Older IVF patients may end up spending more on fertility treatments

People seeking treatments to have a child through assisted reproductive technologies and in particular IVF (in vitro fertilization) can end up spending a lot more money than they initially anticipated, to achieve their dream of becoming parents. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) the average cost of one IVF cycle in the US is $12,400. In Canada, the per cycle cost ranges from $7,750 to $12,250. The results of a recent study presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the ASRM explain how the financial costs of IVF are dependent on the age of the female patient. Specifically, because fertility declines with age, with sharp declines from age 37 onward, the financial costs of IVF are estimated to be higher for women in their late 30s and 40s, who are more likely to have to go through several cycles of IVF to achieve a viable pregnancy. 

Researchers analyzed 49, 530 IVF cycles from 21, 155 patients treated at a fertility clinic located in Boston between January 1995 and December 2011. The results suggest that as the age of the female patient increased, so too did the financial cost of achieving the same success rate as a younger IVF patient. For example, in this study, a patient under 30 years of age, spending $12,000 on two IVF cycles had a 32% chance of having a live birth. For patients between 35 and 40 years of age, the chances of having a live birth decreased to 25%, and for patients in their 40s, chances of a pregnancy and live birth decrease to only 13%. The findings indicate that on average, the older IVF patients ended up spending more money to have a child. 

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for couples to go into debt in their pursuit of parenthood. For example, a Canadian couple in their 40s estimate they’ve spent $45,000 on fertility treatments. Fortunately, their last IVF treatment was successful. Says Phillipa, “We considered it an important decision to go into debt now to achieve our dream of having a family rather than having money later in life and the regret of not having a family.” Similarly, 41 year old Samantha Brick and her husband Pasqual, who reside in France, have been trying unsuccessfully for 5 years to have a child. After spending “thousands and thousands of pounds” on fertility treatments, the couple’s Christmas present to each other this year was another round of IVF.  

The couples discussed above are in the fortunate position of having the financial resources to pursue fertility treatments like IVF. However, many other infertile individuals and couples cannot afford the expense of fertility treatments, or may be faced with having to agree to donate some of their eggs or embryos to other couples, to reduce the cost of their own IVF treatments. Even those who have the financial resources to go through IVF must eventually set a limit on how much money they are willing and able to spend on fertility treatments – which can be a very difficult decision to make for those who desperately want to have children. 

To read more about Phillipa and Marvin’s experience, click here: 

Fertility treatments leave couple with huge debt [Financial Post] 

To read more about Samantha Brick’s story, click here.  

To read more about the cost of fertility treatments in Canada, click here.


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