The price of a family

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.

Would you pay $25,000 to have a family? Comment on Prue's blog.