
Related story: How 3 families coped with the cost of parenthood
IUI: From a few hundred dollars to over $2,000 per cycle
Intrauterine insemination is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm into a woman’s uterus to increase the chances of fertilization.
“The cost of IUI depends on the fertility center and can range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars for a cycle,” Dr. Jenna Turocy of Columbia University Fertility Center told TODAY Parents. “This includes the cost of ultrasound monitoring and blood tests, medication and the insemination procedure. Ultrasound monitoring and blood tests are important to optimize the timing of insemination.
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology estimates the costs could be even higher — up to $2,000 per cycle depending on the fertility clinic, type of medication used, and any follow-up required.
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IVF: approximately $20,000 per cycle
In vitro fertilization costs $19,200 for a single cycle, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
“The cost of assisted reproduction treatments (ART) varies widely depending on different factors, such as your location, your potential insurance coverage, and the desired results of the procedure, which can involve multiple cycles,” said Dr. Sharon Briggs, clinical research manager at Modern Fertility. “The full treatment averages more than two cycles, bringing the costs up to $40,000. These costs also depend on where you live.
Briggs told TODAY that the first IVF appointment will likely include a meeting with a financial consultant who can explain benefit coverage and specific costs.
Related story: 5 things to know before starting IVF
Adoption: Approximately $50,000 per child
Fawcett, the New York mom who spent nearly $200,000 in total, is now the founder and president of Help Us Adopt, an organization that offers grants of up to $20,000 to help families with expenses of adoption. Help Us Adopt has awarded over $4.5 million in grants since its inception in 2007.
The organization provides grants for domestic and international adoptions. Fawcett noted that the costs are similar for both types of adoption.
“In the case of domestic adoption, you pay for everything twice – once for the adoptive parents, once for the biological mother,” Fawcett said, giving examples of lawyers, social workers and counselors. There is also the cost of medical bills for the biological mother. Even if he has insurance, the adoptive parent(s) often pay the deductibles.
In the case of international adoption, she said, the orphanage essentially takes the place of the biological parents and the costs are about the same after the orphanage fee plus the country fee.
Fawcett said while the $30,000 price tag is often quoted when it comes to adoption, it is incorrect. “I don’t think it’s fair to give anyone false hope,” she said. “I tell people to plan to spend around $50,000. If it’s a little less, so much the better. If it’s more, it’s within range.
Related story: This Dad’s Bread-Making Fundraiser Highlights the High Cost of Adoption
GPA: approximately $150,000
With surrogacy, a woman other than the baby’s parent carries the pregnancy. Surrogacy has a large cost variable depending on whether the surrogate is paid or not. In situations where a family member is carrying the baby, expectant parents can avoid a cost that typically ranges between $30,000 and $60,000, according to Emily Westerfield, Active Gestational Carrier and Gestational Carrier Program Director for Gift of Life. Surrogacy Agency.
“The more experience a carrier has, the higher the base pay,” Westerfield told TODAY, noting that payments are broken down monthly as the pregnancy progresses. Carrying multiples incurs higher charges.
Related story: Read Kristen Welker’s heartfelt letter to her daughter about surrogacy and infertility
Westerfield said gestational carriers receive additional compensation ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 for hormone medications, maternity clothing, lost wages, travel expenses and procedures such as embryo transfer or a caesarean section.
If the parent(s) hire a surrogate, they can expect to pay the fees mentioned above as well as medical and legal costs. Dr. Barry Witt, reproductive endocrinologist, OB-GYN, and medical director of WINFertility, told TODAY Parents that surrogacy costs about $150,000 in total.