Just a quick one today! One of the most frequently asked questions about IVF abroad is “how much does it really cost?” We already looked at the average cost of IVF in different countries as well as the cost of different clinics in the Czech Republic in this post.
But how much did we actually end up spending? Does it jive with what the clinic has on their website?
Let’s take a look:
In total, we spent close to $4,000 on one fresh IVF cycle including meds, the vitrification, and storage cost for the leftover embryos. The clinic charged exactly what they quoted us when we first contacted them (which is also the same amount listed on their website). No unpleasant surprises there!
Additionally, we opted to do some of the necessary bloodwork and EKG’s at the clinic because it was much easier and cheaper to do it there than doing it at home in the US.
We also paid extra to freeze our leftover embryos in separate straws, something which isn’t really necessary since they allow freezing of 2 embryos per straw. But since we will opt to transfer the embryos one by one, we don’t want to put the embryos through too many freeze, thaw, refreeze cycles. We could have shaved off another $118 by freezing them in pairs.
IVF Medication Cost
As for the meds, we came very close to what we originally estimated it would cost in this post. We bought some of the IVF meds online beforehand, but if we bought them all at the clinic we would have saved another $200.
In stark contrast, buying the medication from a pharmacy in the US would have been more than $6,000!
Travelling itself cost us $1,423, including airfare, accommodations, and food/restaurants for the two of us.
Which brings us to a grand total of $5,404. Yes, that is >$500 less than what we would have paid for just the IVF meds if we would’ve bought it at the local Walmart pharmacy, even after goodrx.com coupons! Absolutely unreal, isn’t it? And remember, whether bought in Europe or the US, the meds are exactly the same.
It almost feels like we entered a “Buy your meds here and get an IVF cycle plus 2 week stay in Europe for free” promotion!
The World Of Credit Card Rewards
We were able to use our credit cards for both the IVF treatment and the meds at our clinic. This is pretty great if you ask me. You see, with credit cards you can pay for it spread out over 1 or even 2 years. The interest rate isn’t even all that bad at 16.99%.
Just kidding!! 😉
We pay off our balances religiously every month. Instead, we sign-up for a new credit card (or 2) every few months. Banks love “new customers”, and they reward you handsomely if you play the game right. Just before we left, we signed up for two new credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Barclays American Aviator Red card. For the Chase card we had to spend (and then immediately pay off, of course) $4,000 (regular spend, tax payments, whatever, it doesn’t matter) and in return get 60,000 points (Ultimate Rewards), worth about $750 towards travel. For the American Airlines card, we got 60,000 AA miles (more than enough for a roundtrip to Europe) in exchange for a $95 annual fee (no spending required for this one). Together, this is more than enough to get us both to and from Europe, instead of having to pay for heavily inflated last-minute tickets.
Credit cards are awesome for those who know how to use them responsibly. We must have gotten over $10,000 in travel-related bonuses over the last couple of years. Still, we’ve never carried a balance on any of ’em and our credit scores are excellent. Credit card bonuses expire, change, and re-appear all the time, and there are many rules to think of, such as limits to how soon you can re-apply, but it’s certainly worth keeping on eye out for!
So overall, we’re pretty happy with how much (or little) we spent on IVF treatments.
I can’t even imagine how devastated we would have been had we paid the ~$20,000 for an IVF cycle in the US and we had the same outcome (ie. unsuccessful). One way of looking at it is that by doing it abroad, we could just “focus” on feeling sad about the outcome, and not how much money we lost in the process. Had we spent that much, it would’ve added a whole ‘nother layer of worrying about whether we could afford giving it another go.
The upcoming frozen transfer(s?) will be even cheaper as those meds are dirt cheap and the transfer itself costs less than $750. Also, there’s no need for an extended time abroad so we are thinking of just going for a couple of days, thus cutting down our travel expenses.
The moral of the story is that we believe people shouldn’t just forgo seeking infertility care just because of the associated cost. Paying $5,000 is still about $5,000 more than I preferred to have spent, but I think we can all agree that it’s a lot more manageable than paying 4-fold!