IVF is an expensive procedure and it causes a significant economic burden. The cost is because it requires stringent quality control, only specific media which have had animal testing for no toxicity, and precise instrumentation. It also requires highly skilled manpower to make it a successful program. Any IVF center in Delhi which compromises on quality gives poor results. In order to maintain certain quality and standards a cost is incurred which is translated into an IVF cycle. These are costs which are inbuilt into the system and cannot be separated. Hence, many times the patient feels that the cost is not justified.
It is important to analyze and understand the IVF cost and provide the breakup to all availing treatment. The average cost of IVF is 1,00,000 INR to 1,25,000 INR. Cost of oocyte retrieval lab fertilization and embryo transfer are fixed. Injectable drugs cost 30,000 INR to 70,000 INR as this is a variable cost. The cost depends on the type of medication used, where manufactured, (indigenous being cheaper), and dose required. The dose required may vary with each patient, a young patient with a good ovarian reserve and AMH will require less than an older woman with decreasing eggs. Similarly, a thin woman with a low BMI would require fewer injections to stimulate than a woman who is obese. Hence, the cost of injections is a flexible cost. The economic burden of this treatment is directly related to how easily the patient conceives being dependent on whether the patient conceives in one cycle or needs a second or third try.
Understanding the stress these patients undergo, provisions to help these patients with an installment scheme have been introduced. As IVF is advancing many new procedures have come into practice. These have further added to the cost. Laser hatching of the embryo to increase success rates would add to the cost. Specialized sperm selection techniques like PICSI, MAR, and IMSI may have kits and are an added cost. Real-time viewing of embryo development through Embry scope helps in embryo selection. This again has an extra cost.
Very often women undergo an IVF have a poor ovarian reserve where only one or two eggs are retrieved. In these cases, embryo pooling is suggested for better results. Egg retrieval is done 2-3 times without embryo transfer. The embryos are then pooled so that more than one can be transferred. This helps to save the cost of multiple embryo transfers. The only the cost of one embryo transfer is incurred.
Similarly, cost of injections can be brought down by using a low dose stimulation protocol where lower doses are used. However, this low dose stimulation also has a lesser success rate. Hence, it must be kept in mind that any kind of cost cutting can lead to poor success rates.