If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where there is more than one infertility specialist or practice, you understand how confusing it can be to choose the physician or clinic best suited for you. Experience, convenience, scope in treatment options, customer service, embryologists’ skill, insurance plans accepted and overall cost are just some of the factors that will go into assessing your options. A referral from a friend or OB/GYN will definitely play a factor. Yelp or other online review sites? Yes, they matter, but their reliability is often called into question. Your journey through infertility treatment options will be much better if you can meet and bond with your personal physician. There is, however, one more consideration you may wish to explore.
Taking all the above factors into consideration, of utmost importance to you is having a baby. Next is probably doing so at the most affordable cost. Now, if you are one of the very lucky ones who have comprehensive infertility treatment insurance coverage (very few do) then you may not be motivated by what I’m about to suggest. But wouldn’t it be nice to know, based on IVF treatment cost and reported success rates (live birth), which physician or practice in your community offers the best value?
You probably go through this process already with many other purchases you make. What’s a better value: a 6-ounce tube of toothpaste at $2.89 or a 7.2-ounce tube at $3.12? If you answered the second, more expensive tube, you are a good value-driven consumer. Wouldn’t it be handy if you could make the same assessment for infertility? You can, with a little diligence.
Here’s how to assess the best value in fertility clinic offerings:
1.) Find the success rate for the age group and IVF treatment option you expect to have. This information is published by a group called the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART). Not all physicians or practices report this data, which is voluntary.
2.) You will need the base cost of the IVF treatment cycle you plan on. Try to obtain a comprehensive itemization of fees so you can compare apples to apples.
3.) Use this formula: (1 divided by SART success rate expressed as a decimal) times (cycle cost) = cost per live birth. For instance, if a infertility practice near you is quoting an IVF cycle for $11,000 and they report to SART a 40% (0.40) success rate for your age group, the formula would look like (1 divided by 0.40) times $11,000 = $27,500 cost per live birth.
Remember, while some couples do get pregnant on their first attempt at IVF, most do not. This formula can help you define value and help in making your decision about where to go when you have choices.