IVF Discriminates Against Poor Couples

One of the hardest decision most people have to make when they are deciding which fertility treatments to pursue is the staggering cost. An average IVF cycle costs $12,400 or more, depending on where you live ad how involved the process is for your specific diagnosis. And most people need more than one to actually get pregnant and have a baby. Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is less expensive but even with that, injectible fertility drugs to induce ovulation run upwards of $1,000 per month and the procedure itself costs about $300 along with all the ultrasounds and such that goes along with the procedure.

And of course, almost none of this is covered by insurance in most states. I was lucky to even have my IUIs half covered, and got off easy because I only needed Clomid, a relatively inexpensive pill.


Most people don't have that kind of cash just laying around, but options do exist for paying for it ... home equity, if you're the rare person in this economy that actually has any; borrowing from family at an interest rate higher than they would get with a CD but still less than a credit card or bank loan; or moving any investments you might have into a more liquid form.

The real issue here, though, is that 30-plus years after IVF became common (and longer than that for IUIs and injectible drugs), it's insane that we're still looking at several thousand dollars for these procedures. Where are the generic fertility drugs? Where are the simplified procedures or efficiencies of scale? Why is IVF in the US as much as four times more expensive than it is in other countries? Why is this not covered by insurance? It's completely and utterly unfair ... and it needs to change.

One ethicist in the Newsweek story actually says that making IVF cheaper would lead to the "commoditization" of babies. In fact, it's the other way around. By making IVF almost inaccessible to middle and lower income people, it's treating babies like a Coach bag, a luxury the well-off can afford and the rest of us can only dream of. And when it comes to something as emotional as building a family, that's just wrong.

What do you think?


Image via Daniel Borman(borman818)/Flickr

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