Finance

The Cost of IVF in 2021

We looked at the largest networks of fertility clinics in the United States for the average costs and also included the extra fees that are usually not included in the IVF cycle charge to give you the most comprehensive look at what you’re likely to pay for in vitro fertilization and a frozen embryo transfer. Here's what we found out.
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 does have their own rates which is part of the reason you usually see average or ranges and the cost of IVF medications, which can be pretty pricey, does depend on your body's unique response and the brand as well.

But there are some pretty good averages from the literature we can work with to give you an idea.

Cost of IVF and ICSI in the U.S. for 2021


The average costs of IVF and ICSI cycles were gathered for a cost-benefit analysis done on IVF cycles using different fertilization methods in a study published in 2013

The study gave average costs for IVF cycles where conventional insemination was done and then IVF cycles using ICSI. We took a look at these numbers and adjusted the average cost for inflation.

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

To make sure these numbers were in keeping with fertility clinics in 2021, we checked IVF estimates provided by a large fertility clinic network with multiple locations across the U.S. on their site. 

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

However, be warned that this amount usually covers the standard procedures billed by a clinic for an IVF cycle but often does not include costs that are billed outside the clinic by labs, pharmacies, and ancillary providers as well as some clinic costs that are considered ‘add-ons’ to an IVF cycle that some patients opt for.

What’s typically not included in that IVF cost?


Great question!

These cost averages given by clinics often do not include expenses such as:
  • IVF medications
  • Anesthesia for the egg retrieval
  • Donor sperm (if applicable)
  • Embryo Biopsy
  • Preimplantation Genetic Testing Fees (PGT-A/PGS)
  • Egg/Embryo storage
  • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycle
  • Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) medications

These procedures and medications listed above are usually going to be part of a patient's IVF treatment plan, so it’s important to be aware of these added expenses when estimating your total cost.

So let’s take a look at each of these expenses.

IVF Medication costs


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 for a cycle of in vitro fertilization are notoriously expensive and can run you $5k-$7k for a single 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.

Patients on average take IVF medications for 8-12 days, so we’ll use 10 days in this example, just as the UCSF calendar does.

Example IVF medication pricing for an average cycle:
  • Gonal-F RFF Pen for 10 days (125-225 per day, 1500 IU total), x1 pen 900 IU + x2 pens 300 IU, $2,505.10+$1,672.87=$4,177.97
  • Menopur for 10 days (150 IU per day), 20 vials, $1,658.00
  • Ganirelix Acetate for 5 days (250 mcg per day), 5 syringes, $315.15
  • hCG trigger shot once (10,000 IU), 1 vial, $108.93

Total cost of IVF medications for 10-day stimulation = $6,260.05
 
This treatment example given by UCSF indicated a dual-trigger of hCG and Lupron, however, not all patients have this type of protocol. As it’s generally more common at this time for patients to trigger with just hCG, we didn’t include Lupron in the cost breakdown. You can add it for your own calculations if you’re interested to see the difference!

We used the lowest cost prices found for each medication brand 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.

If you ‘stim’ for more than 10 days, your cost will be higher.

If you take stimulation medications for fewer days, your cost may be lower. However, clinics are usually guesstimating how your body will respond if you’re a first-time IVF patient and may over-order just in case.

Anesthesia


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

This cost 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 egg retrieval (1, 2) - $350-$750

This estimate encompasses estimates from 2 large U.S. fertility clinic networks spanning 42 locations and 20 clinic locations respectively.

This cost may not apply to you if you have medical insurance. 

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

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

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.

Costs for preimplantation genetic testing of your embryos


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), which 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.

Cost of embryo freezing & 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.

Cost of a 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 to afford fertility treatments like IVF and egg freezing


Employee Infertility Benefits


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.
 

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.

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. 

Of employers that offer IVF coverage, 60% offered coverage with a lifetime maximum, which means there is a specific $ amount or a number of cycles that will be covered for an individual and after that amount, they’d have to pay for further treatment themselves.

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

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.

No infertility coverage?


Check out our article on other ways to use your employee benefits to help cover the costs of infertility treatment.

  • your HSA and FSA to pay for a portion of your treatment
  • applying for IVF grants
  • deducting IVF on your taxes!

Other options to look into are specific clinic offers, as some provide treatment packages at a discount and discount fertility medication programs where individuals can get medications discounts based on their income level.

🕵️‍♀️ 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.

Check out fertility clinic options in your area


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

Shop around clinics in your area to find the best fit for you!