For many couples who are having difficulty conceiving, fertility assistance through a specialised clinic becomes their only chance of having a baby. This is rarely a simple option and for some, the cost can make this an unrealistic choice. Currently in New Zealand, fertility assistance through a fertility clinic is available to both public and privately funded patients. Around 60% of IVF rounds or cycles in New Zealand are funded under the public system.
Some patients use a combination of both public and private funding to maximise their chances of conceiving. Although the drive to have a baby can be almost overwhelming, if you are considering using IVF to help with conception it is very important that you do careful research first. No fertility program or clinic can offer a 100% guarantee of success.
What’s IVF Going to Cost Me?
Like many other medical procedures and treatments, the cost of having IVF varies considerably between practitioners and individual centres. There is no one consistent fee between every fertility clinic in New Zealand. It is important to remember that waiting lists and times vary between clinics so parents need to factor this in their planning. Some couples choose to undergo private fertility treatments while they are still on waiting lists for public treatment. Of course if they are successful and do conceive, they forfeit their place in the public queue.
Remember – Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
To be eligible for public funding the following criteria must be met:
- The woman must be less than 40 years of age
- She must be a non-smoker
- She must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 32 or under
- She must also have had at least 1 year duration of infertility or have a diagnosed cause for her infertility
- If a woman has 2 or more children who are aged 12 years or younger and they are living at home, this makes her ineligible for public fertility treatment.
To be eligible for publicly funded fertility treatment a numerical scoring system is used, this is called the Clinical Priority Assessment Criteria or “CPAC”. Factors such as residency, chances of conceiving without treatment and social influences are all factored. Couples who score 65 or more are deemed eligible for public treatment. Two cycles are possible.
Private Fertility Management:
Some fertility clinics in New Zealand have made arrangements with individual health insurance companies to cover fertility treatment expenses. Finance and funding options are also available through private financial institutions. Whether couples choose to pursue these as options is entirely their choice. Some clinics have even developed their own “package deals” which include up to 3 IVF cycles and a partial refund at the end of treatments if they have not been successful. An average amount for this type of service is around $25,000.
If you are considering having privately funded IVF treatments, it would be wise for you to organize your health insurance cover first and to ensure this covers fertility assistance as well as other services. Pathology, radiology, hospital and ancillary cover is also important so that you are not faced with a large unexpected bill for services you cannot claim at the end of your treatment.
In addition, if you wish to have your child in a private hospital, then ensure childbirth is covered in your health insurance. After all, the whole point of embarking on IVF is to have your own baby at the end of it all.
Where Can I Find Out How Much it will Cost?
In the interests of transparency, fertility clinics need to state their fees for services very early in the consultation process. Some provide written quotes if the treatment plan is clear, but this isn’t always the case.
Although most clinics have very well designed and comprehensive internet sites, cost explanations are frequently prefaced by very positive statements regarding the quality of the services they provide as well as their conception success rate. The information can also be confusing, especially to parents who may not understand all of the medical technology or treatment descriptions.
Most practices have nurse coordinators and reception staff who are experts in explaining how different treatment components are charged and what percentage of rebates apply. Most clinics have payment/fee structures which match specific times in the treatment program. For example, pre-payments before the cycles begin, at the time of collecting medication to stimulate ovarian follicles and when the embryo is transferred.
Most couples tend not to do individual research into fertility clinics unless they are particularly interested or they are aiming to minimise cost as much as possible. There is some financial competition amongst different clinics, so satisfy yourself that you are getting good value for money.
Generally, a couple’s GP will refer them to a particular fertility clinic which the GP practice has had prior dealings with. Remember, you need to be an active participant in your own care, so don’t be afraid to request a referral to a clinic which you may prefer and which may better suit your individual budget.
Why is it so Expensive?
Most fertility clinics provide a range of services, which are ultimately designed to assist in successful conception. These are unique and require significant expertise with medical, nursing, scientific and pathology staff as well as equipment.
Understandably, not all couples will require the full suite of services offered, or need to pay for services their individual situation does not warrant. Typical services are:
- Ovulation Induction
- Intrauterine Insemination with either the partner’s sperm or donor sperm
- In Vitro Fertilisation
- Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection also referred to as ICSI
- Hatching of Embryos
- Culture of Blastocyst
- Storage of frozen embryos and then transfer
- Sperm aspiration
- Storage of semen. Freezing of sperm tissue
- Biopsy of Embryo and diagnosis of genetic conditions
- Surgical treatment for gynaecological conditions which are impacting on fertility
N.B. The following is only an approximate indication of cost. Each fertility clinic outlines their own fee structure and these can vary significantly. Ask for brochures, pamphlets and hard copies of information to take away from your initial consultation. It can be very difficult to remember specific costing without having some reminders.
|1st Consultation||From $180-$250 May cost more if additional testing is necessary||Up Front payment is necessary||Semen Analysis and testing will incur additional costs|
|Subsequent Consultation||Around $90-$170 dependent on tests which are required||
Up Front payment is necessary
|A counselling appointment and fee may be necessary|
|Day 7 of treatment||Approximately $7,000|
|Drug Therapy||Approximately $2,000||Advance Payment may be necessary
|Additional Drugs||Approximately $1,000|
|Fee on Day of Trigger||Approximately $3,200|
Additional costs for sperm freezing, aspiration, storage, analysis, and screening tests may be necessary. If counselling, scans, anaesthetist and courier fees are required then these costs are added.
Points to Remember:
- Before you embark on any fertility treatment, speak with your private health insurance fund about your individual cover. Don’t assume you are insured for extras. Check first to see if you can qualify for public fertility assistance funding.
- If you don’t have private health insurance cover, either join, or start saving. The costs can really add up.
- Do your research into what services different clinics provide, what’s included in their standard charges and what’s separate.
- Keep all your receipts and paperwork.
- Speak with your friends or others who have undergone fertility treatments. Often the best source of support and insight comes from those who’ve had firsthand experience.