Lowering the Cost of Artificial Insemination
Lowering the cost of artificial insemination is possible. Once you embark on a fertility treatment journey, one of the first things you will notice is the staggering cost and how much it varies from one clinic to another. You may also notice how much less expensive IUI is compared to IVF. But what exactly happens when you have an IUI?
The Mayo Clinic describes the procedure as one where sperm that have been washed and concentrated are placed directly in your uterus around the time your ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized. The sperm swim into the fallopian tube and fertilize a waiting egg, resulting in pregnancy. Sounds easy enough, but the success rate doesn’t ever seem to creep above 20%.
If you’re going in with the mindset that you want to save as much money on each cycle so you have more money to put towards the next cycle, then continue reading. We’re sharing 6 tips to help you lower the cost of artificial insemination.
1. Check to see if your employer offers fertility coverage
You’ll never know if you don’t ask. Reach out to your Benefits department so they can put you in touch with the right person. You’ll want to get a better understanding of what type of medications/procedures would be covered as well as any conditions that would need to be met for you to qualify for coverage. This step could be the difference between lowering the cost of artificial insemination or paying more for the same procedure.
2. Apply for Fertility Grants
Make sure you add these dates to your calendar. The only thing better than lowering the cost of artificial insemination is paying nothing at all. Be sure to check the eligibility requirements.
3. Consider using an HSA Account to pay for out-of-pocket expenses
This is also a great option for those whose employers don’t offer Fertility Benefits. Money from your paycheck would automatically be deducted and deposited into your HSA account, which over time would help lower the overall cost of artificial insemination.
4. Discuss with your doctor what tests are absolutely necessary vs nice-to-haves
There is a difference and it can significantly affect the cost of artificial insemination. If you feel as if you are getting the run around, find another doctor who will take the time to answer your questions.
5. Call Costco Pharmacy for pricing on meds
Costco has over 500 warehouses in the US and over 250 warehouses internationally. The great thing about Costco is you don’t have to be a member to purchase prescription medication. They also accept GoodRx coupons! All that to say, using them as a pharmacy helped lower the overall cost of artificial insemination.
6. If using donor sperm, call the sperm bank to find out if they offer specials.
Many offer Anniversary sales or New Year’s specials. You might luck out and get a discount on storage fees, too! Saving hundreds of dollars will go a long way towards helping you lower the cost of artificial insemination.
Lowering the Cost of Artificial Insemination: Cost Breakdown
Cost: $185. I had maxed out my HSA (Health Savings Account) contribution the year before, so was planning on paying for my IUI cycles with that money. My employer didn’t offer fertility insurance but they did provide a sizable contribution if employees opted for an HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan) which allowed me to open an HSA account.
During the consultation we discussed my medical history and what the IUI process looked like. I wanted to try IUI three times before considering IVF, as I had read that the majority of successful IUI pregnancies occurred in the first 3 cycles of IUI. But before doing all the testing that was offered, I wanted to opt-in for things that were absolutely necessary. We aligned on starting an IUI cycle the following month. Now is a good time to start documenting your journey.
Monitoring / Blood work
Cost: $172. I called the office on the first day of my menstrual cycle so my baseline ultrasound could be scheduled on cycle day 2 – 5. I had my baseline ultrasound on cycle day 3. Bad news: they spotted a cyst on one of my ovaries, so I was put on birth control to get rid of it. I wouldn’t be able to proceed with an IUI that month because of it. I also had blood work done which allowed me to get the Ovarian Assessment Report which looks at your hormone levels (FSH, Estradiol, LH, AMH, Inhibin B) and gives you an idea of good egg supply, among other things.
Cost: $152. The following month I called to schedule my baseline ultrasound. I had my ultrasound on cycle day 3. The cyst from the previous month was gone and I was clear to take Femera for cycle day 3 – 7. Blood work was also done at this appointment.
Kudos to my doctor for recommending Costco Pharmacy–his recommendation helped me saved hundred of dollars, which resulted in a lower cost of artificial insemination.
Cost $94. We went over my Ovarian Assessment Results from the previous month. Spoiler alert: they weren’t good (low ovarian reserve).
Cost: $152. Mid-cycle ultrasound took place on cycle day 11. I was instructed to call when my ovulation test turned positive so my IUI could be scheduled the next day.
Cost: $0. Called the office when my LH surge took place on cycle day 14. My IUI was scheduled for the next day.
Medication / Ovulation Predictor Kit
$10 Birth Control, via Costco Pharmacy. I took this to get rid of an ovarian cyst.
$15 Femara, via Costco Pharmacy. I took this on cycle day 3 – 7.
$15 Urine Ovulation Kit, via Walmart. I began testing daily starting on cycle day 11.
$200. Sperm preparation and insemination.
$995 for IUI #1.
The two week wait (TWW) began. Once I took a pregnancy test 14 DPO (days past ovulation) and received a positive, I immediately called my OB/GYN to let them know. They scheduled an appointment for me to to get an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. My OB/GYN was in-network so from that point on, my out of pocket of pocket expenses were minimal.
Lowering the Cost of Artificial Insemination: Additional Costs to Consider
$500 HSG test + $450 Saline Ultrasound
I didn’t have this done for IUI #1 or IUI #2 because I was focusing on lowering the cost of artificial insemination. I was, however, going to opt-in if I had 3 unsuccessful IUIs.
$135 HCG trigger shot
I did not use it for IUI #1; did use it for IUI #2.
I did not use it for IUI #1 or IUI #2.
Sperm + Delivery Fees (if applicable)
Familiarize yourself with your sperm bank’s buy-back policy. Many banks will not buy back sperm once it has left the bank, even if it was transported directly to the clinic and never used.
Additional office visits
My RE (reproductive endocrinologist) increased his prices on everything when I returned for IUI #2. This time around, I opted-in for the trigger shot, which combined with the price increases, brought my IUI #2 to a grand total of $1,142.
Seeing your RE for another 3 – 4 weeks before ‘graduating’ and going to your OB/GYN
With IUI #1 I was never provided instructions on what to do if I got a positive pregnancy test, so I assumed that calling my OB/GYN was the next step.
Turns out, most REs like to continue to monitor their patients until they are 8-10 weeks pregnant before transferring them to their OB/GYN.
Final Thoughts on Lowering the Cost of Artificial Insemination
While the cost of artificial insemination varies by location and clinic, there are things you can do to keep your costs low. Leverage your resources. Talk to the benefits team who are well versed in the minute details of the benefits your company offers. Apply for grants. Call sperm banks to inquire about specials/promotions. Interview multiple reproductive endocrinologists and get your questions answered. When you get your protocol, call a handful of pharmacies for pricing. At the end of the day, you want to have enough money to help you reach your goal of becoming a parent. Saving money along the way can help.
Two Week Wait
Is your TWW approaching and you need ideas to keep your mind busy? Click here.