Nick Montague, Director of Assured Fertility, calls for the costs for IVF treatment to be simpler and transparent
We live in a complicated world, and IVF is no exception. Despite the fact that the industry has been in existence for over 40 years, it still creates real confusion amongst patients as to which treatment they need, which add ons they should be having and how it will costs as a grand total.
Take a look at the price list of an IVF clinic and you will be presented with a menu of treatments, procedures, descriptions and acronyms. This can be a minefield for the typical patient. There are some clinics who have made the effort to go for “plain English” and we applaude them. But the majority are still operating as they have done for decades.
So – time to fire up Google. ICIS, IMSI, FET, IUI, PGD, PGS, Embryoscope, Embryo Glue, AMH, FSH and this is only a selection. Healthcare professionals understand all these terms, but the majority of patients won’t. How are they to know which treatment they need and which extras they should request?
Of course, their clinician will advise them and they will be reassured, but the real challenge for patients is not so much the acronyms and descriptions, but knowing the true cost of the whole course of treatment when everything has been included.
Medication and other “extras”
Drugs is a big one. All IVF treatments require the patient to receive medication at different stages of the process, and this can be very expensive. Work on the basis of around £1,200 – £1,500 for the first batch of drugs – which are used to stimulate the patient before egg collection. And then add on the cost of drugs taken both before an embryo transfer and after. For one complete cycle of IVF (which will include the first stage of stimulation, egg collection, fertilisation and a first embryo transfer) and then typically say two more embryo transfers, we are looking at a total cost for drugs in the range of £2,000 to £2,500. This is often an “extra cost” and not in a headline figure quoted for “IVF treatment”.
Add in fees for initial and ongoing consultations, virology (blood tests), scans and possible extras during the lab process and you will find that the original quoted figure for an IVF cycle will probably have doubled or even tripled.
The all inclusive way
There is a better way of communicating this to patients – an all-inclusive, no extras way.
*subject to acceptance and the terms of your plan