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The Cost Of IVF In Australia
●September 9, 2021●5 minute read
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For many people, falling pregnant isn’t always easy. In fact, one in six couples will face fertility issues when trying to conceive. Fortunately, there are many alternative options these days for those struggling to fall pregnant. While fertility treatments like IVF can be life changing for many, they also attract a hefty price tag. In many cases, treatments can end up costing tens of thousands more than predicted.
Australian fertility trends
Fertility clinics offer assisted reproductive treatments for women (and partners) to overcome fertility issues. In the last decade, Australian fertility clinics have seen a rise in patient interest, with many older women, same-sex couples, and single women wanting to conceive. There’s also been growth in the infertility rate amongst younger women.
What is IVF?
IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) is a medical procedure used to overcome fertility issues. It involves a woman’s egg being fertilised with a male’s sperm outside the body – usually in a laboratory.
Most couples who undergo IVF have a history of fertility issues, whether that’s a low egg or sperm count, health conditions like PCOS or endometriosis, and a range of other factors. It’s also an option for same-sex couples, and single women wanting to fall pregnant.
Undergoing the different stages of IVF treatment can take months and can easily cost hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. It’s important to understand the basics of IVF if it’s something you’re considering, so that you’re prepared for the costs and emotional toll involved.
Stages of IVF treatment
IVF can be a physically and financially taxing process. There are several phases that patients must undergo before the actual insemination of an embryo is performed. Depending on the fertility clinic, you’ll be looking at slightly different costs. To make things easier, we’ve provided an estimated cost for each stage of treatment, along with the out-of-pocket costs once Medicare is rebated.
If you’re eligible for Medicare, you’ll need to get a referral from your GP to visit a fertility specialist. This will ensure you get the correct Medicare rebates when they’re owed. This first consultation is an opportunity for you to ask questions and tell your specialist about your fertility journey, whether with a partner or solo. They’ll want to get an idea of your medical history, and will focus on the woman’s fertility factors (including her menstrual history, any sexual issues, and previous pregnancies if applicable).
The cost of an initial consultation will vary depending on who you visit, and whether you go alone or with a partner. If you’re going solo, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $180 (with a $75 Medicare rebate), while going with a partner can have you looking at $300 (with a $150 rebate).
The process can be emotionally taxing on everyone involved – especially the partner hoping to fall pregnant. It’s also financially stressful, so it’s important to prioritise your mental health and wellbeing above everything else.
Ovulation cycle tracking
This next stage involves ovulation cycle tracking, which looks at a woman’s menstrual cycle and determines which days she is most fertile. It works by tracking hormone cycles through blood and ultrasound tests to predict ovulation.
Some clinics, like IVF Australia, don’t charge out-of-pocket costs for this initial treatment as they bulk bill for Medicare cardholders. If you need a secondary treatment, you can expect to pay around $395.
Ovulation induction (medication)
If fertility issues are stemming from a low egg count, certain medications can encourage the development of more eggs in a woman’s ovaries. This is usually done in the early stages of fertility treatment, as it can be used along with timed intercourse to conceive naturally.
To have the ovulation assessment and regular cycle tracking, you could be looking at around $700. It’s important to note that this doesn’t cover the costs of the actual medication, which in itself can be hundreds of dollars.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
IUI (better known as artificial insemination) is an invasive treatment option that can be used before IVF. It’s less invasive and a lot cheaper than IVF, coming in at around $2,000. It involves inserting sperm into the woman’s uterus through the cervix at the time of ovulation. Along with this method, fertility specialists will give patients tips for lifestyle habits that can impact the success of IUI. Many women who are trying to conceive will try IUI before IVF.
When someone mentions IVF treatment, most people think of the actual procedure itself. In basic terms, the process of IVF involves using a partner or donor’s sperm to fertilise a woman’s egg outside the body. After this is done, the embryo is left to grow in a laboratory for a certain amount of time before it is inserted into the woman’s uterus. From here, the woman has a two-week wait before taking a pregnancy test to find out whether she has conceived.
An IVF cycle typically lasts for four weeks, mimicking a woman’s normal menstrual cycle. One cycle can have you paying anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 and even more – but with IVF Australia, the out-of-pocket costs are around $5,000 (if the Medicare safety net is not reached). This makes it a lot more affordable for those hoping to conceive.
When a fertility specialist is concerned about a male partner’s sperm count, they might suggest a treatment called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection. This is done in addition to a cycle of IVF treatment. It involves one single sperm being injected into each of a woman’s eggs to further assist fertilisation. It can cost just as much as a round of IVF, with out-of-pocket costs around $5,300.
Frozen embryo transfer (FET)
If you’re lucky enough to have a decent number of eggs fertilised through an IVF cycle, you can choose to freeze the excess embryos for future use. This process is called FET. It alleviates the need for another cycle of hormone stimulation and egg collection, which makes it a cheaper alternative to starting from scratch.
FET works by having the frozen embryos thawed, and then transferring them back into the woman’s uterus. While it’s cheaper than an IVF cycle, it can still cost over $2,000 to freeze these excess embryos.
Embryo freezing and storage costs
From undergoing FET, you then have to consider costs for storing the frozen embryos. Through IVF Australia, there are two main storage options, depending on how many viable embryos exist. You’d be looking at around $600 for a six-month storage plan for one to ten embryos; if you have between 11 and 20 embryos, the fee will rise to the $950 mark. This process isn’t eligible for a Medicare rebate. After this, it can cost around $250 for an additional six month storage.
*The costs listed are approximate and based on IVF Australia’s NSW treatment costs as of September 1, 2020.
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Written by Katie Francis
Katie Francis is a Content Writer at Jacaranda Finance. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Business (Marketing)/Media & Communications at the Queensland University of Technology.