In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most widely known methods of assisted reproductive technology due to its higher success rate compared with other methods. Its effectiveness makes it expensive, but the cost should not hinder couples from trying out this method. Several programs, such as Compassionate Care, are present to assist them financially.
The Compassionate Care is an income-based program available to US citizens who are at least 18 years old and currently going through fertility treatment with a physician. Eligible patients should not have any insurance that covers their fertility medications and should have qualifying annual household gross incomes.
This article will discuss the breakdown of the cost of having one IVF cycle in order to give a perspective on the importance of financial assistance programs such as Compassionate Care. Further, it will provide essential details regarding the program, including eligibility and requirements, terms, coverage, and other pertinent information that the patient will need to enroll for it.
How Much Does IVF Cost?
The cost of treatment is one of the biggest sources of concern for patients when deciding which fertility method to use. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is among the most effective methods; however, it is also one of the most expensive.
On average, the cost per IVF cycle is around $20,000, based on the data from Fertility IQ. This sum accounts for the medication costs and procedure expenses. However, most patients go through two to three cycles before successfully conceiving a child. It means that the total cost can add up to $40,000 to $60,000.
Pre-IVF fertility testing and consultations cost about $1,300 to $4,600. It includes the visit to the endocrinologist, evaluation of the uterus and ovaries through pelvic ultrasound, blood tests to check fertility, and semen analysis. The most expensive ($800 – $3,000) is the hysterosalpingogram (HSG), which is an x-ray test that uses a contrast dye to assess the patency of fallopian tubes and the uterus.
The cost of fertility drugs, which is the main coverage of the Compassionate Care program, ranges from $3,000 to $5,000. It includes all medications before egg retrieval until after embryo transfer.
For the laboratory procedures, the cost is about $3,250. It includes the processes after egg retrieval, such as oocyte culture, fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), blastocyst culture, and assisted hatching. Additional genetic testing of the embryo will cost around $4,750.
Lastly, for the embryo transfer, the cost is about $3,000. It includes the laboratory preparation of the embryo and the procedure of transferring the embryo back to the woman’s uterus.
Some clinics may charge less compared with others. However, aside from the price, it is also critical to consider the reputation and success rates of the clinic that the patients are considering.
What is Compassionate Care for IVF Assistance?
Compassionate Care is a program by the EMD Serono company (also known as Merck Serono in other countries). It is a program designed to assist qualified patients with their IVF expenses by providing them with discounts on EMD Serono fertility medications.
This program is available only at participating pharmacies. Furthermore, it cannot be used for prescriptions that may be covered under any type of insurance – either public or private. Similarly, it is not valid for prescriptions that are already covered or may be reimbursed by state or federal healthcare programs, such as TRICARE, Medicaid, Medicare, Department of Defense, the Fertility Veterans Act, Department of Veterans Affairs, and similar programs. Lastly, the prescription must not be covered under any assistance programs by state medical pharmacies.
The program is not an insurance plan, and EMD Serono has the right to terminate, revoke, rescind, or amend the program at any time without prior notice.
Who are Eligible for the Program?
The eligibility for this program is mainly based on the qualifying patient’s household gross income. However, the actual income brackets are not disclosed or publicly available. This information will only be provided to the patients after submitting the initial enrollment forms for the program.
The program is only available to US citizens or permanent residents. In addition, the patient should be at least 18 years old. Also, it can only be used if the patient is currently going through fertility treatment with a physician. People who are just planning and who haven’t officially started the IVF cycle yet cannot avail of the program. This policy is to avoid the illegal reselling of the medicines at a lower price in the black market.
More importantly, in order to qualify for this program, the patient should not have existing insurance that covers fertility medications. Fortunately, it is not difficult to comply with this requirement. Although most US citizens (above 90%) have health insurance plans, they do not cover fertility treatments. However, these insurance plans may cover diagnostic testing for infertility.
How to Enroll in the Program?
Upon meeting all requirements, the patient needs to accomplish a form from the EMD Serono fertility website in order to proceed with the enrollment. Personal details, address, and contact information will be needed. The form will also require details about the patient’s current treatment, including the medications that the patient is prescribed to take.
The program is not transferable, meaning only the patient who applied for the program can use the benefits. It cannot be passed even to a relative. Also, the program expires one year after the program enrollment, but the patient can reapply each year, and it can be used for multiple IVF cycles per year.
What are Fertility Drugs Covered by the Program?
The Compassionate Care program covers the following fertility medications by EMD Serono:
- Gonal-f ® RFF* Redi-ject ® (follitropin alfa injection) 300 IU
- Gonal-f ® RFF* Redi-ject ® (follitropin alfa injection) 450 IU
- Gonal-f ® RFF* Redi-ject ® (follitropin alfa injection) 900 IU
- Gonal-f ® Multi-Dose (follitropin alfa for injection) 450 IU
- Gonal-f ® Multi-Dose (follitropin alfa for injection) 1050 IU
- Gonal-f ® RFF* (follitropin alfa for injection) 75 IU, single vial pack
- Gonal-f ® RFF* (follitropin alfa for injection) 75 IU, 10 vial pack
- Ovidrel ® PreFilled Syringe (choriogonadotropin alfa injection) 250 mcg
- Cetrotide ® (cetrorelix acetate for injection) 0.25 mg
How Much will be Discounted?
As mentioned, the Compassionate Care program is income-based. Therefore, the discount applied to the products varies depending on the annual gross income of the patient’s household. The patient may qualify for a minimum of 25% up to a maximum of 75% off the retail price of fertility medications from EMD Serono, or use a mail-in rebate offer to avail $10 off for every unit purchased.
- Eligible active, veteran or retired US military receive a minimum of 25% off and might be eligible for additional savings up to 50% or 75% off the self-pay price of select EMD Serono Fertility medication
Eligible active, veteran or medically retired US military will automatically receive a 25% discount off the retail price of select fertility medications by EMD Serono. These patients may also be eligible for additional savings up to 50% or 75% off of the same medications depending on their annual incomes.
To avail of the discount, enrolled patients only need to present a valid prescription for the fertility drug to any participating pharmacy. There is no minimum purchase required to use the discount. However, this program cannot be used with any free trial offer, coupon, rebate, or similar promo. For instance, if the patient has a discount coupon for a particular EMD Serono fertility drug, the patient can either use the coupon or use the program’s discount, but not both for the same fertility drug at the same time.
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods are often expensive, especially the more effective and common ones, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, there are plenty of programs designed to help patients financially when it comes to their fertility treatment expenses. One such program is the Compassionate Care program by the EMD Serono company. It is an income-based program intended to provide eligible patients with savings on fertility medications. Meeting the requirements and enrolling in this program is very easy, thus helping couples who may otherwise not be able to afford fertility treatments.