How Much Does Treatment at a Fertility Clinic Cost in UK?
The financial implications of trying to conceive and how much you should expect to pay for treatment.
Going through the process of fertility treatment can be draining. Emotionally, physically, and financially. For many people, the cost of fertility treatment isn’t something they ever consider until faced with their own struggle to conceive. Then, they may face a substantial bill and the prospect of taking on debt or asking for financial support from family and friends to make their dreams of a family a reality. That’s why it’s important to understand the costs attached to fertility treatment at every stage in the process as well as any procedures and investigations that may be covered free of charge under the NHS.
Is fertility treatment covered under the NHS?The first port of call in your fertility journey should always be your GP. The NHS offers intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) along with other fertility treatments to couples and individuals who meet a certain set of criteria. For most people, this means they should have been trying to conceive for two years naturally and have been diagnosed with a fertility problem.
It’s important to understand that the NHS does not offer unlimited rounds of treatment and this can be impacted by the decisions of local clinical commissioning groups and your age. Women between 23 and 39, for example, can expect to receive three rounds of IVF treatment, while women between 40 and 42 are likely to be offered just a single round.
Why do people choose to use a private fertility clinic?There are many reasons that people opt to use a private fertility clinic. It may be that they are ineligible for treatment on the NHS or have used up their allocation of treatment. It may be that they feel they can obtain a higher quality of care and have greater control of the process by choosing to access treatment privately. Whatever the reason, it’s worth doing your homework before settling on a clinic. A great place to start is the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. They offer fertility clinic reviews from patients and inspectors along with a wealth of advice on how to choose the right clinic for you. It may be useful to visit a number of clinics for an initial consultation to get a feel for the clinic that you feel most comfortable with. After all, you are likely to go through multiple visits and undergo emotionally difficult procedures in this environment. It pays to get it right.
What will we pay at a fertility clinic?Prices vary from clinic to clinic, depending on things like locations, success rates and the services they offer. Private fertility clinics are free to set their own costs and therefore it’s not unusual to see large differences between providers. You should look not only at the costs of the fertility treatments themselves but also at consultations, counselling sessions and any ‘add-ons’ which may improve the effectiveness of any potential treatments. Look for providers that are transparent about their pricing to avoid the pain of hidden fees and extras. Some clinics offer free telephone consultations which are a good opportunity for you to find out more about pricing.
How much should I expect to pay for IUI?Along with IVF, IUI is one of the most common fertility procedures undertaken in the UK. It involves inserting sperm directly into a woman’s womb. It can be undertaken using partner or donor sperm. The cost of this treatment usually varies between around £800 and £1800 for each cycle of IUI treatment. Before IUI it may be useful to carry out fertility tests to try and ascertain the fertility problems that are impacting an individual’s or couple’s ability to conceive. IUI may also be suitable for same-sex couples.
How much should I expect to pay for IVF?IVF or in vitro fertilization is a common fertility treatment where the egg is fertilised with sperm in a laboratory before being placed back in the womb. It may be done with a couple’s own egg and sperm or with a donor egg and sperm. It can be a very expensive procedure and each cycle of IVF carried out privately can cost up to £5000. With success rates of around 30% for women under 35, many couples require multiple cycles of treatment before they conceive and can incur considerable expense.
Are there additional costs to consider?Of course, the cost of the fertility treatment itself is unlikely to be the only financial burden you encounter whilst trying to conceive. There is often the hidden cost of travel and accommodation over the course of appointments and procedures as well as the potential cost of taking multiple absences from work. That’s before you start adding up the emotional cost of moving through the process. It really does pay to take a sensible approach and sit down to budget the full spectrum of likely costs linked to your fertility treatment. It not only helps you prepare for what’s to come but can help to avoid nasty surprises down the line.
What about treatment abroad? Can that save money?Many couples and individuals considering fertility treatment are attracted by the cost of cut-price fertility treatment in another country. The opportunity to save some money and fulfil a dream seems almost too good to be true. And while some fertility clinics based in other countries can offer excellent service and success rates others may fail to match up to the high standards offered by many UK clinics.
You should tread very carefully before deciding to venture abroad for treatment and consider several factors. Firstly, how much will travel costs impact the total ‘real’ cost of your treatment? Yes, the price may be excellent but the cost of multiple trips via plane is likely to wipe out any savings benefit. You should also consider how fertility clinics in the country in question are regulated (if at all) and see how the clinic fares in both patient and official reviews. Finally, it’s important to be aware of the emotional and practical impact of travelling abroad for what is a very intimate and emotional treatment. Can the staff speak English? Will you feel comfortable going through the process in such unfamiliar surroundings? Travelling abroad for treatment is not for everyone and deserves careful and detailed consideration.
The Bottom Line on Fertility Treatment CostThere is no getting away from it. Private fertility treatment comes with a considerable price tag and it’s a sizable financial investment for most people. That’s why it’s vital you step into the process with your eyes wide open. Understand just what your local authority will and won’t cover in terms of NHS treatment and what the waiting times attached to these treatments are. You should also consider beginning to research local private providers sooner rather than later, so as to have a clear idea of costs and treatment options in your area.
The truth is that whatever the cost, there is no price on creating a family. And with a sensible and structured approach, you could invest in the best gift you will ever receive. A precious and much-loved child.