Insemination · IVF · Pregnancy

The cost of IUI and IVF

Apart from wanting to connect with and update family and friends around the world, the main purpose of this website is to connect with LGBTQ+ families who are trying to conceive, and families who are struggling with infertility. Having gone through both intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to conceive our little one currently growing in G’s uterus, we know a lot about the process and procedure in Germany. We want to be completely transparent about the process, and more importantly about the costs, because trying to conceive with additional help is expensive! Hopefully this post opens your eyes to our world a little more, and you gain some insight into how much it can cost to conceive a child through IUI and IVF, particularly with no support from the government and health insurance agencies.

Disclaimer: This is our journey, and what you are about to read is what we went through in Berlin, Germany. Other couples in other cities and countries around the world, at different fertility clinics, at home, etc. may go through a similar or completely different process. We hope this post simply helps others to understand what costs might be involved in their process, should they find themselves identifying with two women trying to conceive a baby the unconventional way.

Administration costs: €1800 (plus tax)

We wrongly assumed that the upfront administration costs would cover a lot more than it actually did. We thought the ultrasounds, insemination procedure(s) and use of the equipment were covered in this section, but don’t be fooled by this upfront fee, because it didn’t cover a damn thing. We essentially paid this fee to register with the fertility clinic. It took a huge chunk out of our savings, but without it, we wouldn’t have been able to start the trying to conceive process.

Medical tests: €145.72

These costs were partly covered by our health insurance provider and were necessary before any treatment could begin. They tested for infections, blood type and risk factors, in addition to other important medical type things that I don’t know the translation for!

Sperm and sperm preparation for IUI treatment: €398.65 for the first three tries, and €410.55 for the following four tries. A total of €2838.15 was spent on sperm!

Doing the calculations now, I can’t believe we spent this much on sperm. And this was only for the IUI treatment!

Fertility clinic services for IUI treatment: €1982.10 for all seven tries

The cost of the services included each and every ultrasound, phone call, piece of advice given, check-up, vaginal treatment, insemination procedure, test tube used, blood test, acupuncture treatment, and the list goes on. Basically, every time they touch, talk or look at you, you have to pay. This was difficult to get used to at first, because we really couldn’t believe a lot of this wasn’t included in the administration fees, but in the end, it mostly made sense. The staff at our fertility clinic were always wiling to explain each invoice and what each part of the invoice meant.

Medication for IUI treatment: Approximately €355.65

The medication for the IUI treatment included many rounds of the injection that initiates ovulation (Brevactid), and hormone tablets such as progesterone and oestrogen. It’s hard to say exactly how much we spent, as we didn’t keep all the receipts.

Medication for IVF treatment: €619.73

Before the egg retrieval procedure could take place, G had to be injected with a fertility drug every day for 10 days in a row, which then allowed her body to produce more follicles and therefore eggs before ovulation. In addition, to ensure that her body didn’t dispose of those extra eggs, she had to use a nasal spray to counteract the use of the fertility drug. Brevactid was also necessary again, as was the use of hormone tablets.

Anaesthesia for egg retrieval procedure: €294.47

This basically covered the costs of having an anaesthesiologist present and working during G’s egg retrieval procedure.

Sperm for IVF treatment: €410.55

We had to fertilise those eggs somehow!

IVF treatment: €2462.02 for two cycles

The cost of the IVF treatment was steep. It included monitoring of G’s eggs through to fertilisation, follicle treatment, sperm preparation for IVF, acupuncture and the embryo transfers. Again, basically everything was billed to our invoice!

Cryopreservation: €600

After the egg retrieval procedure, we were able to freeze one fertilised egg ready for G’s second cycle should the first one be unsuccessful. This fee covered the cost of freezing that last fertilised egg (which would go on to be our little one currently in G’s uterus) for 6 months.

Sperm reservation for P: €297.50

With G now pregnant, we had to look to the future and reserve the same sperm for when I finally start trying to conceive. We want our children to be biologically related, so in case our sperm donor stops donating sperm, we had to reserve a batch for then.

FINAL TOTAL OF ALL COSTS: Approximately €11,805.89

We could not have afforded this without the support of our wonderful parents. G’s parents lent us money, and my parents paid for part of our holiday to the Philippines. We are so grateful to them.

Hopefully this post has given you some insight into the financial costs of trying to conceive a child in a same-sex family. This is actually the first time we calculated all the costs, and to be honest, it is quite overwhelming to think we spent so much money on this process. It wasn’t easy, and we did have struggles along the way, but we were both determined and stubborn as hell. We were not willing to give up on starting a family.

Thank you for all your love and support.

Insemination · IVF · Pregnancy

Decision to do IVF

A lot of people ask us how we got pregnant (because, you know, two women can’t make a baby without some form of help just yet), and I am always incredibly proud to say that it was through IVF. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma attached to IVF and I honestly don’t know why. Is it because of ignorance? Religion? Cost? The process is absolutely amazing, and allows women to fulfil their dream of carrying a child. It puzzles me how often women are quick to judge and comment on another woman’s choice to do whatever the heck she wants. Why aren’t we praising each other and lifting each other up? Aren’t there already enough people out there who want to put us down? Why do we go and do that to our fellow sisters?

The view from our Fertility Clinic

But… I digress. Our decision to undergo IVF was an easy, yet difficult one to make. There were many factors in the decision-making process, but ultimately, it was the next (and last) option for us.

During our Summer holidays in 2016, we tried three cycles of IUI. It was the perfect time to just try as often as possible, because “G” was super relaxed and we didn’t have to worry about taking time off work or stressing about how to ovulate at the right time outside of working hours. During our sixth unsuccessful insemination, our regular fertility doctor was on holidays, so “G” met with his colleague. She immediately asked “G” why we were still trying with the IUI process and not taking the IVF route or even switching utero to ME! We were actually quite shocked by this, as despite “G” being 37,  she has always been really healthy and way above average, medically speaking. IVF simply wasn’t on our radar, and the later thought was downright rude.

** Quick side note on why we both think the switching uterus comment is rude. Quite a lot of people asked us why we didn’t switch to me, or when we would decide to switch to me, or even simply suggested switching to me, because clearly everyone else knows best. I know our friends and family were not intending to be rude, and probably didn’t think twice about the comments, but for us, these comments really hurt. If it was a heterosexual couple, would you suggest switching to someone else’s uterus so quickly? “G” wanted to get pregnant first, and I totally and 100% supported her in this. My time will definitely come. We weren’t going to give up so quickly, especially since we hadn’t tried everything.

After our seventh unsuccessful insemination attempt, we decided to weigh up our options and talk more about IVF. “G” and I weren’t in a good place, and our relationship was under strain. I certainly didn’t feel like we were connecting, and “G” was feeling 10 times worse than me. Imagine feeling like your uterus is failing every time a big fat negative appears on a test, or when your period comes. On the outside, we projected the image of a happy couple, but deep down, we were devastated. We both hated the thought of going out, so we’d spend days at home, wallowing in our despair. This probably wasn’t the best thing to do, but at the time, it felt like it was the only thing we could do to cope.

Our regular fertility doctor supported our decision to try something new, so we continued down this path. Up until this point, we had done everything naturally, with no additional hormones or medication. “G” was physically fit, so our fertility doctor didn’t suggest anything different. In fact, he was always super positive and happy. Seriously, the guy whistled every time “G” opened her legs.

The stirrups

Although we were both extremely crushed at the time, we had to keep thinking about the fact that seven failed cycles was actually not a bad statistic at all. It can take couples years to conceive a child without any assistance, so we needed to stay positive. Easier said than done.

We had a few things going against us that required us to speed up the trying to conceive process. The biggest factor that we had to consider was finances. IUI and IVF aren’t cheap options; sperm costs money, the procedures cost money. Everything that touches and doesn’t touch you, costs money. We are extremely grateful and fortunate to live in Germany, as the costs are much cheaper than in the UK, US and Australia, but they are still steep. We had to budget and save constantly.

We didn’t want to keep paying for IUI attempts when the probability of getting pregnant was much lower than the success rate of IVF treatment. Each IUI had a 13% chance of success as opposed to 40-50% with IVF. The switch to IVF was a no-brainer at this point.

So, after that Summer, we took a couple of months to regroup and get back on our feet before starting the IVF process. It wasn’t always easy, and we fought and cried and hugged each other a lot, but ultimately, we both wanted the same thing, so we kept going.