IVF can be costly – financially and emotionally
In Vitro Fertilization: Be Prepared to Go All In
For many couples, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the last resort in conceiving a child. If you’re standing on IVF’s doorstep, you’ve probably got a long list of questions and concerns. For most women it boils down to one thing: Will I be able to have a baby? Advertising Policy Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit … Read More
For many couples, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the last resort in conceiving a child. If you’re standing on IVF’s doorstep, you’ve probably got a long list of questions and concerns. For most women it boils down to one thing: Will I be able to have a baby?
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That’s the one question modern medicine can’t answer.
“The biggest treatment we have — the top of the line, so to speak, — is IVF, at least for the foreseeable future,” says OB/GYN Rebecca Flyckt, MD, a fertility specialist at Cleveland Clinic.
IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) with a higher fertility rate than other treatments, says Dr. Flyckt. Depending on the woman’s age, the likelihood that she will deliver a baby through the IVF process averages from about 31 to 41 percent and can be as high as 65 percent.
An intense process
If you decide to use IVF, be prepared to go all in. The course of treatments is time-consuming and costly.
“I tell patients that this process is like having a part-time job,” Dr. Flyckt says. “It’s very different than taking a fertility pill.”
Nicole Herbst, 40, knows this firsthand.
“When my husband, Rob, and I started IVF, they had to take control of my whole menstrual cycle, stop me from ovulating and stimulate my follicles to produce more eggs,” she says. “Rob gave me injections in my abdomen — four a day. He was such a good nurse!”
What you can expect
Dr. Flyckt breaks the IVF procedure into phases:
Be prepared to make several decisions on embryo transfer day. These include how many embryo(s) to transfer into your uterus — Cleveland Clinic follows the American Society of Reproductive Medicine guidelines — and what to do with any remaining embryos, which can be frozen.
“Embryo transfer day is a happy day for the couple,” Dr. Flyckt says. “The procedure is done in the procedure room using a soft catheter inserted into the uterus to gently ‘push’ an embryo or embryos in. You’re awake as this happens and are able to watch the procedure on a monitor. Afterwards, you’ll rest for a few minutes and then be sent home with instructions.”
Weighing the costs
Herbst and her husband, Rob, went through two IVF procedures. Their first IVF failed.
[Tweet “In vitro fertilization success requires commitment and finances to stay on course. #infertility”]“It’s important to take care of yourself through this process and seek what support is available to you financially and emotionally,” Herbst says. “During our first IVF, I felt pressure and anxiety, which affected my hormone levels.”
When they started the second IVF, they questioned whether they could afford to go through with it. The drugs were not covered by insurance.
“We were spending money out of our savings and asking ourselves, ‘Is this worth it in the end?’ You can invest all this money and you might not have a baby in the end,” she says.
The Herbsts’ IVF proceeded to egg harvesting and embryo transfer. Two weeks later they learned Nicole was pregnant!
In March 2014, Nicole delivered a baby girl at Fairview Hospital.