Fertility treatment is crazy expensive and there are no guarantees, but a recent NIH-sponsored study “concluded that women who were fast-tracked to IVF [in vitro fertilization] got pregnant three months faster on average, and spent $10,000 less than those who went through the usual preliminaries.” The conclusion: it may not be wise for insurers to require women to run the gauntlet of other treatments before trying IVF.
IVF is usually the third stage of the process, after the woman first tries clomiphene pills to help trigger ovulation, which costs about $500, then tries hormone shots, which costs about $3,000. Over the course of the treatment, skipping hormone shots and going straight to IVF averaged out to about $61,000, versus $71,000 to do it the traditional 3-stage way.
Getting pregnant three months sooner is actually a big deal, says the article, for patients who are nearing the end of their “fertile years.” It also reduced the amount of time the patients went through psychological trauma—”Fast-tracking can mean fewer episodes of dashed hopes. That could lead to less depression, anxiety, and stress, which hurts marriages and, some claim, may lower one’s chances of conceiving.”