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The price of a family
How much would you pay?

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#1 prue~c

Posted 23 December 2010 - 02:14 PM

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to tally up how much it has cost us to become pregnant. IVF is not cheap, but in Australia, we are lucky enough to have a pretty generous Medicare rebate system that significantly lowers the costs. It still hurts, paying thousands for something that most people get for free, but I'm not complaining.

I could live in the US, where it is out of reach for average income earners. Some women in The States have come up with nifty ways of financing their IVF. For example, a wealthier woman who perhaps needs an egg donor, will finance a cycle and any resulting eggs will be split between the donor and recipient.

Maths has never been my forte, so this is at best an estimate, but it's a fair whack of money to most people.

I have costed each procedure, drug and appointment as an up-front, out of pocket payment, then in brackets, the approximate cost once the rebate has been paid. I have also assumed that the $1500 or so that needs to be reached in a calendar year before the Medicare Saftety Net kicks in has already been achieved. Also, theatre fees for egg collection and embryo transfer are considered inpatient procedures. My health care fund picks up the bill for these, but if you have no health insurance, it is an out of pocket fee.

These fees are particular to the clinics and doctors I have seen and are meant as a guide only. They differ between doctors and clinics.

Also most of the drugs used are on the Phamaceutical Benefits Scheme and are available for much, much less than the original cost. An example is the Clexane (blood thinner) I have to inject daily. A pack of 20 injections is about $30 - more than $70 cheaper than if it wasn't on the PBS. There is also a drug called Orgalutran which is used in shorter IVF cycles which made it on to the PBS in 2010. This meant that the drug was costed into the overall price of a cycle, rather that being purchased individually - previously it was up to about $60 per injection.

I also saw a range of complementary therapists, including an osteopath, acupuncturist and massage therapist during my treatments. I left the cost of these off, because it was completely optional and my choice to use them, but the visits had long since stopped by the time I actually became pregnant. But just for kicks, add another $4000 to the final out of pocket costs.

Initial GP appointment - $80
diagnostic internal ultrasound - $260
Initial fertility specialist appointment (FS#1) $220
Blood and semen tests - all bulk billed
HyCosy - Bulk billed
4 rounds Clomid - $25
Secondary semen tests - $90
Initial fertility specialist appointment (FS#2) - $260
Blood and semen tests - all bulk billed
Intra Uterine Insemination #1 - $1810 ($1180)
Intra Uterine Insemination #2 - $1810 ($1180)
Intra Uterine Insemination #3 - $1810 ($1180)
IVF/ICSI#1 - $7450 ($2545)
Theatre and anaesthetist - $1750 ($400)
FET#1 - $2520 ($1270) this cycle was cancelled so actual fees were about $400
FET#2 - $2520 ($1100)
Theatre fee - $1000 ($0)
IVF/ICSI#2 -$7450 ($2040)
Theatre and anaesthetist - $1750 ($400)
FET#3 - $2520 ($1100)
Theatre fee - $1000 ($0)
FET#4 - $2520 ($1100)
Theatre fee - $1000 ($0)
FET Drugs - Puregon, progesterone, pregnyl - $100
FET#5 - $2520 ($1100)
Theatre fee - $1000 ($0)
FET Drugs - Puregon, progesterone, pregnyl - $100
Initial fertility specialist appointment (FS#3) $260
Natural Killer Cells tests - all bulk billed
IVF/ICSI#3 - $7450 ($2040)
Assisted Hatching - $265
Theatre and anaesthetist - $1750 ($400)
Clexane - $30 per month x 10 months = $300
Embryo Storage Fees - $275 per 6 months + $1650

Incidentals (no rebates)
Menevit male vitamins - 36 months @ $70 per 3 months = $840
Blackmore's concieve well gold - 48 months @ $30 per month = $1440
co Enzyme Q10 - 36 months @ $30 per month = $1080
Ovulation prediction tests - $500
Home pregnancy tests - $500

Total up front cost - $55,480

Actual out of pocket cost - $25,035

There also may have been rebates of about $60 for each specialist visit, so I could probably shave a couple of hundred off the final out of pocket, but it's quite confronting seeing that total amount. This was all paid out over a few years though, which obviously takes the sting out of it, but still, it's a decent amount of money. But when you consider it is about a year's school fees for a private school in Sydney, a small car, or two first class tickets to Europe, I think it's a bargain.

Edited by prue~c, 23 December 2010 - 02:15 PM.

#2 TardisAngels

Posted 23 December 2010 - 04:30 PM

Wow! It definitely is a lot of money...we spent about that on our trip to Europe this year and while we only started IVF this year as well (and have only done 2 full stim cycles) I know I would spend that money 2...3...4....10 times over if I was guaranteed a baby at the end (and while I no that no one can guarantee me one right now, I would still be willing to spend all that money trying....that's just how bad I want one). We spend hundreds of thousands to buy a house so why not spend that much of having a baby?!?!

On a side note: Good to see you back Prue original.gif

And Merry Christmas everyone - IVF-ers, TTC'ers, those pregnant and with children and those who have chosen the child-less (but no less happy) life!! biggrin.gif (hope I fitted everyone in there original.gif)

#3 ThatsNotMyName

Posted 25 December 2010 - 01:46 PM

Yep it sure is a hefty outlay.

Merry Christmas Prue, I hope you're doing well  cool.gif

#4 South Coast

Posted 27 December 2010 - 06:08 PM

I am finding the whole TTC thing is financially and emotionally draining and I haven't even gone down the IVF route yet.

In 14 months of TTC i've spent thousands..  only Monday last week I got my first BFP, this was after two weeks of spotting, went to my GP and she was concerned it was ectopic - within the hour I had spent $90 on seeing her and $305 on an ultrasound, just great right before Christmas.!!  sad.gif  Also just to add, I reckon first response should float their company on the ASX, i'd buy shares...$$$$$$$$

#5 Emm27

Posted 27 December 2010 - 06:21 PM

DP and I worked out roughly that having DS and up to now with this pregnancy we are out of pocket about $70,000, and obviously still have the rest of our care and delivery to pay for yet.  I find it easier not to think about it in dribs and drabs, the $1000+ bills that seemed to come in almost weekly at one stage were easier to just chuck in a drawer and then pay the clinic a huge amount in one hit, when we could afford it.

It is unbelievably expensive, but we would've done anything to have our DS.  We sold a house to finance our treatment, and consider ourselves extremely fortunate to be in a position to do that.  Our friends had a child using a surrogate in the US and were out of pocket about 200k, which helps us keep things in perspective too.

And obviously, no amount of money compensates for a child.  I wish it was more affordable for everyone though.

#6 Angel1977

Posted 27 December 2010 - 08:55 PM

I think I prefer the head in the sand approach to AC, it makes me feel sick thinking of how much money is spent. Having said that, its not an option NOT to  original.gif

#7 Passport1

Posted 27 December 2010 - 08:56 PM

Wow it sure adds up.  Lots of people have told me that, all other things being equal, they would choose IVF over intercountry adoption because there's a perception it's cheaper because of the Medicare rebates. But I suspect that's a similar monetary cost to adopting from places like China, Taiwan and Ethiopia (which tend to be some of the more expensive once you factor in the travel costs).  And it's certainly more expensive than the final costs for our current adoption from Thailand.   A real eye-opening post for me, thanks Prue!

Edited by Passport1, 27 December 2010 - 08:57 PM.

#8 ms flib

Posted 27 December 2010 - 09:07 PM

While I certainly sympathise with those having to pay to conceive, I think enumerating the cost of having a baby, child or family is not the point. Having a family is priceless and what's worse than the financial pressures is the emotional stress!

I really feel for people with fertility issues who can't afford IVF or inter country adoption at all.

Anyway it is a lot of money and I hope it's all worth it for you!

#9 ozbilby

Posted 27 December 2010 - 09:15 PM

DH says he is going to give DD a bill on her 21st for her conception costs laugh.gif .

#10 knielly

Posted 27 December 2010 - 09:21 PM

Dear mummy, thank you for having me.

The card that was written by my ILs , from my IVF baby when he was born in the hospital. That card brought many tears to my eyes.

I like that idea about the bill for $10,000 conception costs out of pocket for his 21st birthday. lol.

Edited by knielly, 27 December 2010 - 09:22 PM.

#11 Barefoot

Posted 27 December 2010 - 09:42 PM

DS cost us $38 000.

Totally worth every cent. But we have 5 in the freezer, so hopefully when we average him out with one or two siblings hands.gif it will work out better.

#12 MyTurn

Posted 28 December 2010 - 01:24 AM

You are correct that the cost in Australia seems to be less than in the USA.  I think it works out about $12-15,000 per fresh IVF cycle here on average (however, some states mandate minimum coverage), although some of the private clinics are much more, and cycles involving donor eggs are also much more costly.  I was lucky enough to have $30,000 in insurance coverage, which covered a fresh cycle and one frozen.  I have some insurance coverage remaining, but not much.

#13 cassias

Posted 28 December 2010 - 02:44 AM

So not looking forward to finding the money for this :S  
I know kids are always expensive, and I'm sure it's just me being  bitter, but it makes me so mad that money may end up being the thing  that prevents my husband and I from starting a family.
I was diagnosed with PCOS at 22, 6 months after I got married, and ever since have been trying everything everyone has suggested to me to try and be able and conceive naturally. Not exactly working, but I do not see us being able to afford this any time soon.

#14 LittleRB

Posted 28 December 2010 - 09:46 AM

Yes, it's a very large amount of money to spend but very worth it of course when you consider the end result.

This is one of many reasons I'm finding it hard to justify doing another IVF cycle to conceive a second child. We have a DS after years of trying. How can I spend 10k plus on a child who may or may not exist when that money could be spent on DS, or a holiday or something a hell of a lot more tangible.

#15 mrsmolly

Posted 28 December 2010 - 10:00 AM

Congratulations on your successful IVF.  My husband and I have just completed our 22nd IVF cycle with a BFP (yay!)  We are beyond fortunate to have one child already through IVF, conceived on our 13th cycle.  We're one of "those" couples who need the gift of donor eggs and I thought it worth noting that the Medicare rebate is by no means as generous to donor cycles as it is to non-donor.  A donor cycle at my clinic attracts a $1503 rebate on an upfront cost of $10,900 plus you have to pay for drugs.... (Non donor upfront cost of $4,500, same rebate).

We did a real quick add up to compare with you and this bub will be costing us JUST FOR CLINIC COSTS approximately 9 X $9000 - so $81,000 out of pocket - not counting in this ultrasounds, BT's, specialist visits and all the other out of pocket expenses associated with using donor eggs like transport, accommodation, child care etc- but you know - to quote the Mastercard ad "priceless"  -and if I had to, I would willingly do it again.

So enjoy your "cheap" baby!!  biggrin.gif

#16 paolab

Posted 28 December 2010 - 01:38 PM

Yes as mentioned many times above, what price to you place on a child?. Our first came on our 9th attempt (6IVF/ICSI) then (1 IUI, and then 2 Donor IUI) and so our out of pocket was over $50K still no home, we still rent, yet that was our only path. Having said this I got pregnant with no#2 on 3rd Donor IUI this year, so that turned out to be much cheaper  eexcite.gif

so what value to you place on having a family? we would still be at it if we didn't conveive, after all it is assisted conception with no guarantees. Just lots of hope and what can be.

#17 thegalwho

Posted 28 December 2010 - 04:53 PM

I'm very curious as to where you guys get your funds from?

mrsmolly - $81 000, where do you even begin to find that kind of cash? I know you don't have to find it in one hit but still....?

#18 mum2brodie

Posted 28 December 2010 - 10:58 PM

We have had to use PGD Genetic testing at an out of pocket of around $8,000 the last time we used it (which we needed twice)  which would be roughly 5 years ago now.  With no medicare rebate.  

As for getting the funds as the galwho asked.  We took the funds out of our home loan, credit card and sadly when my DH uncle died we used the money left to us to keep trying.  While my Ds was conceived on our 3rd attempt with ICSI.  We did many years of more IVF with no success.  We are probably a good 10 years behind $ wise than our friends who didnt need to pay to get pregnant.  Sure you cant put a price on it but it does hurt when people can get pregnant for free.  wink.gif

I should add that our IVF journey cost us $80,000+ as well.  If we had the money or better odds of getting pregnant than winning the lotto,  we would have kept going.

Edited by mum2brodie, 28 December 2010 - 10:59 PM.

#19 kmorv

Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:39 AM

I was interested to see how much it cost now to have a baby through IVF. I have been blessed with 2 children - both through IVF once over 8 years ago and one 6 years ago. With my first child not much was covered by medicare (no rebate) that was introduced later on and I had ICSI as well so it was even more expensive in those days anyway-- between my two kids I had 2 other IVF attempts which failed (but with frozen eggs so not a full cycle - I always joke my second child was much cheaper than my first (but not by much)).

What is also interesting is that I had complications with both children and required specialist obsteric care which also cost significantly (high blood pressure throughout), so had to stop working at under 5 months pregnant, as well as a c-section in the end after being induced

My tax returns for the period of about 4 years had signficant medical costs flowing through them with easily over $10k a year for a couple of years running so I can totally relate to the costs you have identified  -- sad that over time things have not changed that much  -- yes I got a big tax rebate -- but you have to pay out the money to get the money back

As an aside -- I only had to endure one full IVF cycle so the costs mostly related to the one cycle

I reckon in medical expenses alone (IVF and giving birth times 2 kids) I forked out enough for a house deposit !!!

#20 kmorv

Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:46 AM

QUOTE (thegalwho @ 28/12/2010, 05:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm very curious as to where you guys get your funds from?

mrsmolly - $81 000, where do you even begin to find that kind of cash? I know you don't have to find it in one hit but still....?

kmorv  -- like everyone else borrowed from the mortgage which can I add probably is double what it should be purely based on medical expenses -- and was extremely fortunate to have a well paying job at the time I was trying to have kids -- and seeing as it took 5 years of trying to have kids so had been working in said well paying job for over 12 years so at that stage in my life double income no kids (not by choice) but had funds ---

#21 able7

Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:53 AM

I read this article and thought, yep, the cost is great, but well worth it.  The way I saw it, instead of saving for a holiday, we were saving to have children.  btw, we also had no IVF services were we lived, and had to travel 4 hours to Melbourne for all of the treatments.  This added to the total cost considerably.

I'm extremely fortunate that I have two healthy children both via IVF ICSI.  My children (both boys) are aged 15 and 10.  When we were trying with our first child, ICSI was a brand new procedure, with minimal pregnancies, let alone live births.  So I considered myself fortunate that I fell pregnant on my first cycle and 1st transfer, baby no 1. came 9 months later.  I wasn't as fortunate with baby number two.  He took much longer to conceive, he was also a frozen embryo for 2 + years.  

All I can say, all the tears, emotional roller coaster and the stress of trying to fall pregnant is all worth it in the end.  

Good luck to all those trying to conceive, relax, look after yourself and be happy and when your at peace with yourself it will happen.. Just don't stress... :-)

Edited by able7, 29 December 2010 - 10:54 AM.

#22 Guest_sassybabe_*

Posted 29 December 2010 - 11:29 AM

It's easy to say that it's worth it when you have the children you wanted for so long. Spare a thought for those of us that go through the same and more and never get to bring home a baby - from the hospital or through adoption.

Though personally, it's not the money that bothers me as much as it is the years of my life I've spent trying to conceive instead of raising our child. Sure we've done lots of great things in the meantime, but this isn't the life I wanted for us.

#23 missysbubba

Posted 29 December 2010 - 11:33 AM

I am curious to know if the costs were calculated before or after the changes to the medicare rebate.  The cost of our 2nd IVF cycle in Victoria was substancially higher than the first before the Federal Government reduced medicare benefits for IVF procedures and then also reduced the benefits for obstetric services.  In Victoria you now also need to include the cost of paying for a police check for both partners.

Edited to add...I cherish my baby every day and empathise with those who do not have children despite all efforts.  Its a challenging journey, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually and one that has changed me forever.  Somehow the money was not a focus at the time and I can never allow myself to think about what we would have spent the $30K+ on if we didn't choose IVF.   I don't think I would have been any happier if we had chosen not to undertake IVF and spent the money elsewhere.

Edited by missysbubba, 29 December 2010 - 11:45 AM.

#24 Guest_ladybaba_*

Posted 29 December 2010 - 01:50 PM

Not to mention the cost of missed work whilst spending years doing IVF, being in hospital and being sick due to complications and/or on drugs. I work for myself so don't get this covered by paid sick leave unfortunately and this is where a huge chunk of our financial loss has come from.

The cost for each of us is different (not just in financial terms) but hopefully the bulk of us will have an equally happy outcome.

I hope you are doing well Prue.

#25 mrsmolly

Posted 29 December 2010 - 05:54 PM

mrsmolly - $81 000, where do you even begin to find that kind of cash? I know you don't have to find it in one hit but still....?

There was a question raised as to how we have been able to afford IVF.  I'll be the first to admit when we started ten years ago, cycles were on average about $1600 so while not "cheap" were not something completely out of reach, which is where they now are for us - our savings jar is down to it's last few hundred dollars at the moment.  We've also being doing this for ten years now, so on average we've been spending $20,000 per year for the last four years trying for number two.  We used to be able to afford to do IVF back-to-back by rolling over the medicare rebate and adding the $1600 odd dollars in without much concern and so were able to do four cycles a year for a while.  Finding a donor was difficult and time consuming, but we continued to hope and save in anticipation - so there were a couple of years where we didn't cycle as often.  Now we can afford to cycle only twice a year at most.

Our IVF has been funded from redundancy packages, lots of saving - we made a decision when we married that we would always live on one income (as we intended on having one stay home parent, so thought it was good practice to get into).  Luckily for us in some ways, we're a bit older, and we entered the real estate market young (a long time ago) and had made substantial inroads into our mortgage so we've been able to draw down funds there.  We also have short, cheap holidays (rarely), drive a basic car, rarely eat out or buy new clothes, etc.  Our TV, etc run until they literally fall apart before we replace them and we don't buy top of the range when we do.  We do our own gardening, cleaning, ironing, odd jobs / painting / maintenance around the house. We shop around on everything. We do without stuff.  Everything for our first child like change tables, cots, etc was loaned from friends and family. Lots of hand-me-downs (luckily). Pretty much a frugal but happy existence. That's how you afford it - you make a team decision as to what your life goals are and you work toward it.  For us family is beyond the materialistic lifestyle and we are more than happy to put our money where our dreams are.  But in many ways we are so lucky - we have friends who have sold their home to pursue their IVF dreams - not something we have had to do.  

Having said that -  my heart goes out to everyone who holds the same dream we do, but don't have the means to pursue it - or who have persued it but not been successful in having their family. That to me is true tragedy.

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