Research into the medical treatment of infertility is progressing faster than almost any other discipline, and the number of medical infertility clinics has increased more than 10-fold in the past 20 years. It’s become big business!
The average cost of a round of IVF is €5000, a figure which is rising year on year. It increases to near €10,000 if you use donor eggs.
To digress for a moment on that point - Donor eggs can be a great option if ones egg quality is seriously compromised, but you need to be aware that the prevailing opinion within these medical settings is that there is nothing you can do about egg quality other than accept the reality that it will continue to decline. THIS IS WRONG!
Back to my original point - In the US the official figures show that the average number of IVF treatments per couple is four, and thus costs can rise to anywhere from €20,000-€40,000 per couple, most of which is not recoverable from insurance, and this is the AVERAGE. This by the way is not a complaint, nobody is being ripped off here, it is what it is and I can’t actually see how it could be any different. Expertise costs money.
Fertility clinics will be happy to tell you their own success rates, and various newspaper articles will claim wildly different industry success and failure rates depending on where the reporter got their statistics. They are all true, but they are hard to put in context and difficult for the regular person to figure out their best options without doing a deep dive into industry stats.
To give the devil his due it’s not easy to acquire industry average success rates because there are many variables involved such as different clinic procedures, different technologies, different levels of clinic expertise, differences in combined methodologies at any given clinic, different regulations in different countries and crucially different success rates for different age groups.
Most people seem to just assume the figures they hear in the news are accurate, but the truth is that overall success rates for IVF are on the low side. Here are the average industry wide success rates for IVF in the US, and these figures can be inferred to other countries like Ireland since we tend to follow suit in the adoption of new technologies:
- 30% success for women under 35
- 24% for women aged 35 to 37
- 18% for women aged 38 to 39
- 10% for women aged 40 to 42
- 3% for women aged 43 to 44
- 1% for women aged over 44
Obviously though, as Helen Carcio says in her seminal book on the Management Of The Infertile Women – “The true cost of infertility cannot simply be measured in purely financial terms. There is the additional emotional, physical and social toll to pay. The emotional rollercoaster can include dealing with stress, blame and trying to cope with the intense, deeply primitive ‘survival of the species’ drive to have a baby”.
I couldn’t agree more!
The above numbers are true, but they belie a phenomenally important fact – they are almost entirely based on a population of people who did not undertake a deep dive program to get to the bottom of their infertility. Instead what most people do is follow medical guidelines and procedures – and perhaps pop a multivitamin and a fish oil – and then struggle valiantly through the often-mind-bending experience of IVF stimulation protocols, only to come out the other side believing they “tried everything”. It’s a false belief though, and I say that with the deepest of compassion.
Doing whatever you can to make your body work better changes the game and makes the above statistics irrelevant to you! You don’t have to be a statistic, you can choose to be a winner!