Finance

The Cost of IVF in 2021

What's included in your cycle charges and what's going to cost you extra? Here's what you're forgetting to add in to your estimates for the cost of IVF.
What does IVF cost in 2021 & what are the extras not included in that fee?
What does IVF cost in 2021 & what are the extras not included in that fee?
You hear numbers thrown around all the time for infertility treatments like, IVF is $15,000 or it’s $12,000 or it’s $20,000. Well, which is it?! 🤷‍♀️

We know, it's tough when there’s not a straight answer.

Each clinic has their own rates, which is partially why you always see averages or ranges when looking at prices.

However, there are some pretty good averages we can use to give you an idea of what you're in for.

How much does IVF cost?


The average costs of IVF and IVF/ICSI cycles were gathered from a 2013 study which did an IVF cost-benefit analysis comparing the two fertilization methods.

We took a look at these numbers and adjusted for inflation.

Average Cost of IVF in 2021
  • IVF cycle: $16,108.57
  • IVF/ICSI cycle: $18,160.25
  • ICSI procedure: $2,051.68

To make sure these numbers were in keeping with fertility clinics in 2021, we checked IVF fee estimates provided by a large fertility clinic network with multiple locations across the US including California, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Maryland, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, and Massachusetts. 

They similarly put the average cost of IVF at $17,690.

So, is this the total cost you should expect to pay?

Not likely. 🤦‍♀️

Here's why.

This amount charged by your fertility clinic usually pays for the standard services provided for an IVF cycle but often does not include any third-party fees of labs, pharmacies, and ancillary providers. 

Plus, certain services that patients may do as part of an IVF cycle are often billed separately as an add-on service.

What additional fees should you factor in when budgeting for treatment?


Often times, there are many extra costs associated with IVF that aren't usually included in the base estimate for a cycle. Make sure to factor in these additional costs such as ICSI or a frozen embryo transfer (FET) so that you can budget accordingly.
Often times, there are many extra costs associated with IVF that aren't usually included in the base estimate for a cycle. Make sure to factor in these additional costs such as ICSI or a frozen embryo transfer (FET) so that you can budget accordingly.


Great question!

There are several more expenses associated with an IVF cycle that you'll likely need to account for in your budget outside of the clinic's cycle fees.

Additional IVF expenses include:
👉
IVF medications
👉Anesthesia for the egg retrieval
👉Donor sperm (if applicable)
👉Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT-A/PGS)
👉Embryo storage
👉Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) + medications

These items are extremely common in IVF treatment, so it’s important to take these added expenses in account when estimating your total cost.

Some IVF patients may even have other additional expenses such as acupuncture, an injection service, or a mock cycle, which they may want to factor in to the cost of treatment.

Let’s break down the price for each of these common 6 expenses we mentioned above.

1. IVF Medications


This is usually the first cost you’ll see when starting IVF, as pharmacies always need payment for the medications upon dispensing them and your big procedures won’t come until a week or two after starting these medications.

💉Infertility medications are notoriously expensive and can run you $5k-$7k for a single IVF cycle.

To give you the most accurate idea of IVF medication cost, we’re going to use two helpful resources, an example IVF treatment calendar from UCSF Center for Reproductive Health along with average cost of these medication dosages from GoodRx.

On average, patients take IVF medications for 8-12 days. We’ll use a 10-day protocol in this example, just as the UCSF calendar does.

IVF medication pricing for an average cycle

Medication Brand Name Medication Type # days administered Dosage per day Total dose Inventory needed Cost of inventory
Gonal-F RFF Pen FSH 10 125-225 IU 1500 IU 1 pen 900 IU, x2 pens 300 IU $4,177.97
Menopur FSH + LH 10 150 IU 1500 IU 20 vials $1,658.00
Ganirelix Acetate GnRH Antagonist 5 250 mcg per day 1250 mcg 5 syringes $315.15
hCG Trigger Shot 1 10,000 IU 10,000 IU 1 vial $108.93
This IVF cycle treatment protocol example from UCSF indicated a dual-trigger of hCG and Lupron. However, not all patients use Lupron, so we did not include it in the cost averages. You can add it for your own calculations to see the difference!

Total cost of IVF medications for 10-day stimulation = $6,260.05

To get you an accurate cost average, we used the lowest cost prices found for each medication brand & corresponding dosage as listed on GoodRx.

These amounts may change over time and vary by medication brand name; however, these are the lowest cost that we found in June 2021 for the treatment calendar’s specified dosage & brand names listed.

Curious about the day-to-day process of the IVF cycle and how long it takes to complete?

Take a look at our guide to the IVF timeline where we break down each day of the IVF process so you know what to expect.

Keep in mind that every person's medication protocol for IVF is unique to them and how their body responds.

Because of this, you may need to take medications for greater or fewer than 10 days and possibly at different dosages, which will change your medication cost.

If you’re a first-time IVF patient, your reproductive endocrinologist is usually guesstimating your medication needs for how your body will respond and your care team may over-order on medication inventory just in case you need to take medications for more days than planned.

2. Anesthesia for the egg retrieval


When undergoing the egg retrieval, patients will oftentimes be placed under anesthesia.

The cost of anesthesia for your egg retrieval may or may not be included in the cost estimate given by your clinic for an IVF cycle. It’s often billed separately, so it might be something to look into. 
 
Anesthesia for the egg retrieval - $350-$750

Many patients are able to have anesthesia covered through their regular medical insurance, even if they don't have infertility coverage.

It’s certainly worthwhile to run this by your health insurance to check.

📄Even for patients that do not have infertility coverage, the cost for anesthesia might be covered under your regular medical plan.

 

3. Donor Sperm


For patients that will be using donor sperm for the insemination, they will also need to factor in the cost of purchasing donor vials for their IVF cycle as well.

Donor sperm cost
  • Cost per vial of donor sperm - $500-$1,000
  • Average shipping fees - ~$234
  • Storage fees - ~$600 annually

✌️Clinics usually request you order 2 vials of donor sperm so that there is a backup available on the day of IVF and in case a second cycle is needed.

Shipping fees were averaged based on prices from 4 large U.S. donor sperm banks (3, 4, 5, 6).

A standard of 2-day shipping was the cheapest option.

The cost may vary based on what day the shipment is to arrive (weekday vs weekend) and how quickly the shipment needs to get to the clinic.

4. Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT-A/PGS)


Once the IVF cycle is underway, eggs have been retrieved, fertilized, and embryos are developing, some patients also choose to have their embryos genetically tested before doing an embryo transfer.

This is called preimplantation genetic testing.

Check out our guide on PGT-A to learn more about what actually happens to your embryos during this process & success rates by age when transferring tested embryos.

There are a few different variations of this test looking at different aspects of an embryo’s genetics.

The most common is PGT-A, formerly known as PGS.

PGT-A tests whether an embryo’s cells have the correct number of chromosomes needed for a healthy baby.

🔬🧬❄️There are usually two fees for preimplantation genetic testing, the fee for the embryology lab to biopsy the embryos and then the fee for the PGT lab to test those biopsies. 

The fees for testing can depend on which lab is used, your clinic’s embryology fees, and how many embryos are tested.

Cost of Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy:

Keep in mind that some genetic testing labs structure costs where they offer a flat fee for first ~6 embryos & charge an additional cost for each additional embryo tested.

The cost of PGT-A is not commonly covered by insurance so this will be an out-of-pocket cost even for patients that have infertility coverage.

Cost-effectiveness can depend on the number of embryos and your age so if you're on the fence about the expense, you may want to assess whether the added cost of testing would be worth it to you.

5. Embryo Storage


The cost to freeze embryos is usually included in the primary IVF fee and won’t be billed at additional cost. 

But since we have some data on the specific cost, we thought we’d include it separately for reference.

Embryo cryopreservation fees:
  • Embryo freezing - $917.03
  • Embryo storage - ~$600 annually

The storage fees aren’t too bad at all but if you’re not planning on using your embryos/eggs anytime soon, you can lower costs further by using a long-term storage facility, paying for multi-year storage at a discount.

6. Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)


If you freeze embryos, you later will be able to thaw and transfer when you’re ready to try to get pregnant.

Even if the frozen embryo transfer is as soon as the next month after your IVF cycle, the FET cost will usually be billed separately from the IVF cycle costs you paid the month earlier to freeze embryos.

💊An FET cycle often also requires its own set of medications that are different from the medications needed for the egg retrieval.

Frozen embryo transfer cycle costs include:

The above FET cycle cost range is based on global fee estimates from two large fertility networks in the U.S. encompassing 58 clinic locations, CCRM & Shady Grove Fertility.

The medications costs for a frozen embryo transfer are significantly less expensive than the stimulation medications needed for the egg retrieval.

Some patients will not take medication to prepare their uterine lining while others will need to take estrogen and progesterone up until their first pregnancy test.

If their pregnancy test is positive, they will often need to continue the medications until 8-10 weeks gestation.

🙋‍♀️ Looking for a fertility clinic? Search clinics near you to compare options in your area & learn more about each provider & see their IVF success rates.

How much does insurance cover for IVF?


If you have insurance coverage for infertility treatments, then you could get quite a large portion of your IVF cycle paid for.

It's rare that you'll pay nothing at all for IVF even with insurance coverage.

Typically there are still costs that you will pay either to insurance for your deductible, co-insurance, etc. or for anything not covered under your plan.

More Companies are starting to offer IVF coverage to their employees


Mercer’s 2021 Survey of Fertility Benefits is showing that many companies are starting to add to their employee fertility benefits for treatments such as IUI and IVF.

This helps many more individuals spend less out-of-pocket for treatment and for the associated medications.

Nearly half of large U.S. employers now cover IVF


IVF coverage rates have improved for large employers as well, with 42% of employers offering coverage for in vitro fertilization & 53% covering infertility medications. 

Smaller employers with more than 500 employees haven’t been as quick to add infertility benefits for their employees.

Currently, 27% of employers in this group reported offering IVF benefits which was similarly reported at 24% in 2015. 

As far as limits on coverage, 60% of employers IVF coverage is associated with a lifetime maximum. 

This means that there is a specific dollar amount/number of cycles that the insurance plan will cover for you in your lifetime. Any further treatment beyond that maximum, would be your full responsibility to pay for yourself.

👉The median lifetime maximum for IVF insurance coverage is $16,250.


Insurance coverage for egg freezing is on the rise


As of 2021, a fifth of large US employers (20,000 or more employees) reported that they offer coverage for egg freezing. This is pretty impressive as this number was just 6% in 2015.

This is a great benefit for women to take advantage of, especially when focusing on their careers and putting off having children until down the road.

As egg quality declines as women age, it’s best to start the process of finding an egg freezing clinic as soon as you start thinking about it. 

Egg freezing can cost $10,000-$15,000 without insurance so this is definitely a valuable benefit to take advantage of if you have insurance coverage.

Besides looking for a fertility clinic to work with, another smart step is to do a little research on how the process can impact your personal life & schedule. This way you’ll be prepared ahead of time and feel more organized throughout the process.

Wondering how to calculate what you’ll pay for IVF using insurance?


Check out our article on how to navigate your infertility coverage and calculate your estimated out-of-pocket costs once insurance has paid their part and sends you a bill.

With IVF now easily costing $20,000 for a cycle, there will still be some patients with insurance coverage who still have some out-of-pocket costs.

This is certainly the case for popular procedures that are considered to be add-ons to an IVF cycle and are typically not covered by insurance, such as PGT-A

You can check out the cost of PGT-A in our article breaking down the patient’s expenses as well as the success rates when testing your embryos before doing an embryo transfer.

How much does IVF cost without insurance?


If you don't have any infertility coverage through your medical plan, then it's even more important to shop around different fertility clinics to find affordable treatment.

There are still ways you can prepare financially ahead of time to help limit your expenses.

Check out our article detailing steps to prepare financially for IVF.

We cover several ways to fund treatment, such as leveraging: 
  • HSA and FSA accounts
  • IVF grants
  • deducting IVF on your taxes!
  • and other tips!

Other options to look into are specific clinic offers. Some fertility clinics offer treatment packages at a discount for patients that meet certain medical criteria.

IVF medications can be a large part of your cost, so make sure to apply to discount fertility medication programs. Programs like these usually give tiered discounts based on your income level.

Check out fertility clinics near you


It's important to look at success rates when choosing which clinic to work with, as a clinic that has higher success rates for your age range will likely be the least costly option when trying to conceive.

Make sure to do some research before choosing which clinic to go to.

Our fertility clinic directory tracks the IVF success rates & doctor information for hundreds of clinics across the US.

Take a look at your options to find the best fit for you!

🕵️‍♀️ Looking for a fertility clinic? Find fertility clinics near you to compare options in your area & learn more about each provider & see their IVF success rates.