How to Make IVF Affordable in the US

Iva Skoch’s new Newsweek article on the high cost of IVF in the United States makes some really great points. One point that bears repeating is that that the cost of IVF in the U.S. won’t be affordable by the masses until we can find a way to create more reproductive endocrinologists and other fertility specialists. When Lasik was first introduced, it was much more expensive than it is today, largely because we have many more opthalmologists who can perform the operation and greater competition among providers has driven down the cost for patients:

According to a study by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, published in The Human Reproduction Update last month, direct costs of fertility treatment vary substantially between countries, but the U.S. stands out as notably more expensive than other countries. While the average price of IVF treatment in Japan was 3,149 euros ($4,012) and Belgium’s 2,441 euros ($3,109), the U.S. averaged 10,812 euros ($13,775). The next highest nation on the list after the U.S. was Canada, with a substantially lower cost of 6,766 euros ($8,740). On top of that, American facilities only met one quarter of the estimated demand for fertility treatment. The underutilization of fertility treatments is especially noticeable within minorities and low-income patients.

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But in each of those countries, health insurance covers a certain number of cycles of in vitro fertilization. If Americans want more affordable IVF, we need to make insurance companies cover the cost of fertility treatments.

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One Response to How to Make IVF Affordable in the US

  1. Karl January 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    At the beginning of 2011 my health insurance coverage went up in price over 10 percent. Together with more job losses in this country, and large numbers of people already jobless, I do not know how many individuals are going to be able to get access to cost effective medical care without some kind of federal government help.