Medical Tourism: The Cost of International IVF
If you are frustrated by the high costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF), you may have considered traveling out of the U.S. for fertility treatments. You may simply want to save money on the cost of IVF. But how much can you really save if you choose to seek IVF outside of the U.S.?
It is difficult to find credible resources explaining what to expect when choosing fertility treatments outside of the U.S. (known as international medical tourism). Perhaps there is a reason for that. We decided to pull the best information we could find to explain what to expect when choosing international IVF.
Cost of IVF internationally
If you are interested in international IVF, it may be difficult to find answers to your questions online. You may have to do the research yourself and contact a number of fertility clinics in other countries. One website, Global IVF, does share information about different costs of IVF cycles performed internationally in 2008. According to the website, these prices below represent the cost of international IVF including all fees paid for one cycle of IVF and fertility drugs, but these prices do not include the price of travel.
- $10,000 Hong Kong
- $7,200 Canada
- $5,200 – 7,000 Australia
- $3,700 Hungary
- $3,000 South Africa and Turkey
Compare these prices to the cost of IVF in the U.S. that can range from $10,000 to $18,000. Indeed, international IVF does seem to be less expensive. However, when comparing the cost of IVF abroad vs. IVF in the U.S., you will need to factor in any travel expenses that you will be paying. It could cost you up to several thousand dollars for flights and hotel fees for each person that goes abroad.
Cost of IVF with ICSI abroad
We looked for personal stories from women who traveled abroad for IVF. Women reported spending from $9000 to $11,000 for international IVF treatment. These prices include the cost of all fees associated with IVF including intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and fertility drugs. These prices also include the travel costs for one to two people. While these lower prices may seem appealing, be aware that it may take you several trips abroad and several IVF cycles before you take home a baby.
Learn more about the risks and complications you may face with international IVF
Before you make an appointment for IVF outside of the U.S., consider the following:
- Prices in the U.S. are often higher due to high regulations and standards required to practice medicine in the U.S.
- Higher fees in the U.S. are partly due to special services provided at fertility clinics, including patient education services, infertility counseling and support, specialized nursing and lab staff, and other clinic resources.
- U.S. clinics may also charge more due to amenities offered, including therapists to guide you through the emotional stress of IVF, and nutritionists that can personalize a fertility diet plan for you to help you achieve a healthy fertility weight.
It may help to ask yourself: would you rather choose the lower stress option of staying close to home and working with local experts, or would you rather save a little bit of money and take on the stress of international travel?
Insurance and international IVF
Since international medical tourism is becoming more common, some of the nation's biggest insurance providers are starting to cover fertility treatments at specific clinics outside of the U.S. If you are considering medical tourism for IVF, find out which insurance companies have relationships with international providers.
We encourage you to take your time to carefully research the pros and cons of choosing to travel abroad for IVF. Here are some final points to consider:
- You may think you are saving money, but what about the increased stress of travel before an IVF cycle?
- What will you do if your first international IVF cycle fails? Will you travel back to the same clinic or try a new one?
- Will the international clinic freeze any remaining embryos for you for a future IVF cycle? How will those embryos be stored?
- What safeguards does the clinic have in place for embryo and patient identification?
- How will you pay for hospitalization and medical services if unforeseen health problems or complications arise?
- How long will you stay abroad after the embryo transfer? In vitro fertilization complications can occur weeks or months after the transfer.
These are all important questions to ask yourself before embarking on an international IVF journey. Understand what you are getting into when traveling for medical services.
The infertility journey can be expensive, stressful, and emotionally challenging. Attain Fertility offers support to help you get through.
Reviewed 2012 by Dr. Drew Moffitt with Arizona Reproductive Medicine SpecialistsSources