When it comes to the dollars and cents of infertility, the price to become a parent can add up faster than you can say intrauterine insemination. How much do treatments cost? What’s covered by the government and health plans? And who do the masses believe should pay for a person to have their own child?
We partnered with EMD Inc. (a company that provides drug therapies that focus on the medical needs in fertility, endocrinology and neurodegenerative diseases) earlier this year to poll our readers on the issues surrounding infertility, and the costs associated with the medical condition was a popular topic. Here are some of the most common and surprising things readers reported on the financial side of a diagnosis of infertility. *Unless noted, the percentages refer to all respondents of the survey — those who have used fertility treatments, and those who haven’t.
84%: say the cost associated with fertility treatments is too high
61%: say there’s too little coverage offered from medical plans
44%: say there’s a lack of financial support from the government (57% of people who have used fertility treatments believe this to be true)
69%: say governments should provide tax breaks/rebates to people who are undertaking fertility treatments
68%: say governments should provide financial assistance for fertility treatments
21%: believe most people who want to undertake fertility treatments can afford to pay for it out of pocket
66%: of people currently using fertility treatments/used treatments in the past/currently undergoing fertility screening paid for their treatments using their savings or out of pocket
38%: paid for fertility treatments using the coverage offered by their medical plans
11%: paid for fertility treatments using government assistance
11%: paid for fertility treatments by using their line of credit
5%: paid for fertility treatments with help from friends and family
1%: paid for fertility treatments by taking a second mortgage/refinancing their homes
90%: believe fertility treatments are too expensive for the average family
52%: say treatments should be covered by both government coverage (tax breaks included), and by people undergoing the treatment
17%: say employee medical plans should cover the majority of fertility treatment costs
15%: say provincial governments should cover the majority of fertility treatment costs
15%: say people who want to undergo fertility treatments should be responsible for the costs themselves
1%: say their employee medical plan provides full coverage of fertility treatments and testing
9%: say their employee medical plan provides partial coverage of fertility treatments and testing
29%: say their employee medical plan does not provide coverage of fertility treatments or testing
Read more: An in-depth look at infertility>
What you told us: - “My husband and I spent six years and thousands of dollars trying to conceive. I know of other couples who have spent a lot more.” - “Some people just don't want to go through the expense to again be disappointed by not being able to conceive.” - “Fertility treatments usually require multiple attempts. Reaching your limit on your health coverage plan is often achieved very early on after one or two attempts. After that, most costs out of pocket.” - “It’s bloody expensive and unfair that I can be covered if I lived in Quebec but not in Ontario or most other provinces across the country.” - “There needs to be something better then a small medical tax benefit for these treatments; it is a medical problem that should have better coverage. Maybe then there would be fewer multiple births that cost the healthcare system even more money.” - “We spent about $12,000 total. Forty percent was reimbursed with our income-tax return. The return was the only way to make it feasible for us. We renegotiated the mortgage on our house and took out a line of credit to make it work for us.” - “Fertility treatments are incredibly expensive. I would agree that it’s almost impossible for an average couple to be able to afford IVF.” - “My husband and I both work and have a pretty decent income or we would not have been able to complete the treatments and would not have the wonderful son that we now have.” - “We used our credit cards, which can add up – especially with costs for frozen sperm storage each year.” - “England covers the first round of IVF for everyone. I think that is very fair. Then there should also be a significant tax break for couples wanting to try again, at least up to a total of three times.” - “Fertility is not a life or death issue. Having children is an option and may not be available to all people. Having struggled with this ourselves, and not being able to afford costly treatments, we understood that we might not have a traditional family and had to deal with that. Not everyone can or should be parents, and if you choose to put off child-bearing to a point later in life, or have other fertility issues, you may have face the hard truth that you will not have a traditional family. Having children is not a right that should be financed by the taxpayers.” - “Fertility treatment is an elective procedure and should not be covered by public funds. If people cannot afford the treatment, then they probably cannot afford children — kids are expensive to raise!” - “I cannot imagine the pain of wanting to have children and not being able to; however, at a time when our healthcare is already severely stressed, is this really a good idea?” - “I struggle with this question, because, while I would like there to be a small subsidy, I really think that people should consider adoption as a viable option. When we were struggling to conceive baby No. 2, we actually started the adoption process. We couldn't afford extensive fertility treatments and knew there were kids out there who needed a home. So I really think people should consider adoption instead of exhausting all financial resources, including their own. Adoption costs money but then you are almost guaranteed a child at the end.” - “If you wait until you are 40 to have kids because of your career, then you can pay for your own treatment.”
Read more: Why I froze my eggs at age 24>
What does it cost? The cost of treatment depends on the doctor, clinic and location. These are the average rates from fertility clinics across the country.
- Fertility drugs (Clomid, Serophene, Milophene): from $8 to $20 per pill - Surgery (removing endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids or fixing blocked fallopian tubes): covered by your province’s ministry of health - In vitro fertilization (IVF): about $5,500 to $9,000 (Check your provincial ministry of health to find out if any costs are covered.) - Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): about $700 to $1,500 - Sperm wash: about $500 to $850 - Frozen embryo transfer: about $1,200; frozen embryo transfer with gestational carrier: about $1,900 - Donor insemination and artificial insemination: Frozen sperm costs about $400 to $600 (Note: It is illegal to pay a man for his sperm in Canada); counselling at fertility clinic prior to treatment: about $200 to $250; semen preparation: about $200; semen storage: yearly fee
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