How much does IVF cost?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure in which a retrieved egg is fertilized with sperm in a lab and then transferred to the uterus as an embryo. An individual or couple may consider IVF if they have not been able to get pregnant through intercourse or other fertility treatments. Others pursue IVF to avoid passing on a genetic disorder or to preserve their fertility for the future. In some cases, individuals preserve their fertility because of medical treatments that may impact their fertility. Same-sex couples may also elect to pursue IVF using donor materials. In the U.S., the average cost of one IVF cycle is $21,600. However, people often require multiple rounds of IVF, with the average patient undergoing two to three cycles of IVF in total. That means a person can spend an average of $50,000 on treatments.
Most clinics will provide a base fee for the IVF process, which typically includes monitoring appointments, egg retrieval, laboratory fees for embryo creation, anesthesia, and embryo transfer. On average, this base fee in the U.S. is $9,000–$14,000. This base fee varies, so to get the most accurate IVF cost breakdown, consult your fertility specialist.
IVF cost estimates
Breaking down the costs
Timelines and treatment approaches vary from person to person, but the IVF process follows distinct stages, with certain costs associated with each step.
Consultation and diagnostic testing
Before starting IVF, a fertility specialist will conduct an initial consultation. In addition to a routine physical examination and medical history, this consultation can include diagnostic tests, such as blood work, ultrasounds, and semen analysis. Depending on the specific tests ordered, this can range from $250 to $500.
The goal of ovarian stimulation is to induce the development and maturation of follicles that contain eggs within the ovary. During ovarian stimulation, an individual will take injectable medications so multiple eggs can develop. In some instances, as many as 15 eggs can be matured and retrieved. The stimulation phase typically lasts 14 days, with frequent visits to the clinic to measure the growth of the follicles and to monitor hormone levels. These visits are typically included in the $9,000–$14,000 base fee.
Medications and injections
Medication costs are often completely separate from the base IVF fee. Because the medication protocols of IVF are typically personalized to an individual or couple, they can differ in type, duration, and dosage. Costs can range from $3,000 to $7,000. Other factors that impact the cost of medications include the pharmacy where the medications are purchased and insurance coverage.
During an egg retrieval, mature eggs are surgically removed from the ovaries. This process is brief, minimally invasive, and does not require any incisions or stitches. The surgery is usually performed under minor sedation and a provider will insert a needle into the vaginal wall and into each follicle to retrieve the eggs. This procedure is typically included in the $9,000–$14,000 base fee.
A semen sample is typically collected through masturbation. Other methods are available if a person’s culture or religion prohibits this. These methods include using a special condom during intercourse or, in some cases, surgical extraction. If fresh eggs and sperm are being used, a semen sample can be prepared on the same day as the egg retrieval surgery. If frozen sperm is being used, the sample may need to be transported to the clinic in advance. If donor sperm is being used, the sperm needs to be evaluated and processed before being used for IVF.
Donor eggs or sperm
Using donor materials (eggs or sperm) for an IVF cycle can drastically increase the cost of IVF. Donor sperm ranges from $1,00 to $1,500 per vial. On the other hand, the cost of donor eggs depends on a number of factors, including whether fresh or frozen eggs will be used, where the eggs are being obtained (cryobank or agency), and if the eggs are from a known donor. On average, donor eggs and their associated fees can cost $35,000–$60,000. This price varies significantly because, in the U.S., donors are typically compensated for their donation.
The fertilization process in IVF aims to mimic natural fertilization by combining eggs and sperm in a controlled laboratory environment to facilitate embryo development. A specialist will fertilize the egg by placing it in a petri dish surrounded by droplets of sperm. This method of fertilization is known as conventional insemination, which is included in the IVF base fee. However, some patients may need to use another method of fertilization called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), in which a single sperm is injected directly into the egg. ICSI can help bypass sperm problems like low sperm movement and count. This alternative technique of fertilization can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000.
An embryo is generally transferred to the uterus after 2–3 days (cleavage-stage embryos) or 5–6 days (blastocysts) of development. During an embryo transfer, an embryo is placed in a uterus using a fine, soft tube (catheter). Fertility specialists recommend transferring a single embryo during a cycle to prevent multiple pregnancies, which are associated with higher medical costs and poorer health outcomes. The cost of an embryo transfer is included in the base fee. However, the cost of transferring a frozen embryo can be up to an additional $6,400 for the thawing of the embryo and visits to the clinic for monitoring. In addition, there may be other medications required.
Luteal support in IVF refers to the administration of hormonal supplements to support the development and maintenance of the uterine lining after an embryo transfer. It is an essential component of the IVF treatment protocol and aims to improve the chances of successful embryo implantation and ongoing pregnancy. The additional costs of these supplements can increase the overall cost of IVF by around $3,000.
Cryopreservation and storage fees
The cost of freezing embryos ranges from $1,000 to $2,000, with additional storage fees of $500–$1,000 a year.
Additional IVF procedures
An individual or couple may undergo other procedures based on their health history and goals, adding to the cost of IVF. These procedures typically occur before the embryo transfer and include the following:
- Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A: $4,500–5,500): PGT-A is a procedure used to screen embryos for abnormalities before implanting the embryo into the uterus. This can help providers select embryos that have the best chance of becoming a healthy baby, improving cycle outcomes and lowering the risk of early pregnancy loss in some populations.
- Endometrial receptivity analysis (ERA: $800–$1,000): ERA is a genetic test that takes a sample of the endometrial lining (uterine lining) to determine the most optimal day to transfer the embryo. This is a common procedure if an individual has had previously failed embryo transfers or has a limited number of embryos.
- Endometrial scratch ($100–$300): In an endometrial scratch, the endometrium (uterine lining) is “scratched” through a procedure similar to an endometrial biopsy before an embryo transfer cycle to improve implantation rates.
Not all of these treatments are well researched and supported by robust evidence. Because of the lack of research, insurance may not cover these procedures.
Other factors that affect cost
On a clinical level, the IVF process can vary, depending on the medications used and the additional services and support needed. But on a macro level, the larger healthcare infrastructure has an even bigger role in the variable costs of IVF. This includes where you work, where you live, and your insurance coverage.
Interested in learning more about fertility benefits in your workplace?
Depending on the state or city where the treatment is taking place, the cost of IVF can vary significantly. For example, an IVF cycle may be more expensive in cities with a high cost of living, which translates to high operational costs for medical facilities. Operational costs include rent, utilities, and staff salaries. The demand for fertility treatments and the supply of clinics can also vary from location to location, influencing the availability and price of IVF. For example, the total average cost of IVF in San Francisco is $24,749, and the average cost of IVF in New Jersey is $22,999. Local regulations and policies can also affect the cost of IVF.
Clinic reputation and success rates
Reputable clinics with high success rates may charge more for their services. Because success rates and clinic reputation are important criteria for choosing a clinic, this can drive up the demand for treatments and consequently increase their price.
Insurance coverage for IVF
As of June 2023, 21 states have passed fertility insurance coverage laws. While mandated coverage is becoming more common, there are still gaps and limitations in coverage.
Coverage limitations and exclusions
Many state mandates only provide coverage if certain medical criteria are met, such as the duration of infertility and the number of unsuccessful attempts at getting pregnant. Other mandates include a maximum number of IVF cycles that can be covered by insurance. Some have age restrictions where insurance coverage only applies within a certain age group, usually under 45 or 50. Another common limitation of state-mandated coverage includes a waiting period between treatments and services. This period ranges from a couple of months to more than a year.
Financial assistance programs
There are several financial assistance programs available to help those pursuing IVF. Some are through private grants and foundations, while others are government funded. For example, the state of New York provides a total of $1 million each year to those who earn less than $195,000 and are good candidates for IVF. Clinics receive these funds and can then subsidize costs for certain patients.
Employer-sponsored fertility benefits can fill in the gaps in coverage and help people pay for care and services. With a comprehensive and inclusive fertility platform like Carrot, employees can receive personalized support and education to navigate the costs and complexities of IVF and other family-forming journeys. With Carrot, members going through IVF can do the following:
- Receive employer-sponsored funds to alleviate the financial burden of IVF
- Speak with fertility experts and care navigators who are available to answer questions and help navigate options and costs
- Receive single-embryo-transfer education that provides step-by-step guidance on the process and importance of a single embryo transfer
- Get support for all fertility and family-forming journeys, including gestational surrogacy, donor-assisted reproduction, adoption, and more