Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) is a massive industry. In Ireland, we are fortunate that the cost is not as high as other places, like the USA. But it is still very expensive and can be prohibitive for a couple. Meaning that lots of people never have children because they can’t afford the cost of getting pregnant. This goes for anyone who needs AHR. This is usually same sex couples, infertile couples and single women. This makes me so sad- that not having the money to conceive a baby, means you might never be able to start a family. Some countries, like the UK, are allowing couples a few rounds of IVF for free on the NHS, after a certain amount of time and if they have failed IUI treatments. I hope Ireland follows suit very soon.
We all know that having a baby isn’t cheap! For some of us however, it costs a lot more.
At present the cost of a single cycle of IVF in Ireland is somewhere from €5,000 - €10,000. As with most medical procedures, it all depends on how straightforward the treatment is. When extra tests are needed, the cost starts to creep up. It can work out cheaper to seek treatment abroad. Even when you factor in the cost of flights and accommodation, it might work out around the same. Some people choose to save the money on the treatment and spend the extra money having a lovely holiday too. That’s what we did!
Doing Reciprocal IVF was not an option in Ireland, as it is not legislated and clinics will not provide the treatment. We could have gone to the UK which would have been closer, but we decided to go to Barcelona in order to enjoy the weather as well as try for a baby.
We stayed in Spain, in 2015, for 1 month on the first full cycle of IVF. When the first transfer resulted in early miscarriage, I then needed to travel back for an FET (frozen embryo transfer). I went alone, as Audrey had to work, and stayed for just one night at a hotel beside the clinic. This resulted in our daughter Ava.
Our costs were as follows:
IVF with ICSI cycle €4,600
Embryo Freezing and storage 1yr €480
2nd Frozen Embryo Transfer €1650
Rental Car €200
Living expenses €400
As you can see, the price was just under €10,000. Roughly the same as doing a standard IVF at home. But we also got a lovely holiday. It did cost more, because we had to do an extra embryo transfer, some couples get lucky and it works the first time.
It is definitely hard going abroad. Firstly because it’s ridiculous that we can’t access this treatment at home. Secondly because it is hard enough going through this process without having to think about all of the issues that arise with going abroad; trying to time your cycles, arrange flights, find accommodation, choose a clinic without seeing them in person, get bloods and scans done at home and a language barrier.
Well, you get my point. It can be very difficult. But it can also be an amazing experience and could even save you money on getting treatment at home.
This is why it is SO important to choose the right clinic and in the right location for you. I will cover this in another blog. But bear in mind- it’s not just a case of picking the cheapest clinic in the closest country.
The cost of Reciprocal IVF with ICSI in
Portugal (where we are going in April) is €4,500. *
It’s VITAL to link in with your GP at home if you are planning treatment abroad. Unless you plan to go abroad for months at a time, some of the preliminary work will need to be done at home. And the sooner the better. We have found in the past, it’s better to have as much time as possible to deal with potential issues. If you leave it to the last minute, and find there is a problem with some blood work or an abnormality in a scan, you could have to postpone the treatment and risk losing money on things you have prepaid for such as flights. Plus if you are booking time off work to travel, you really need to plan everything to fit into that window of opportunity.
Make sure you meet with them and explain that you will need their help. They will need to transcribe a foreign prescription onto an Irish script for you. Make sure they are comfortable doing so, as not every GP will want to get involved in your treatment. We’ve found it’s much better to be up front and it’s important to have the support of a medical professional at home, in case you run into any difficulty along the way.
You will have to get pre-IVF bloods done at home. This can be done by your GP for €20. The only test they will not be able to do is the AMH, but this can be done at a private clinic and costs between €95 to €200. The ‘Wellwoman Clinic’ was the cheapest we found for €95.
Ultrasound scans are usually required to make sure everything is ok. And usually for both women. Again this can be very expensive. We have paid between €95 to €170 for a single scan in the past. Some places, such as ‘BabyScan.ie’ do packages where they will do 3 scans for €250. Also some places do discounts for medical card holders. But one thing I learned recently is that a handful of GPs have ultrasound scanners in their clinics and will charge a much reduced price for their use. We just changed GP because of this. It could have saved us a lot of money in the past.
Medication can and should be bought at home. Most of the fertility medication required for an IVF cycle is covered under the ‘High Tech Meds Scheme’. This means if you have a medical card, you will only pay €2 per item. And if you don’t have a medical card, the most you will have to pay is up to €140 per month under the ‘Medical Reimbursement Scheme’. Make sure you ask your pharmacist about this. You could save a lot of money by getting your meds at home.
We actually had a really crazy thing happen when we went for our first cycle in 2015. We realised the night before we travelled that Audrey’s passport had expired! It was total panic, and we decided that I would travel anyway and go to the first appointment while Audrey would stay home and get an emergency passport. Anyway, I think this was the Universe intervening to save us some money. At the first appointment, the next day, I realised that it would cost us thousands to buy the medication over the counter in Spain. I totally panicked and began calling Audrey and our GP to see if we could get the prescription faxed to Ireland and collect the meds before Audrey travelled. Then we had to find a pharmacy that would source the meds for us, as it’s obviously not something they keep in stock. And we also had to frantically find out if Audrey would be able to carry the meds in her carry on (and were they safe to keep unrefrigerated!) But after all this stress, we paid only €10 for meds which could have cost thousands. So make sure that you have all of this sorted out before you travel.
Hope this outlines a bit more clearly, the costs involved in the IVF process. As always, if you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer them. Pop a comment below and we’ll get back to you.
*This includes all scans and bloods needed while at the clinic.