When growing your family, fertility is an LGBT issue. Here’s some great advice.
For hopeful moms-to-be looking to grow their family with the assistance of fertility treatment, the costs associated can feel overwhelming. If you live in one of the 19 states that mandate fertility coverage and meet the state’s required definition of “infertility,” the costs can become much more manageable.
However, that coverage is much more difficult (and sometimes impossible) to access if you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community – because unfortunately, many LGBTQ+ same sex female couples don’t meet the standard definition of infertility.
If you live in a state that doesn’t provide extended coverage, many insurance policies will cover some testing or medications if you have met your annual deductible and certain requirements. If you’re paying out-of-pocket, it’s important to understand the investment you might have to make in order to complete your treatment. Thankfully, there are grants, scholarships and loans available to help offset those costs.
When seeking help growing your family, it’s difficult to pinpoint a precise cost for your particular treatment until you and your partner, if applicable, have both undergone a complete assessment. This can include confirmation of ovulation and/or an examination of reproductive organs if you are planning to carry or biologically participate in a pregnancy. Afterward, your fertility specialist, or Reproductive Endocrinologist (REI), can determine a treatment path to help you achieve your family-building goals, which helps narrow the scope of your estimated costs.
Let’s break down some of the most common fertility treatment options for LGBTQ+ moms-to-be, and talk about the average associated costs of each.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
What is IUI?
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a process used to place sperm into a woman’s reproductive tract. The procedure involves concentrating semen into a small volume and placing it into the uterus to increase your chances of conceiving.
How much does IUI cost?
The estimated procedure costs for one IUI cycle are $800-$1500, not including medications. Medication costs can range from $30-$130 for oral medication and $3000-$5500 for injectable medication. If you do not have fertility insurance coverage, the total out-of-pocket cost can be between $830 – $7,000.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization, or IVF, has the highest success rate of any fertility treatment. It is also the most costly because of the laboratory techniques and procedures used to assist in fertilizing eggs in the lab and transfer an embryo into the uterus. If you meet requirements and reside in a state that mandates fertility health coverage or are provided any benefits through your insurer or employer, your costs could be substantially lower than the out-of-pocket costs listed below.
How much does IVF cost?
The average cost of an IVF cycle can be around $15,000, but that does not include the price of medications, which typically run between $3,000 – $8,000. This also does not include the cost of donor sperm, which usually run between $500 to $1500 per attempt.
Other expenses may arise within an IVF cycle due to your particular diagnosis or health history. For instance, genetic testing is often used to reduce the likelihood of a miscarriage or a chromosomal abnormality. There is also a practice called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, where a single sperm is manually inserted into an egg to increase the likelihood of fertilization.
Here is a breakdown of some common fees associated with IVF:
- Consultation = $300 – $750
- Bloodwork & ultrasound (monitoring) = $2,000 – $3,500
- Egg retrieval = $2,000 – $3,000
- Anesthesia = $350 to $750
- Laboratory fees = $2,000 – $6,000
- ICSI = $2,100 – $2,400
- Preimplantation Genetic Testing = $1,500 – $5,000
- Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) = $1,500 – $6,000
- Medications = $3,000 – $8,000
- Embryo/Egg Storage = $600 to $1,000/year
What is Reciprocal IVF?
In a reciprocal IVF cycle, one partner’s eggs are used to create embryos, and then the other partner carries the pregnancy and delivers the child. For same-sex female couples, this is a way that both partners can contribute to the family building process uniquely. The first partner will take fertility medication to produce multiple eggs, and undergo the egg retrieval. Only this partner will be genetically linked to the future child.
What is INVOcell?
INVOcell is an innovative fertility treatment technology that allows both partners to participate in the creation of their child, if they so choose. The first stage of INVOcell is similar to a traditional IVF cycle: one partner will begin taking medication to stimulate their ovaries to produce eggs, and then have an egg retrieval. After the egg retrieval, Partner A’s eggs are placed into the inner cylinder of the INVOcell culture device with donor sperm. The INVOcell device is then placed into Partner A to incubate for the next five days.
After five days, the partner carrying the INVOcell device returns to their fertility clinic, and the INVOcell device is removed. Any growing embryos are carefully removed in the lab. One is selected and transferred into the uterus of the partner who wants to carry the pregnancy and deliver the baby. An incredible option for many same-sex female couples who want to be more involved in the process!
Affording Fertility Treatment
If your health insurance doesn’t cover fertility insurance, or at least not all of it, these prices can be difficult to pay out-of-pocket. In addition to using cash or credit cards to pay, you have other options available to you. Please know that there are fertility advocates fighting hard to make treatment more accessible for all and covered through insurance.
From innovative devices to cutting-edge technology, there is more hope for those who wish to grow their families than ever before. This treatment cost list (along with your insurance and physical evaluation) should help you understand your fertility investment and what lies ahead.