Even IVF, it seems, is discriminatory.
New data has shown women in households earning more than $100,000 a year are more than twice as likely to fall pregnant and bring that baby to term using In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), compared to women in households that earn less.
The same trend is seen in egg freezing, and is prevalent across all groups of women – regardless of their age, race, education level and geographic location.
This may sound unsurprising. Considering the cost of IVF is so exorbitant, it makes sense that wealthier households will be able to afford a greater number of cycles, and therefore have increased chances of success.
But it’s not that simple.
The data, released by Fertility IQ in the U.S., examined 1,000 women and found participants paid an average of $16,500 per IVF cycle. Despite the difference in income, only 20% of wealthier women underwent more cycles than lower-income earners.
So if it’s not the number of cycles, what is it?
In Australia, where IVF is not cheap, but it’s also not as expensive as it is in the U.S., a gap in success rates between high and low income earners might be due to the type of clinic women choose to access. On one end of the spectrum, there’s your ‘day spa’ IVF clinics that cost around $4,300 per cycle (after the Medicare rebate is deducted, which is also around $4,000) . In comparison, there’re the ‘budget’ options, which offer stripped-back and standard IVF cycles for around $2,100.
The difference in cost between these clinics comes down to cutting costs in certain areas. For example, bulk billing blood tests and ultrasounds; using lower doses of medication; and eliminating the need for a day in hospital for egg collection.
The catch? Different clinics have different success rates. And the data around these success rates are not made viewable to the public. In 2012, a report by Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD), looked into the success rate of IVF at different clinics. The results varied from a 4% rate of live babies from each cycle, to a 32% success rate per cycle.