The cost and financing of embryo freezing may be an important factor in deciding whether or not to pursue IVF. Embryo freezing, or embryo cryopreservation, is an important advancement in the treatment of infertility. After egg retrieval, embryos can be frozen for an indefinite period of time. This allows you to get multiple transfer attempts out of one ovarian stimulation procedure. It also allows for siblings if you get pregnant with the first transfer. If you have embryos left over, and you have decided you do not want more children, you can have them destroyed or donate them to another infertile couple. Women who will undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer may opt for embryo freezing, to preserve future fertility. At this time, it is not possible to freeze unfertilized eggs.
In order to retrieve eggs for fertilization, you must take daily drug injections. This stimulates the ovaries to produce many more eggs than during a normal cycle. The eggs are then retrieved via a hollow needle. All of the good quality eggs are fertilized with sperm from either your partner or a sperm donor. The resulting embryos are graded for quality, and some are inserted into your uterus. Any embryos of good quality that are not transferred can be frozen indefinitely. Embryo freezing is a complicated process that involves removing all water from the embryo and replacing it with a liquid that does not expand when frozen. The embryos can be thawed and implanted at a later date.
The cost of freezing embryos will vary depending on your individual clinic. Costs range from around $2,000 for initial freezing, plus a yearly maintenance fee of around $600. Most insurance companies do not cover this cost, but some do. It is worth it to check with your insurance company.
There are currently 15 states that mandate insurance coverage of fertility treatments. This is all or part of the total cost, depending on your state. The states that require this are: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia.
If your insurance company does not cover the cost of fertility treatments, or only covers some costs, you still have some other options. One way is to get a loan. There are several companies that offer loans for the sole purpose of paying for the treatment of infertility. Some offer a refund guarantee, which will give a total or partial refund if you have not conceived a baby in a designated timeframe. There is also the option of a personal loan, which may have better or worse terms than a fertility loan. You will never get a guarantee with a personal loan, however.
There are also a few companies that offer grants to help those who cannot pay for fertility services. The foundation Fertile Dreams offers a $10,000 grant to pay for IVF. Sharing cycles is another possibility. You agree to share embryos or eggs with another couple, and you split the costs. If you have extreme financial need, you may qualify for a scholarship from The InterNational Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc., which will cover all of your fertility needs.