Fertility problems are common in Canada, with about one in six couples having difficulty conceiving a child. Despite this prevalence, the decision to undergo fertility treatments is both personal and expensive.
Options for medical fertility assistance include In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). Artificial insemination costs in Canada depend on several factors, including required medication, fertility clinics, medication, and medical needs. It’s also possible that couples may need more than one treatment, which carries an additional expense.
In many cases, fertility treatments can cost several hundred dollars to over $12,000 per treatment cycle. It helps to know what IUI and IVF entail to better understand what expenses you may need to pay.
You will also need to conduct thorough research to learn about ways to pay for your treatments, whether you receive partial coverage through third-party insurance or provincial health plans. Because the cost of artificial insemination in Canada is so high, it’s often necessary to seek additional means to cover the expenses.
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Seeking Fertility Assistance
For many Canadians, the first step in planned conception is a deep look into lifestyle choices. For instance, you might change your diet to include more nutritional foods or monitor ovulation cycles. While those changes do come with some costs, when you seek medical assistance, the expenses really begin to add up.
Seeking services from a fertility clinic usually involves several appointments and testing to determine the cause of possible infertility. Depending on you and your partner’s health and medical situation, one or both of you may need to take a cocktail of fertility drugs to make you more susceptible to fertilization. You may also require surgery to repair problems within the reproductive system and hormone therapy to even out unbalanced hormones.
Fertility medications like oral clomiphene citrate tablets and a mix of prenatal vitamins, iron, Omega fatty acids, and vitamins B12, C, and D may make it possible to conceive naturally. However, if additional help is needed, IUI or IVF may be the next step in the treatment process.
During the intrauterine insemination process, the doctor removes a male partner’s sperm from the seminal fluid through a procedure called sperm washing. The doctor then places the concentrated sperm high in the female partner’s uterus using a sterile catheter before ovulation occurs. The placement of concentrated sperm near the fallopian tubes increases the chance of pregnancy, but it is not a guarantee.
IUI is best for men with mild male factor infertility or unexplained infertility. It is the same process doctors use to inseminate a woman with donor sperm. If using the male partner’s sperm, they will need to provide a sample at the clinic, but the doctor will only use it if the sample has an adequate sperm count.
The artificial insemination process usually includes clomiphene citrate with injectable medications to stimulate the gonads. During the treatment, an ultrasound technician monitors the release of the sperm to ensure that the placement is ideal for natural fertilization.
Though the sperm washing process can take upwards of two hours, the actual insemination may only take 5 to 10 minutes. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, another cycle of treatment may be necessary.
In Vitro Fertilization
IVF is a more expensive fertility treatment, but it has a decent success rate. The reason for the increase in price for treatment is due to the complex nature of the procedure.
A doctor collects mature eggs from the female partner’s ovaries and pairs them with her partner’s sperm or donor sperm to initiate fertilization. Then, the doctor transfers the embryos into the woman’s uterus. One cycle of IVF treatment can take about three weeks, but it usually takes more than one cycle to produce successful implantation that leads to a full-term pregnancy.
In Canada, it is illegal to pay for donor sperm or eggs. Any egg exchange must be altruistic. Donor sperm will come from a sperm bank.
Some of the steps in the first IVF cycle include:
- Ovarian reserve testing will determine how many eggs a woman has and their quality.
- A semen analysis will determine the health of a sperm sample.
- Screening for infectious diseases may be necessary.
- A uterine examination will ensure that the uterus is a hospitable environment for an embryo.
Depending on the doctor and fertility clinic, these services may occur over multiple appointments and incur separate expenses.
Fertility Treatments and Insemination Costs
No fertility treatment is one-size-fits-all. As such, couples will incur various expenses at different levels. Treatments can be cheaper or more expensive depending on the couple’s health, medical needs, fertility clinic choice, required treatments, and choice of fertility procedure.
Below is a rough breakdown of what Canadian couples can expect to spend when seeking fertility treatments.
Cost for Fertility Drugs
To help release and regulate reproductive hormones, fertility drugs are often necessary for women. They could require medication for three to six months before receiving fertility treatments like artificial insemination. With fertility medication, the success rate of conception can range from 20% to 60%.
Clomiphene is the most common fertility drug in Canada. Prescriptions usually begin at $40 for five 50mg pills, but higher dosage pills can exceed $100. Generic versions of clomiphene like Soy Isoflavones are often cheaper.
Cost of IUI
IUI is a non-insured procedure–expect to pay for the process and accompanying treatments out of pocket or find other ways to fund it.
The process includes a sperm wash and uterine injection via a catheter. If you decide to use a concentrated dose of donor sperm, you may need to pay between $400 to $650 to a Canadian sperm bank, not including shipping. If using a male partner’s sperm, they will need to produce a sample on demand.
Most of the costs associated with artificial insemination vary based on the fertility clinic’s rates and requirements, location, and your personal needs. For instance, the clinic may require a counselling or orientation appointment, ranging between $125 to $250. Semen preparation is usually around $200, and storage can reach up to $200 per year.
Other varying costs include:
- Lab tests
- Ovulation predictor kits
- Fertility drugs
IUI treatments usually occur with three inseminations per cycle. The first ranges between $575 to $1,000 on average. The additional inseminations may be the same price as the first or slightly reduced, depending on the clinic’s rates.
Monitoring and bloodwork are sometimes necessary to ensure that the ovarian stimulation is safe and perfectly timed. If a woman requires monitoring, prices range closer to $1,000 to $2,000. Overall, the cost of artificial insemination in Canada can be anywhere from several hundred dollars to $4,000 for one cycle.
Cost of IVF
In most cases, prospective mothers will also need to take fertility medication before undergoing IVF, which carries a conception success rate of 28% to 35%.
IVF treatment expenses include IVF treatment, fertility drugs, and semen analysis for the male partner or donor sperm. The average prices for each are as follows:
- $250 for semen analysis
- $2,500 to $7,000 for fertility medication
- $5,000 for IVF procedure
The final cost for IVF can be anywhere from $7,750 to $12,250 under typical circumstances.
Cost of Donor Eggs, Donor Sperm, and Embryos
IVF procedures can include a frozen embryo transfer from a donor egg and a male partner’s sperm or donor sperm to fertilize a female partner’s egg. Choosing a donor egg or sperm can take a long time, but it has a conception success rate of about 43%. These procedures typically have the same costs as standard IVF treatment.
The process of conceiving through non-traditional means requires a lot of time and trips to the fertility clinic, resulting in shadow expenses. Not only will you have to pay for treatments, medication, and necessary procedures, but you also accrue costs that are easy to overlook.
For example, it’s not unusual for patients to pay for premium parking at fertility clinics. Depending on the clinic’s location and the frequency in which you visit the facility, parking can quickly become a considerable expense exceeding hundreds of dollars.
Another shadow expense is the cost of storing sperm and ovarian reserves for artificial insemination. The price is around $500 for each on average.
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How to Pay for IVF and IUI Cost
About 60% of Canadians have a private health insurance plan to cover medical treatments and prescriptions not part of their provincial insurance coverage. Unfortunately, most insurance companies don’t cover fertility treatments in whole or in part, leaving the insured to cover the bulk of their expenses.
Provincial health plans are generally beneficial, but currently, only four territories have government funding for fertility treatments, including Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Quebec.
The expenses surrounding fertility treatments like IUI and IVF will quickly add up, so finding ways to help with payments is essential for most Canadian couples attempting to conceive.
Before seeking treatment, it’s best to compare private insurance providers to determine if they offer coverage and in what capacity. No insurance agency covers all fertility expenses, but partial coverage is still helpful.
If you are currently undergoing treatment, you can submit your medical expenses from IUI or IVF through the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC). With this method, it’s possible to claim all out-of-pocket medical fees related to the procedure.
METC is a non-refundable tax credit that reduces the amount of taxes owed. Though it won’t cover the cost of fertility treatments or drugs, it can reduce overall yearly expenses, which can possibly free up additional money for out-of-pocket payments.
It’s also possible to pay for treatment using private grants like the Generations of Hope Fertility Assistance Fund. This grant can help cover some drug fees and up to $6,000 of total treatment costs.
Another common payment choice is with a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) as part of a group benefits package from an employer. Independent contractors, the self-employed, or business owners can also open an HCSA for personal use.
An HCSA offers reimbursement for procedures, services, prescription drugs, and medical supplies that are not part of the private insurance or provincial coverage. It can be part of a flexible benefits plan or a traditional benefits plan as a standalone insurance product and doesn’t require insured persons to pay deductibles, claims processing fees, or premiums to use their flexible benefits. HCSAs also come with tax benefits.
Choose Extended Healthcare Benefits to Reduce Fertility Treatment Costs
Receiving IUI or IVF is a personal choice for couples wishing to conceive, but cost concerns deter many from seeking help. Though government health plans don’t provide coverage throughout Canada, with the exception of four provinces, it’s still possible to find assistance with paying for treatment.
If you need assistance finding the right plan for your business’s group benefits plan, turn to Group Enroll. Our knowledgeable representatives can help you select affordable insurance products from the nation’s leading insurance companies.
We can provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of what you can expect to receive from various insurance plans and products, including those that provide some coverage for fertility treatments. Fill out our quick quote form today to learn more about your options. You can also email us at [email protected] with any questions.