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The business of baby-making

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Thursday, April 10, 2008 | 0 comments

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According to the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) 2002 National Survey on Family Growth, 1.2 million of the estimated 62 million women in their reproductive years – that's two percent – have had infertility-related medical appointments; 10% have received infertility services.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) reports that most infertility cases – 85%-90%, in fact – are treated with conventional medical therapies (medication or surgery.) But for some, in vitro fertilization and other Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are needed to try and conceive.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
How does it work: Intrauterine insemination, also known as artificial insemination, involves a woman being injected with washed and treated sperm from her husband or a donor during ovulation. During this time, she must also take fertility drugs to stimulate egg production. Couples may try IUI if there is a problem with low sperm count or mobility, or another unexplained infertility condition.

How much does it cost? Costs associated with IUI's vary, as with other procedures, and are dependent on how many cycles a woman goes through and whether the sperm is donated, as well as additional costs associated with medication, ultrasounds and monitoring. Ranges for IUI cycles can be anywhere from the mid $300's to the $1000's, and, as with all infertility treatments, eligibility for insurance coverage depends on where you live, the clinic you are visiting and your insurance carrier.

In vitro fertilization (IVF)

How does it work? In vitro fertilization takes place in a lab rather than in a woman's fallopian tubes. Eggs are surgically removed and fertilized with sperm in a dish before a fertilized embryo is transferred into the uterus. According to the CDC, this is the most widely used ART procedure, accounting for 90% of ART cycles in the US.

How much does it cost? One cycle of IVF can cost well over $6,000, with many women having to undergo more than one cycle for success.

Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT)
How does it work? Gamete intrafallopian transfer requires the removal of eggs and sperm and placing them directly into the fallopian tube. Rather than fertilization occurring in the lab, GIFT takes place inside the fallopian tubes.

How much does it cost? Estimates for GIFT procedures run in the double digits, with an average cost of more than $12,000.

Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)

How does it work? Zygote intrafallopian transfer involves fertilizing a woman's egg in a dish and surgically transferring that egg into the fallopian tubes.

How much does it cost? ZIFT procedures can cost more than other ART procedures with an average range of $15,000+ per cycle.

Next: Egg donation and surrogacy options


Image: Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation, by Ellen Sarasohn, Evelina Weidman Sterling. Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Pub; 1 edition (January 15, 2012)Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation
by Ellen Sarasohn, Evelina Weidman Sterling

-- A comprehensive book for people considering parenthood through donated ova, and those supporting them.

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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