We understand that IVF is a financial commitment and we want to promote transparency and alleviate your concerns by providing more info about why the various costs are incurred and also what (and when) additional charges may become necessary.
About IVF packages
The different packages have been created to:
- Provide as much certainty as possible to help reduce financial anxiety. We do this by providing a ball-park figure (or ceiling price) as to what the total cost of treatment may amount to.
- This provides surety that the cost of treatment will not change significantly, avoiding the risk of financial burden from a sudden rise in treatment costs.
- Protect the patient from escalation in costs when the treatment requirements are actually more than anticipated. A good example is that no extra cost will be charged to the patient for the additional dosage or combination of medication that is used during the patient’s cycle with us.
What’s usually covered?
Our packages usually cover the following:
- Ultrasound scans
- All medication used for stimulation of the ovaries (no ceiling limit)
- Egg collection procedure
- All laboratory charges regardless if ‘conventional IVF’ or ‘ICSI’
- Blastocyst culture (when appropriate)
- Cryofreezing of all excess embryos
- Embryo transfer procedure
- Medication used after the transfer to help with implantation of the embryo (called luteal phase support)
Please always remember to confirm what parts of your treatment cycle are covered in the package and what additional charges may be incurred outside of the package.
Not all patients are eligible for the package
As our packages are designed based on the average costs incurred for treatment by the majority of patients, some patients (a good example will be the patient with a very poor ovarian reserve, thereby requiring very high dosages of stimulation medication) cannot opt for the package if we anticipate that the package price will not be able to cover the total costs of treatment.
Note that some costs are not covered in the package price
These are not covered in the treatment packages:
- The first consultation - this is the cost of the consultation and/or the ultrasound scan done on the day the treatment programme starts
- All blood investigations:
- Full blood counts and infection screening for both (not required if you already have a previous test in the last 6 months)
- Hormone tests (usually done at least once as the treatment cycle progresses, but may be up to three times)
- Any additional medication or treatment that becomes necessary as a result of some complication arising from treatment
- Registration and nursing fee
- All supplements that you are advised to take to help optimize your fertility such as folic acid
- Any additional medication that we may suggest you take to optimize your fertility such as metformin.
When will additional charges become necessary?
1. Special needle required for egg collection - Sometimes, at the end of the stimulation phase and during the planning stage of egg collection for the patient, the number of follicles noted on the ultrasound scan may be low.
In these circumstances, we would suggest that a special needle, known as a double lumen needle to be utilised during the egg collection procedure to optimize the number of eggs collected. Also, in some circumstances when we have planned to use the normal egg collection needle (single lumen needle) and we find during the procedure that the eggs are not being retrieved as expected, we may decide to change to the special needle. If this occurs, an additional charge will be incurred.
2. Frozen Embryo Transfer - Approximately two days before the egg collection procedure, a blood hormone test is done.
If the progesterone levels are found to be high, we will suggest that the embryos not be transferred. This is because high progesterone levels are associated with poorer chances of pregnancy. In these circumstances, we will suggest that all the embryos are frozen, and the couple returns in approximately 5 weeks for a ‘frozen-thaw’ embryo transfer or FET. While the FET is not complicated, patients need to be aware that besides the inconvenience of the delay, additional charges will apply. The freezing of the embryos is covered in the package but a storage charge will apply. Furthermore, the FET cycle incurs a cost to cover the hormone tablets, laboratory thawing charges and the embryo transfer procedure. Fortunately, a portion of this cost may be offset by the patient not having to pay the embryo transfer charges during the initial fresh cycle.
3. History of complications or implantation failure - Some patients with special problems like ‘recurrent implantation failure’ will require additional procedures and medications which are not part of the package.
4. Embryos to freeze - Should you have extra embryos that are to be frozen for future use, the freezing charges are covered under the package. However, a maintenance storage charge will be charged separately.
5. After successful pregnancy - the blood test that determines if the patient is pregnant approximately 10 to 12 days after the embryo transfer, pregnant patients on luteal support hormones for the final few weeks and lastly, all antenatal visits, ultrasound scans and delivery charges are also separated from package.
When do I need to pay for the treatment cycle?
When you are on the package, the payments are staggered through the cycle. Therefore, the first payment is only due on the day you start the treatment, the second payment will be due on the second visit (usually on the 5" day of injections) and so forth.
When do we pay if we are not on the package?
If you are not on a package, you will be expected to pay per visit for services provided which will include consultation / ultrasound / medication / procedure / etc. as utilised. However, we have “bundled” most of the standard charges that will apply (like consultation, ultrasound scans and other related procedures including partial payments for laboratory and procedure fee’s) in order to simplify payments. These charges are paid at each visit to the clinic as the treatment cycle progresses.
What if I’m on a package and the treatment cycle gets cancelled?
Sometimes, after starting the treatment, the cycle is cancelled either due to a very poor response or due to the patient’s own personal circumstances (but this is uncommon). In this situation, you will stop further package payments. However, please be aware that all progressive package payments made are not refundable because it is designed to cover the costs of treatment that was provided over that period. Therefore, what has actually been paid for only covers the treatment that has already been provided which can include consultation, ultrasound, medication or procedure. Hence, there is actually nothing that needs to be refunded.
Can I convert from a ‘package’ to a ‘non-package’ mid-way through the treatment cycle?
Yes, though it may not be feasible in all circumstances. However, please discuss further with any of our staff to ensure that the conversion is advantageous to you.
Adding-on services that are not on the ‘package’
Occasionally during the course of your treatment, you may decide (or be advised) to add a particular treatment option or service that is not on the treatment package which will incur additional charges. Please remember to discuss these additional costs with our staff before deciding.
Newer more complex packages
Here at Sunfert International Fertility Centre, we are privileged to have access to the newest and most technologically advanced laboratory equipment available in the country. These newer options include Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) of embryos and Time-lapse Embryo Imaging.
Couples now have the option of using these advancements to improve their chances of obtaining a healthy pregnancy. Although, a smaller group of couples with known (or suspected to have) genetic problems, will find these new options almost mandatory.
While we have designed packages to include these options, some patient may decide to ‘add-on’ these options as the treatment cycle progresses. Similarly, some patients may decide to ‘opt-out’ while they are already on these special packages. All this is possible but please discuss the details with our staff before making your decisions.
Couples on the PGT packages must be aware of the maximum number of embryos that may be biopsied (although this is rarely a problem for most patients) and also the possibility of accumulating embryos for biopsy (very useful for patients with few embryos) as this saves cost.
Please also discuss our refund policies if you are on these packages (NextGen IVF / IVF PGT-M) if you eventually do not have any embryos available for transfer.
Besides being fascinated about the science of reproductive medicine, we at Sunfert are passionate to help you. We hope that this info has helped in dispelling your doubts about the charges incurred as well as provide you with adequate transparency and accountability in our charges.