Why Does Mini IVF Lower Cost and How Much Does Mini IVF Cost?

The high cost of infertility treatment in the US is one of the top reasons why hundreds of couples do not pursue it. While IVF is the most desirable option of all in family building opportunities, it is sadly the least opted one. The aspect of cost and lack of insurance in several states puts couples in a state of dilemma. The inability, to pay from the pocket for the fertility treatment remains one of the most stressful factors when trying to build a family.

Amidst this, Mini IVF introduced itself as a half priced version of IVF, with an equal success rate- drastically raising the opportunity bar for infertile couples. For women above 35 years of age, the success rate of Mini IVF is higher compared to the conventional fertility treatment. Not only does the technique requires fewer drugs, but also has cost benefits.

Why does Mini IVF lower cost?

Mini IVF is a new advancement in the IVF technology designed to recruit a few high quality eggs from the body. This not only reduces the risk of hyperstimulation, but also the number of injections required which automatically reduces the cost.

Women who have had a poor quality of embryos in the conventional IVF procedures can achieve pregnancy with the Mini IVF. This natural stimulation approach is not only a simplified procedure but also saves the woman from a great deal of pain and cost. Mini IVF cost is without any doubt the most attractive factor in this.  But there is more about the procedure than just the cost.

How does it work?

By keeping a check on the menstrual cycle, a low dose of Clomid 50mg is given to the patient on the 3rd day of the cycle. The dosage of Clomid continues for up to 5 days (similar to that of a conventional IVF cycle), or till the ultrasound scan displays ready to use follicles. On the 8th. 10th and 12th day a small dose of Gonadotropin is injected.

While Clomid stimulates, it also causes a suppressing effect on the estrogen stimulation which prevents premature ovulation. The simple shift in protocol results in a better development of the high quality eggs. The quality of the eggs is improved because of the increased release of FSH and LH artificially stimulated at the beginning of the cycle.

With a higher percentage of higher quality eggs and less complexity of the treatment, the cost of mini IVF automatically becomes much less than that of conventional IVF.

Another benefit of this protocol is that there is no requirement of Lupron for suppressing the pituitary. By suppressing the premature ovulation there remains no need for other complex procedures that may require a complete cycle of medications.

Mini IVF vs Conventional IVF Procedure

Mini IVF cost overpowers every other factor so much that often times it raises misconceptions about the actual procedure. While people may shout it out as a different and new treatment, it is important to know that it is a simplified technique of IVF. Except for the stimulation of eggs, mini IVF shares several similarities with the conventional method IVF:

–    Number of office visits

–    Medication required for the stimulation of natural ovulation

–    Oocytes retrieval surgery

–    Embryo implantation process

Yes, the cost of mini IVF is comparatively much less, but the standard charges remain more or less the same. In most cases what is more attractive about mini IVF is its ability to avoid the risk of OHSS during the stimulation.

As natural stimulation requires low doses  and low cost of medication, many women are unaffected with the symptoms. The symptoms of OHSS vary from being moderate, severe to mild, depending on the condition of the ovaries. The most difficult of all OHSS symptom is difficulty breathing and continued vomiting.

Mini IVF Cost Differences and Considerations

Average Mini IVF Cost

Apart from the shorter treatment, the cost of mini IVF is the most attractive factor when it comes to the fertility treatment. Infertility in itself comes with a great deal of emotional cost on top of which the burden of financial inability falls. For hundreds of couples, treatment through IVF has remained unapproachable due to its cost. Moreover, there are only 15 states of America that have an insurance law for infertility. The rest of the states cannot even hope for insurance based coverage.

The reason the cost of mini IVF is more affordable compared to the conventional IVF is because of the limited amount of medications required. The basic difference in the two procedures lies between the stimulation of eggs. Mini IVF focuses on retrieving the best eggs for implantation to achieve a healthy pregnancy. This simplification of the procedure brings about the following changes in the costs:

–    Average mini IVF cost in the US: $4,500- $12,000

–    Conventional IVF average cost in America: $12,000-$24,000 (depending on the number of cycles)

Mini IVF procedures:

–    Menstrual cycle regulation

–    Monitoring, blood work, and ultrasound

–    Self-administration of the HCG stimulation injection during the oocytes retrieval

–    Surgical retrieval procedure

–    Embryo culture and transfer

Cost breakdown of Mini IVF

As stated earlier, on average, Mini IVF cost between $5,000 and $7,000 per cycle. The costs could be higher or lower depending on the medications. Some clinics go to great lengths to keep the costs of Mini IVF low. Due to Mini IVF’s somewhat experimental nature, some clinics are willing to work with patients to keep costs reasonable and affordable.

Each step has its own cost. Mini IVF requires less medication and has a lower monitoring process. Mini IVF is best recommended for women under the age of 35, for they have a better ovarian function. Following is a cost breakdown of Mini IVF at one clinic in US:

  • Mini IVF Medication: $789
  • Monitoring: $690
  • Procedure IVF: $4000
  • ICSI (If needed): $850
  • Anesthesia: $550
  • Assisted hatching: $400
  • Blastocyst culture & transfer $400
  • Embryo cryopreservation $ 450

Mini IVF cost of medication

Mini IVF procedure requires a small amount of fertility medication for the stimulation of eggs: Medication costs:

–    Approximately: $1,500

Unlike the conventional method, Mini IVF cost is not a subject to daily injections and drugs. There are just a number of shots required during the entire procedure.  As less medication is required, patients are able to save an average of up to $4,000 on medication.

Mini IVF vs Conventional IVF, which is better?

However, while it may seem quite defined that the cost saving in Mini IVF is due to the lesser need of medication, there is also a need to understand the element of value. The money spent on a traditional IVF cycle gives also gives you a higher chance of taking home a baby.

Although the results may be close, the percentage of getting pregnant with multiple eggs is higher than getting pregnant with a limited number of eggs. Moreover, patients can have their embryos frozen for the next IVF cycle which automatically increases the utility of cost.

Medication is unquestionably a costly element of the treatment. But medication again is not the main expense. The procedures which cost the most are egg retrieval, blood works, and monitoring. Affording the laboratory of a top-notch clinic in the country is impossible for many. Regardless, it is a requirement for both the procedures, yet with differences in complexity.

Mini IVF cost is also a benefit in terms of the lab work required. Because the eggs are monitored in their natural progression, the procedure becomes much easier than conventional IVF. By the 36th hour of the stimulation, egg retrieval surgery is performed. In Mini IVF the only the highest quality eggs are retrieved which puts all your hopes in that single embryo implantation. According to research, Mini IVF has a higher success rate amongst women above 38.

Furthermore, for more patients who have had multiple failed cycles of traditional IVF a lower stimulation is recommended to avoid risk factors. Similarly, patients with tubal blockage in young age should also opt for mini IVF. The mild stimulation in combination with genetic screening is a less complex procedure for patients with medical sensitivity.

Pregnancy Success Rate for Mini IVF

The next question after meeting the cost of mini IVF is whether or not it has the same rate of success. Mini IVF has a higher success rate compared to the natural cycle, yet a lower success rate compared to the conventional IVF cycle. But the reason is that IVF in itself is an uncertain treatment.

You may or may not become pregnant in the first try, but it automatically increases the value of traditional IVF in terms of both cost and utility. Mini IVF is mostly recommended for women above 38 who are likely to have a limited number of high quality eggs left or those who have a tubal blockage. Thus in comparison to standard IVF, the success ratio is 10% for mini IVF and 30% for standard IVF.

Mini IVF insurance

Insurance for infertility is in itself a controversial subject in the US. There are 35 states with no fertility mandate, which clearly strikes you out of the opportunity of getting your infertility treatment covered under the law- whether standard or mini IVF. There are 15 states with fertility mandate and it may reduce the mini IVF cost.

Private insurance companies that provide infertility coverage do not restrict their support to different treatment types. Any insurance that covers infertility would include all kinds of treatments. Similarly, in states that have an insurance mandate, the coverage is available for mini IVF to help lightening the cost burden. The same applies to the discount and loan programs offering their support to the infertile couples in the US.

Low Cost Mini IVF Clinics

For those who may be considering mini IVF over the standard one, it is encouraged to take all factors into considerations including mini IVF cost, success rate, process. Your choice of the clinic and program matters as much as it does in the standard procedure. Research the best clinic in your state for mini IVF to maximize your chance of taking home a baby. Lastly, based on your medical history and current fertility condition, discuss with a fertility specialist the best treatment option for you.

Many clinics offers Mini-IVF to the patients to lower IVF cost. Here is a list of organizations providing Mini IVF options for infertility treatment.