IUI Cost: The True Cost of the IUI Procedure in the USA
There are many factors that go into deciding if IUI is right for you. One of those things you’ll likely be considering as you explore your fertility treatment options is cost. It’s important that you understand both the cost for a single IUI procedure, but also the cost for you to bring home a baby with IUI. That means when you ask, “how much does IUI cost” it’s not only important to consider the cost of a single IUI cycle, but also the success rates of an IUI of someone with a similar infertility diagnosis. Infertility, is usually diagnosed after having both male and female fertility testing and the consultation of a reproductive endocrinologist.
If you’re considering whether or not IUI is a good fit for you and curious about the cost of an IUI (or the multiple IUIs it may take you to have a baby), keep reading. We’ve compiled this resource to help you navigate the key factors that influence IUI cost and what to be aware of before embarking on your IUI journey.
How Much Does an IUI Cost Per Cycle?
An IUI can cost $450 to over $4,000 for a single cycle. That incredibly large range is affected by three important components that may or may not be used in your cycle.
- Monitoring and Bloodwork – Ultrasound and bloodwork “monitoring” is done to ensure a safe (avoiding multiples and hyperstimulation) and properly timed (done before ovulation or before too many follicles) for insemination. This generally costs $1000-2000 depending on the clinic.
- Medication – Medication may be used to promote ovulation of one or more eggs. The costs for these medications are highly variable and dependent upon protocol. Costs can be as low as $30 for a letrozole only cycle to about $2000 for a gonadotropin (used often on older patients). A trigger shot is often given to induce ovulation and properly time the insemination. This costs $100 to $300.
- Insemination – Insemination and sperm wash are part of every IUI cycle. This is when the sperm are prepared then injected directly into the woman’s uterus. You can expect this to cost $1000 on average. If you’re using donor sperm, additional costs are incurred through a donor agency.
Summary of IUI Components & Associated Costs
As you can see, the costs range a lot depending on what you and your provider decide is best for your unique situation. While a natural cycle is rather affordable at only $450 and can be a great option of lesbian women – it isn’t often recommended, particularly if the M/F couple has been trying for over a year and has good sperm. Still, for many women like those with ovulation disorders like PCOS, the addition of inexpensive letrozole can yield great results while still being quite affordable. On the other hand, IUIs with injectables (most often prescribed to older women or those with low ovarian reserve as it can result in extremely high odds of multiples otherwise) can become quite costly due to the expensive medications.
While the cost this affordable solution can look enticing based on the per treatment cost, it’s important to dive a little deeper into the costs of what truly matters, the cost per live birth.
What Is the Cost of IUI per Live Birth?
While IUI is often chosen because it represents a less invasive procedure, but as mentioned it is sometimes chosen over IVF because of the cost as the average cost for a single IVF cycle is over $20,000. Upon initial examination, with prices ranging from around $450 to $4,700, IUI costs significantly less and appears to be a good option in relation to IVF. That said, IUIs have lower success rates across the board compared to IVF.
In fact, many practicing reproductive endocrinologists suggest trying only three IUIs before moving onto IVF. This is primarily based on evidence that suggests if an IUI is to be successful, it most often happens within the first three IUI cycles. One study showed that 88% of successful IUIs will take place in the first three cycles and 95.5% within the first 4.
As you can see, the cumulative success of IUIs begins to flatten quite rapidly after the third attempted IUI. That means that after the third or fourth IUI the cost per live birth for IUI treatment begins to skyrockets and cost per live birth begins to favor IVF. As you can see, the cost of a single IUI doesn’t really show you the whole picture of the costs associated with IUI.
Given most fertility clinics only suggest three IUIs before moving on, it’s far more likely that someone will only spend between $450-14,100 before either being successful with an IUI cycle or choosing to move on to IVF. After three cycles, it will become increasingly important to speak to your doctor prior to continuing down your current treatment trajectory.
Remember, the odds of IUI success vary incredibly based on a number of things including age, total motile sperm count, diagnosis, medications used, time trying to conceive prior to seeking treatment and more and is best understood with the consult of a fertility doctor.
How Much Does IUI Cost With Insurance?
One notable factor that can push people past a recommended cycle limit with IUIs is the fact that IUI is covered at a much higher rate than IVF and therefore, treatment cost doesn’t factor into the equation as often as it does with IVF.
Still, at the present time, only 17 states have mandated fertility insurance coverage. The degree to which IUIs, medication, and monitoring are covered varies by plan. Additionally, insurance companies sometimes place limitations on the number of procedures that are covered or what specific medications they will cover. Some people will have no out of pocket costs (or those outside of their deductible), while others will be responsible for their entire bill out of pocket. For these reasons, it’s best that you or your doctor’s office contact your insurance plan and see what’s exactly covered for you.
It’s also important to acknowledge that there are many grants, guarantees (typically for IVF or donor eggs only), military discounts, and financing programs available to help afford your fertility care.
Take-Home Points About IUI Cost
- IUIs are very cost-effective on a per cycle basis, particularly IUI cycles that do not use injectable medications (as those usually cost more than the procedure itself).
- Because IUI doesn’t often work the first round and multiple rounds are often needed before pregnancy occurs, the cost per live birth increases quickly. It is usually a good time to speak to a doctor about your options after failing three IUIs as IVF may become more time and cost favorable due to its high success rates.
- The costs of IUI may not be as important to you as the cost of IVF as insurance coverage tends to be more favorable for IUI treatment.
- IUI may or may not be a good treatment option regardless of price, so it’s important to have testing and consider more than just costs with your fertility doctor.