Why Is The Cost Of IVF So High?
In the United States, IVF is not considered a basic health right. Only 15 states require by law that all health insurance provide free in vitro fertilization help when the insured ask for it. Sadly, for those living in 35 states, the cost of IVF is unaffordable. Life can be extremely unfair for the childless wanting to become pregnant.
My friends, a couple who don't make more than $50,000 together a year, had been trying unsuccessfully for three years to try and start a family. My friend the wife, has malformed Fallopian tubes. When nothing seemed to work, they traveled to Houston, armed with their savings and a will to finally get somewhere with their fond dream.
The doctor at the clinic though had news for them - the cost of IVF treatment could be so prohibitive at $20,000 a shot, that they would probably have to come back with maybe three or four years worth of savings for a chance.
How does one explain how the cost of IVF got to be this high?
In the beginning, it was simple demand vs. supply economics at play. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology that trains doctors in the science of IVF treatment, has no more than 40 places in its classes each year for instance.
Still, in case you've noticed, any time you ring up an IVF doctor for an appointment, the wait is not typically that long.
Years of high pricing for IVF treatments has brought in as many doctors as the field can handle; right at this moment, the country has a kind of glut in the number of doctors willing to provide the service, as compared to those who are willing to buy it at the price.
It doesn't exactly appear that the cost of IVF treatment is being brought down by the excess supply on the market - not even in a weak economy.
Now if it really is something about the treatment that makes it so expensive, one does wonder why other developed countries with a cost-of-living index as high as ours get the job done at 20% the cost .
Three out of four Americans who would wish for it on the other hand, end up not getting it. All that happens now is that the cost of IVF is getting to be so high year on year, people are heading to Africa, Eastern Europe or to Latin America for the help they need.
It could possibly be a difference in philosophies that could have lead to how things have come to such a pass. Developed countries other than the US believe that a child is a necessity in life.
American policymakers believe that desiring a child through IVF is a luxury. And they have a very sound theory that behind it too.
Eighteen-year-olds are never infertile. Practically 100% of all young adults have no problems getting pregnant. It's only when you get into your late 20s or past that that your body begins to develop problems.
American healthcare policy makers therefore believe that infertility is not really a disease - that it is just simple aging. And health insurers feel that they cannot possibly be in the youthfulness business.