I had no idea how much fertility treatment costs before we started this journey. I just had a vague idea that it was really expensive. It’s partly the reason we put off starting a family for such a long time. When we felt ready to look at our options, I approached 2 private clinics for estimated fertility treatment costs. I was horrified by how expensive it is to do just one cycle of fertility treatment! Worst of all, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have a positive outcome.
Clinic 1 rough cost estimate in 2015:
IVF = R40 000
Testes biopsy = R12 500
Clinic 2 rough cost estimate in 2015:
IVF = R30 000 (excluding doctors fees and meds)
Testes biopsy = R7 000
I decided see what other options we had and enquired at Groote Schuur Hospital. After sending our information through, we were told they can’t help us at Groote Schuur, because we don’t fall into their catchment area. I was told to contact Tygerberg Fertility Clinic instead.
If I recall correctly, Tygerberg Fertility Clinic gave us the estimated costs after our first appointment in February 2016. I was relieved to find out that the costs at Tygerberg Fertility Clinic are much more reasonable than what private clinics charge!
Once Dr Thabo Matsaseng reviewed our case, KB’s testes biopsy was scheduled for April 2016. After KB’s biopsy we decided to wait before going ahead. I wanted to save for the rest of the fertility treatment costs first. I was determined not to go into debt to try and fall pregnant – I know this isn’t for everybody, but it’s how I wanted to do things. Of course many things came up that were expensive and saving was really difficult.
In April this year we had enough set aside to feel comfortable to go ahead. I contacted the Tygerberg Fertility Clinic to ensure that the process was still the same – that I must contact Dr Thabo Matsaseng on Day 1 of my next cycle. They confirmed and also reiterated the costs involved. Their estimated costs were pretty accurate, the below is an extract from email correspondence with the team at the beginning of 2017:
“The baseline cost per cycle for IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) or ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection.) is ±R8 000.00 and if required, a R500 – R1 300 weekend fee is also applicable. Please note that cost of treatment varies according to the individual patient. If a Patient responds poorly to the medicine it might be necessary to increase the amounts which could result in an extra R2 000 – R4 000. The potential success of treatment is dependent on various factors, which will be explained at your consultation appointment with either Dr Matsaseng or Dr Nosarka.”
Our estimated fertility costs
I am sharing what our expenses were in the hope of giving other couples a more rounded indication of the costs involved. Please remember that our treatment may differ to that of other couples. For example, I did not require higher dosage hormone therapy, which would have been more expensive. Our egg retrieval and the following embryo transfer also did not fall on a weekend or on a public holiday (it impacts and increases the cost if it does).
When you consider the costs, remember:
- The costs Tygerberg Fertility Clinic estimate do not include additional costs such as consultation fee for seeing your GP to get a referral letter, having a RPR (syphalis) test, HIV test, pregnancy blood tests, etc.
- If you are on a medical aid, check with them whether they will cover some of the blood tests.
- Even if you do have medical aid, remember that most medical aids won’t pay for fertility treatment and won’t cover the cost of the hormones.
- Tygerberg bills according to your income. I’m not sure if this impacted the cost of the testes biopsy, but we were billed directly by Tygerberg Hospital for this procedure, it was not part of the general fertility treatment costs.
Ballpark figure for us was R11 000 for one round of fertility treatment with standard hormone treatment, including KB’s testes biopsy.
- Prescribed hormone therapy and total costs of meds prescribed for me: R3 045.23
- ICSI needle: R1 000 (cash paid at Tygerberg Fertility Clinic on day of egg retrieval)
- Embryo transfer: R4 000 (cash paid at Tygerberg Fertility Clinic on day of transfer)
- Total of R8 045.23
(This is close to the base line cost estimated at R8 000 by Tygerberg Fertility Clinic!)
There are costs that we didn’t think about or anticipate, these in addition to the main fertility treatment costs above:
Doctors consult for referral letter and general medical history as requested by Tygerberg Fertility Clinic: R380
Blood tests: ?
2 x HIV tests (one each for me and KB)
2 x RPR tests (one each for me and KB)
2 x Pregnancy tests (R177.50 each)
(I’m not sure of exact costs here as we had the RPR and HIV tests last year and I can’t find the claim statement for them. Our medical aid covered all the tests above, however, we have a medical savings account and some of the costs were taken from our savings.)
Testes Biopsy: R600
You are billed according to your income, so this could vary up or down. Tygerberg told us in 2016 that it wouldn’t exceed R1 000).
Post testes biopsy: R300
This is a rough estimate, as I didn’t keep the slip for the prescribed pain meds, antibiotics, guaze, etc. for KB after his biopsy. I don’t recall the actual amount and budgeted this amount as an estimated cost for purposes of this post.
Sperm freezing: R350 (cash paid at Tygerberg Fertility Clinic)
Prescribed progesterone after embryo transfer: R586.81
Additional progesterone after pregnancy confirmation: R792.58
ESTIMATED TOTAL: R11 054.62 (excl. blood tests)
I’m currently 6 weeks pregnant and I’m not sure whether there will be any further costs that are not “regular costs” in terms of a pregnancy. But that’s where we’re at right now.
Again, I can’t emphasise enough that these costs are not set in stone, they are merely a guideline for what we’ve paid for our treatment. This is still a fraction of the cost compared to what other private clinics charge.
Pros and cons of using Tygerberg Fertility Clinic
- Dr Thabo Matsaseng – He is a legend, I can’t sing his praises enough!
- The team at Tygerberg Fertility Clinic – The team was very kind and supportive, especially at the egg retrieval and embryo transfer.
- The costs are a fraction of what you’ll pay at a private clinic.
- Tygerberg Hospital is in sore need of a facelift. It’s not the newest or nicest looking facility, but it is clean!
- The whole process of registering and opening a file at Tygerberg Hospital is a little confusing and time-consuming.
- Distance, this wasn’t a huge issue, but I thought to mention it all the same. We travel in from Somerset West every time we have an appointment. There are private clinics closer to home.
Would I recommend it to other couples?
We were very fortunate to have a successful and positive outcome the first time round. I know that this is not the case for everyone. However, considering the costs, it’s possible to do 3 – 4 rounds of fertility treatment at Tygerberg Fertility Clinic at roughly the same cost of one round at a private fertility clinic.
Why is Tygerberg Fertility Clinic less expensive?
You can read this article I found online which explains some of the reasons why Tygerberg Fertility Clinic is less expensive. The article is from 2015, so the costs are outdated, but the information about why it’s less expensive is still relevant.
Header image by Wilfred Ivan.