Fertility clinic pricing can be a challenge to understand. There are many different treatment options and clinics display the costs of fertility treatments in different ways. It can be a complex exercise for patients to easily compare the costs of treatments between clinics.
Some clinics favour an itemised pricing structure charging patients for each element, whereas other clinics prefer to group all the essential treatment costs together into a package. It can be difficult to separate the different elements out when looking at treatment costs and choosing a clinic.
Total Fertility publishes the prices for the treatments commonly undertaken at clinics. Where possible we attempt to highlight the different elements that are required and the costs of these in each clinic. Some fertility clinic price lists are very transparent and some are less easy to follow.
Total Fertility helps decipher treatment costs to make comparison and choosing clinics based on treatment costs easier. There is a real difference in prices across the UK and Europe when considering where to have your treatment.
We breakdown the various elements involved in an IVF cycle, to help you understand the typical costs to consider.
Initial Assessment – (£150 – £500)
Typically an initial fertility assessment starts with a consultation with a fertility doctor or specialist nurse. An initial consultation with a fertility specialist will focus on the underlying cause for your fertility difficulties and identify any additional investigations required to plan the next steps or recommend treatment.
A full fertility assessment usually involves the consultation with a fertility specialist, several fertility blood tests including an Anti-Mullerian Hormone blood level (AMH), a transvaginal pelvic ultrasound scan and a semen analysis.
It is often better to have all the necessary blood test results available before the consultation to maximise the usefulness of this appointment. Some clinics offer an all-inclusive couples fertility assessment package price while some clinics charge you for each of these items.
Until this assessment has been completed it is hard to predict your exact requirements for treatment.
IVF Treatment Cycle – (IVF £2750 – £4750 , ICSI £3000 – £5550)
A fertility specialist may recommend that you undertake IVF treatment to get pregnant. This can be a daunting time for couples having to understand and take in a lot of new information quickly as you venture into unfamiliar territory. We have tried to breakdown the basic elements of an IVF cycle to help you understand the costs better when starting IVF treatment.
HFEA Fee – (£80)
All IVF treatment cycles have to be registered with the fertility regulator. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) charge a fee of £80 for this process and clinics will either include this in your total package costs or charge you separately for this.
HFEA Mandatory Blood Screening
It is a mandatory requirement for individuals or couples undertaking IVF treatments to have their blood screened for infection in the 3 months before starting treatment. Some clinics include these as a part of the IVF package costs but some charge separately. The mandatory bloods required are:
o HIV 1/2
o Hepatitis B
o Hepatitis C
Ultrasound and Blood Monitoring
During the different phases of an IVF treatment cycle you will require blood tests and ultrasound scans to monitor and track progress. These costs are usually included in the main treatment price, but it is important to check as additional costs can all add up.
Most clinics include the costs of sedation in their fertility package costs but some don’t. When you undergo the egg collection part of an IVF cycle you will need to be sedated and that usually requires an anaesthetist and so an additional cost is involved.
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)
Different techniques are used to fertilise the eggs collected. If there are no concerns with sperm quality then it should be fine to attempt a standard IVF cycle with insemination of the eggs. Insemination involves placing a fixed concentration of sperm with each egg to allow the sperm to naturally fertilise the egg. If there are concerns about the sperm or maybe previous fertilisation issues then some clinics will use Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
ICSI is an injection technique that has transformed the success of assisted conception treatment. If there are concerns regarding the quality of sperm then this technique directly injects a single sperm into the cytoplasm (jelly like centre) of the egg. This then should help fertilisation to occur.
Once the eggs have been collected and mixed with the sperm they are incubated and hopefully will fertilise. As the fertilised egg divides and then cleaves and the cells continue to divide in most cases they will be kept for up to 5 days until the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage. Blastocyst culture involves culturing the embryos until they reach a blastocyst stage and are ready for transfer.
Time-lapse Embryo Imaging
This is a closed incubator system that takes photographs of the embryo at regular intervals as it divides and develops. The morphological changes that occur in the embryo are carefully mapped and this is called time-lapse. This technique may help the embryologists decide which embryo is more likely to be successful when deciding to transfer the best embryo, but also it may help select which embryos are suitable to freeze.
Embryo Freezing and Storage – (£150 – £935)
An important consideration in IVF treatment is the possibility that embryos may be frozen as part of the IVF cycle. If multiple good quality embryos are created, then it may be recommended that you freeze surplus good quality embryos. Always plan ahead for this and prepare to freeze your embryos if required, as this cost can add to your overall spend and is not insignificant. Most clinics charge a fee to freeze the embryos and storage, followed by an annual fee to keep embryos frozen.
IVF Medication – (£800-2000)
The medication used in an IVF cycle is a significant variable that will affect your overall costs in a clinic. Traditionally patients that are found to have a low ovarian reserve (low AMH blood level) will be predicted to be poor responders, so will usually require much higher doses of stimulation medication to encourage their eggs to grow. This is still the case in most clinics in the UK. Equally if your ovarian reserve is very high (high AMH blood level) then a lower stimulation medication dose is used, so costs are lower for these patients.
The IVF medication costs are in addition to the treatment costs outlined above, so you must consider this as costs do vary across clinics, and some IVF clinics charge much higher prices for medication than others. The costs of IVF medication in general though should add an extra £1000-2000 to your treatment spend.
The use of IVF medication has become even more confusing though as this traditional approach to IVF stimulation medication is changing.
Some IVF clinics may offer a gentler approach with ‘Mild’ IVF treatment cycles available to patients, using much lower doses of stimulation medication. This may seem an attractive option as it will often mean spending less money on IVF drugs. However, it is important to discuss with your specialist how this milder approach might affect your final egg yield and success rates, which may be reduced compared to more traditional stimulation protocols.
IVF clinics nowadays also offer ‘Natural’ IVF which in its purest form is essentially IVF without using any stimulation drugs at all. This must be carefully considered as some patients may be better suited to a traditional approach. The milder and natural treatment cycles can be used specifically for certain types of patients but also can impact on success rates so always discuss this with your specialist.
Surgical Sperm Recovery – (£900 – £2500)
Some patients for different reasons will need an operation to recover sperm. Men that have a blockage in the tubes that connects the testicles to the penis or perhaps have had a vasectomy in the past may need this operation. A sperm test will reveal if there is sperm in your ejaculate. A specialist will advise you if sperm is absent (azoospermia) and guide you as to the probability of recovering your sperm surgically. A surgical sperm recovery technique involves a sedation or anaesthetic to allow small needles to pierce different areas of the testicle to collect live sperm, which may then be frozen or used immediately. Prices vary so do check if your anaesthetic fees or freezing costs are included.
The prices illustrated here provide an estimate of the range of costs you will find while searching different clinics listed on Total Fertility.