Posts Tagged ‘ fertility treatments ’

Fertility Treatments Cost at Least $5,000 for Most

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

The average out-of-pocket cost of fertility treatments tops $5,000, according to a new study of fertility clinics in the San Francisco area.  More from Reuters.com:

As expected, researchers found costs were especially high for couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) – over $19,000, on average – and rose with each additional treatment cycle.

“One of the very early questions people ask after we figure out what we need to do to help them get pregnant is how much the treatment is going to cost,” Dr. James Smith, director of male reproductive health at the University of California, San Francisco, and the study’s senior author, said.

That expense, he told Reuters Health, “has a big impact – they’re taking out second mortgages on homes, they’re borrowing from friends and family.”

Smith and his colleagues interviewed 332 couples attending one of eight fertility clinics for their first evaluation and gave each a cost diary to record all treatment-related expenses. They then interviewed the couples three more times over the next year and a half about those expenses, including money spent on clinic visits and procedures, medications and miscellaneous items such as travel and parking.

Among all couples, the average out-of-pocket cost of fertility treatment was $5,338. However, that varied depending on what type of treatment they received – from $595 for basic, one-time procedures such as uterine fibroid removal or counseling about timing sex to $19,234 for IVF, the technique used by a majority of couples.

Expenses were higher for couples who took more time to get pregnant and underwent more treatment cycles, the researchers found.

However, there was no clear difference in out-of-pocket expenses based on whether couples reported having insurance coverage for fertility care, according to findings published in The Journal of Urology.

“Usually insurance companies will cover things like labs, the basic diagnostic testing,” Smith said. “But the expensive items, like in vitro fertilization, that’s much less well covered.”

He said that is the case in California and most other states, but that a few – including Massachusetts and Illinois – require insurance companies to have more extensive coverage of fertility treatment.

According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, women received more than 150,000 cycles of IVF in 2011.

Image: Fertility lab technician, via Shutterstock

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Fertility Rates Unchanged Despite Perception of Crisis

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

With many women waiting to get married and have children, the number of couples who pursue medical treatments to become pregnant seems to be growing exponentially.  But new data from federal researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics shows that the national infertility rate has remained virtually unchanged for the past 20 years.  More from NBC News:

“Infertility rates have come down a little bit,” says Dr. Anjani Chandra, researcher at the NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “That surprises people because they think it is going up. In fact, it really hasn’t been the case.”

Chandra and colleagues looked at data from the National Survey on Family Growth, in which more than 22,000 people were interviewed face to face between 2006 and 2010. The survey was also done in 1982 and 2002.

The surveys showed that 8.5 percent of married women aged 15 to 44 were infertile in 1982 – defined as having been married and having unprotected sex for 12 months without becoming pregnant. This fell to 6 percent of the same age group, married or unmarried, in 2006-2010.

When they added in women who could finally get pregnant but who miscarried before giving birth, the number rose to 11 percent

“Contrary to popular perceptions based on infertility service use and media coverage about biological clocks, we still don’t see that,” Chandra told NBC News.

It hasn’t changed for men, either.

“Some form of infertility … was reported by 9.4 percent of men aged 15–44 and 12 percent of men aged 25–44 in 2006–2010, similar to levels seen in 2002,” Chandra’s team writes in the report.

One obvious answer would seem to be increased use of fertility treatments. Since 1982, in vitro fertilization or IVF has been perfected, and more than 163,000 treatments were done in 2011 – just about double the number done a decade before. Federal law requires doctors and clinics to report fertility treatments and success rates to the CDC.

But this data doesn’t show whether 163,000 separate people were treated, and the new statistics suggest that in fact more people aren’t being treated. Instead, individuals may be undergoing more treatments in the same year, says Chandra.

That’s because the percentage of women who have ever gotten fertility services was the same in 2006-2010 as compared to 2002 – 11.9 percent in both times.

Dr. Richard Reindollar of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine said the findings were encouraging.

“Even though the ages at which women in the United States have their children have been increasing since 1995, the percentage of the population suffering from infertility or impaired fecundity has not increased,” Reindollar said in a statement.

Image: Fertility lab, via Shutterstock

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Crowdfunding Helps Couples Raise Funds for Fertility Treatments, Adoption

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Crowdfunding, the phenomenon whereby people raise money for all manner of business and personal endeavors, is increasingly becoming a resource used by couples who are facing expensive fertility treatments or the costly and complicated adoption process.  More from The Huffington Post:

Since May 2010, GoFundMe has helped raise nearly $1.1 million for couples looking to cover the costs of infertility treatments and adoption. Currently, about 100 couples are looking to do the same on GiveForward.

The first “crowdfunded baby,” Landon Haley, was born after his parents conducted a campaign in 2011 that raised $8,050 to help fund infertility treatments.

“Twenty years ago this wouldn’t have happened,” his mother, Jessica Haley, told CNN Money. “Because of the Internet, that’s why we have Landon.”

Fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization, can cost upwards of $8,158 per cycle, according to RESOLVE: The National Fertility Association, and one estimate by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine put the figure at $12,400.

Because it can take several rounds of treatment before a woman conceives, costs skyrocket quickly. But insurance companies will only cover so many attempts, if they provide coverage at all. In fact, only 29% of couples said their insurance covered their infertility or adoption expenses, according to a 2012 poll conducted by RESOLVE.

Adoption expenses can lead to even bigger debt. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates the cost can be anywhere from $2,500 to over $40,000 per child.

While couples can subsidize the cost by applying for grants from nonprofits, with aid from employers or by taking advantage of the nearly $13,000 tax credit for out-of-pocket adoption costs, some still seek other means to help foot the sizable bill.

The first adoption-specific crowdfunding site — AdoptTogether — was founded in 2012, and has helped provide over $1 million to 300 adoptive families so far.

Image: Money, via Shutterstock

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Quintuplets Born in Texas

Friday, August 17th, 2012

A set of quintuplets were born in Texas this week–5 babies in as many minutes–and are in “stable condition,” CNN.com is reporting:

The quintuplets — among the first set delivered nationally so far this year — were in stable condition after being born Thursday to missionaries Carrie and Gavin Jones at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Three boys and two girls — Will Edward, David Stephen, Marcie Jane, Seth Jared and Grace Elise — remained in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Paul University Hospital, part of the medical center.

While in stable condition, the siblings likely will remain hospitalized for several months until they reach weight, post-birth age and health markers.

“The five babies are doing quite well right now,” Dr. Gary Burgess, medical director of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, said Monday. “They’re doing as expected. We always have little issues in the first week of life with these infants. … They’re very stable right now.”

The five ranged in weight at birth from 1 pound, 12 ounces to 2 pounds, 11 ounces and in length from 12.5 inches to 15.5 inches.

“For all the anxiety that a quintuplet pregnancy generates, Carrie and Gavin are the perfect couple of have held it together,” said Dr. Patricia Santiago-Munoz, who delivered the babies in less than five minutes, according to the hospital. “A birth like this takes a village.”

That it did — a team of more than 50 specialists, nurses, therapists and technicians assisted Santiago-Munoz, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

Though the couple used injectable medications to help them achieve a pregnancy, they did not undergo in vitro fertilization.  The couple has an 8-year-old son, Isaac.

Image: 5 ducklings, via Shutterstock

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Safety of High-Dose IVF Treatments Questioned

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

A growing number of fertility specialists are questioning the practice of using high doses of hormone medications to help women become pregnant, calling instead for low-dose cycles of in-vitro fertilization that carry less of a risk of potentially serious side effects.  The New York Times reports:

[Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)] is a little-known complication of fertility treatments that rely on high doses of hormones, which are standard in the United States and the United Kingdom; the syndrome is not the only health problem to be linked to in vitro fertilization. Fertility clinics in Europe and Japan have turned to a safer, low-dose form of IVF, but clinics here have largely resisted on the grounds that the success rates for low-dose IVF are not as high.

Pregnancy rates are lower, and more cycles of IVF are necessary” with low-dose IVF, said Dr. Glenn L. Schattman, a fertility doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.

But some critics are urging the industry to reconsider.

“Mild stimulation is clearly much healthier for women,” said Francine Coeytaux, founder of the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles. “The reason hyper-stimulation happened is because these fertility clinics compete against each other by posting their success rates.”

In high-dose IVF, a woman is first given injections of a drug, often Lupron, to suppress her ovaries, causing temporary menopausal symptoms. Then the ovaries are stimulated with hormones, such as follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, in order to produce more eggs. The duration of stimulation is longer, and the hormone dose significantly higher, than in the low-dose programs common overseas.

Women normally generate one egg per cycle, but high-dose stimulation can help women produce 20 to 30 eggs, or even more. By contrast, women receiving mild, low-dose IVF produce 8 to 10 eggs. The ovaries are not suppressed at the outset, and there is no manipulation of the patient’s cycle.

Image: IVF shots, via Shutterstock.

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