At Gay Parents To Be, we know the financial aspects of family building can be confusing, overwhelming, and downright frustrating at times. Even once you understand your benefits and fertility treatment costs, those numbers can seem like an insurmountable hurdle. Our goal here is to help you build the family of your dreams, and that’s why we’re here to provide facts, figures, and real questions to ask your insurance provider. Your path to parenthood starts with understanding your treatment costs so you can plan, budget if necessary, and start your family building truly in the know - with no surprises.
How Much Should I Budget for Fertility Treatment Costs?
For LGBTQ+ moms-to-be, calculating fertility treatment costs begins with two steps: understanding your coverage, and knowing your family building plan. We’ll dive into both of those factors below.
Regarding your fertility coverage, an essential first step is to reach out to your insurance company to determine what options are available to you, if you have opted into an insurance plan (psst - it’s still Open Enrollment, a great time to do that). Your fertility insurance coverage depends on a variety of factors, including your employer, the plan that your company offers, and even the location in which you live and work.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies only cover fertility treatment based on the “medical diagnosis” of infertility -- which is something along the lines of “the inability to conceive after 1+ year of egg and sperm exposure.” Clearly, this narrow interpretation excludes many within the LGBTQ+ community, and this is one of many reasons we continue to advocate for more inclusive coverage.
If you find that you are pigeonholed by this definition, we encourage you to reach out to your employer. In fact, we feel so passionately about this that we already drafted 4 LGBTQ+ family-building questions for your HR department.
What Questions Should I Ask to Determine My Fertility Insurance Coverage?
If you hear back with good news (fingers crossed!) -- a great next step would be to follow-up with your insurance provider to figure out exactly what you have coverage for. Below, we’ve provided a list of questions to ask your insurance company about fertility treatment coverage. Often treatment is not covered, but diagnostic tests are, so it’s important to ask all of these questions!
- Do I have diagnostic testing for infertility treatment?
- Do I have IUI and IVF coverage? If so, how many cycles are covered for each?
- Is cycle monitoring or medication covered under this plan?
- Do I have a copay for office visits?
- What is my deductible?
- Will my blood work and ultrasounds have a copay or be applied to my deductible and co-insurance?
- Are there any exclusions to my plan?
Additionally, you can ask your insurance provider to check specific coverage codes for IUI and IVF. Here are a few IUI and IVF codes to run through with your insurance provider, that we typically see patients using at Illume Fertility (our partner fertility clinic).
- IUI: 58322, 58323, 89260, 89261, S4042
- IVF: 58970 58974
How Do I Know What Treatments To Budget For As An LGBTQ+ Mom-To-Be?
After you’ve determined your coverage, the next step would be to meet with a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist. Choosing a provider and a practice that are welcoming and inclusive to all can make a huge difference in your journey - learn more about choosing an LGBTQ+ friendly practice here.
At this meeting with your fertility specialist, you will create your family-building plan. This plan will be personalized to you (and your partner, if applicable), based on a number of factors:
- If you’re a single mom-to-be, congratulations on the start of a wonderful journey! Your reproductive endocrinologist (aka REI) will personalize your plan based on some of the factors below, and your journey will most likely take the shape of an IUI or IVF cycle(s).
- If you’re a cisgender female in a relationship with a trans individual, your REI will personalize your plan based on your biology and that of your partner, and that journey may take the shape of an IUI, IVF, or reciprocal IVF cycle(s). If your partner preserved eggs or sperm prior to a hormonal or surgical transition, be sure to tell your REI during your consultation so they can help explore all your options.
- If you’re two cisgender females who both want to participate in a biological family building journey, your REI will personalize your plan based on some of the factors below. Your journey may take the shape of an IUI, IVF, or reciprocal IVF cycle(s).
- Age, fertility hormone levels, and ovarian reserve are all factors that your doctor will consider when guiding you through this process.
- If you or your partner have previously frozen gametes (eggs or sperm), this may also inform your plan.
- Desire to carry a pregnancy
- Some coupled moms-to-be really want to carry a pregnancy, and others don’t feel quite as strongly. In Dr. Cindy Murdock’s experience, many two-mom couples who come to her for a consultation have already discussed and decided this before even beginning treatment!
No matter what shape your family building journey takes, your fertility clinic should work with you to help you understand your financing options. Below, we’ve broken down cost estimates for each of the 3 major pathways to family-building for LGBTQ+ moms-to-be.
Please note that the estimates below assume that you do not have fertility coverage and are paying out of pocket for all costs.
What are Fertility Treatment Costs for Lesbians?
When you begin considering the pathways listed below, there are a few other things to consider. Your choice of sperm donor is one of these factors, as it may also play into your family building budget. There are a few options:
- Anonymous or open-door donor sperm from a reputable sperm cryobank
- Varies dependent on donor, cryobank, and number of vials selected = $500 to $1,000
- Your fertility specialist and an LCSW will be able to counsel you on your donor choice from a psychological perspective, as well as on the number of vials to acquire before you make any donor decisions
- Known donor sperm from a friend, acquaintance, or family member
- Costs will vary, but know that when using a known donor you may be responsible for some of the screening and genetic testing costs for your donor (which typically would already be completed by the cryobank before freezing donor sperm) as well as any psychological screenings and legal costs
- Partner sperm
- If your partner cryopreserved sperm prior to a transition, it may be an option for use in your shared family building journey.
Once you understand your donor sperm options, there are three main pathways to biological motherhood for you (and perhaps your partner) to consider.
Option 1 – Intrauterine Insemination Treatment (IUI Treatment)
IUI is a technique that delivers sperm directly into the uterus. You might know this by a more general term, "artificial insemination" or "assisted insemination.” IUI allows better sperm delivery to the fallopian tube - it helps the sperm and egg interact in closer proximity. IUI treatments are typically used in conjunction with medications that increase the number of eggs per cycle and trigger ovulation. IUI allows better sperm delivery, creates better targets for the sperm, and identifies ideal timing for insemination.
How Much Does IUI Treatment Cost for Moms?
The estimated out of pocket costs for one IUI cycle can run anywhere from $800-$1500, and those costs vary depending on the clinic and financial plan that works best for you.
Here at Gay Parents To Be, in partnership with Illume Fertility, the cost of one IUI cycle is $1,000 (through a financial opportunity plan offered here). This includes “morning monitoring” bloodwork and ultrasounds during your cycle, the sperm preparation for IUI, and the insemination itself.
Medication costs for IUI procedures are separate from the cycle cost, and also vary depending on whether your REI prescribes you oral or injectable fertility medicines.
Out of Pocket IUI Medication Costs
Oral medication costs - $30 - $130
Injectable medication costs - $3,500-$5,500
Option 2 - In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Treatment
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a family planning pathway for LGBTQ+ single females or same-sex couples where only one partner wants to biologically and genetically participate in the pregnancy, and perhaps has completed IUI treatment unsuccessfully, or is struggling with their fertility.
The average cost of an IVF cycle is around $18,000 when including medications and monitoring (bloodwork and ultrasound). Genetic testing could add another $1,500 to $3,000. Please see the table for a more detailed breakdown of estimated IVF cost factors.
IVF Treatment Cost for Lesbians
Medications - $3,500 to $5,500
Bloodwork & ultrasound (monitoring) - $2,000 to $3,500
Anesthesia - $350 to $750 (varies based on time units)
Egg Retrieval - $2,000 to $3,000
Laboratory fees (egg wash, culture, sperm prep, hatching) - $2,000 to $4,000
Cost of donor sperm (varies dependent on donor selected) - $500 to $1,000
ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) - $1,500 to $2,500
Preimplantation genetic testing - $1,500 to 3,000
Cost of Embryo transfer - $1,500 to $5,000
Embryo storage (the first year is typically free) - $600 to $1,000 annually
Consultation (no insurance) - $300 to $750
*Cost can vary by region, state and insurance coverage
IVF Testing & Consultation Costs
Fertility testing for IVF can range from $2,050 to $4,000. Please note that cost can vary by region, state and insurance coverage. Please refer to the table for the estimated cost of fertility testing.
Consultation (no insurance) - $300 to $750
HSG - $850 to $1,500
Sonohysterogram - $450 to $850
Vaginal ultrasound - $250 to $450
If you are using a known donor, you may also incur costs for a semen analysis, and additional infectious disease testing and genetic screening.
Semen analysis - $200 to $450
Option 3 - Reciprocal IVF Treatment
With reciprocal IVF, one partner’s eggs are used to create embryos, and then the other partner carries the pregnancy and delivers the child. For same-sex female couples, this is a way that both partners can contribute to the family building process in a unique and beautiful way.
Reciprocal IVF Treatment Cost for Lesbians
In a reciprocal IVF journey, one partner donates their eggs (takes fertility medicine to produce multiple eggs and undergoes an egg retrieval - you know what these terms mean now!). After egg retrieval, those eggs are combined with chosen donor sperm in the IVF laboratory. The carrying partner then goes on medication to prepare her uterus, and then embryos are transferred.
Although this may seem like a more complicated (but beautiful) process, when it comes to the cost breakdown, it looks very similar to the cost for any other IVF journey - take a look at the costs below!
Instead of the costs applying to one person, the procedures (and associated costs) would be allocated between the two partners, but you would not necessarily incur additional costs for this pathway.
We recognize that financing self-pay fertility treatment options can be challenging. To ensure equal access to high-quality care at affordable prices, Gay Parents To Be created Opportunity Plans for those who do not have insurance coverage. To learn more about these plans offered through Gay Parents To Be, speak to a team member today.
These self-pay fertility treatment plans cover services like IUI, IVF, PGS, eSET, frozen embryo transfer, egg freezing, surrogacy and fertility testing.
We encourage you to also check out our grant guide, should you require further financial support. Additionally, Family Equality has an extensive guide, and companies like Progyny offer expanded coverage if your primary policy is just not cutting it.
It’s officially open enrollment season, so now is a great time to plan for fertility treatment in 2021. If you’re interested in taking your first steps, whether that’s a conversation with a Financial Advocate or diagnostic testing, click the button below to connect with a Gay Parents To Be team member today!