My husband and I live in the US and we’ve been trying to get pregnant for over a year. I have one daughter from a previous relationship, but we decided when we got married that we wanted to try for one more.
As the months after our wedding slipped by, I told myself that if we made it through a year without a single positive pregnancy test, I would schedule us appointments at a local fertility clinic.
We were still young. I was 25 and my husband was 31. I knew we still had plenty of time to have another child. But if we couldn’t get pregnant in a year, I felt like we should see a doctor, just to make sure that there weren’t any obvious problems.
I spoke to a friend who had recently conceived twins through IVF. I got the name of her doctor and quickly called to set up the preliminary appointments. “You’re in luck,” the receptionist told me with enthusiasm. “We have a New Patient Special at the moment.”
Immediately you see the difference between infertility in the United States and infertility in any country with government-funded healthcare, right? Our fertility clinics have “New Patient Specials.” They also have IVF raffles and finance departments. They’re more car dealership than doctor’s office, when you think about it.
As I made my husband and my appointments, noting times and any special requirements down in my day planner, the scheduler explained that the first round of testing would only cost $99 each. It would check my hormone levels and my husband’s sperm count. Of course, the appointment to get our test results and talk them over with the doctor would be another $250. Already, I could see how this process was going add up. No one had even come close to my uterus and we had already paid $450. Things wouldn’t get cheaper from there.
In fact, reproductive health in the United States gets substantially more expensive after those first appointments. According to Resolve, an American infertility association, the average cost of an IUI cycle is $895. If you have to move on to in vitro, you’re looking at roughly $8000. That’s not include any hormones injections or medications.
This is infertility in America, where treatment is a luxury. Here, reproductive technology is only for those who have thousands of dollars to throw around.