Why is IVF so Expensive?
Many people wonder why IVF is so expensive. One reason is that, unlike other medical procedures, its often not covered by insurance, so patients have to pay out of pocket and that can hurt. If you were undergoing, say, a kidney transplant procedure, with the attendant technological and complicated procedures involved, no one really questions the costs, mainly because medical insurance covers so much of it. Until infertility is seen as a medical condition for which treatment should be universally covered, we are unlikely to see a change in the perception of the high expense. Although IVF does cost about $15-20K for one cycle, with all possible expenses included, the increase in costs over the last 20 years have not risen to anywhere near the extent that other medical services have risen in this time period. This is because we all try to do what we can to be as efficient as possible, mindful of what it costs patients out of their own bank accounts.
Last night, the MDs and PFC managers met for our monthly meeting (usually a 3-4 hour marathon meeting!). We have managers for the following departments: nursing, billing, IT, medical records, the Egg Donor Agency, HR, clinical research and our Laboratory Director. One of the topics under consideration is how we are going to wire the Center to accommodate a large diesel generator we just purchased. We never really use the generator, its only there for emergency power losses. Yet we must have a functioning generator to keep the Center running in case of minor power losses, or heaven forbid, the big quake that damages significant infrastructure. We decided last night to go with the Cadillac plan for re-wiring, allowing us to run the entire Center for several days off the generator and allowing for flexible allocation of the electricity to some or all areas. The difference in cost was $25K for basic wiring and $39K for the most extensive and flexible arrangement. Along with rent, salaries for 70+ employees, including some very highly educated staff, these are some of the hidden expenses that are essential to running a world-class IVF center.