Why Artificial Insemination?
Artificial insemination (AI) is used to assist couples in conceiving when there is male factor infertility, such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or other abnormalities with the sperm. There are two types of AI. By far the most common is intrauterine insemination (IUI). The sperm are inserted through the cervix and directly into the uterus, bringing them closer to the woman’s eggs and increasing the chances that successful fertilization will occur. In intracervical insemination (ICI), the sperm are placed directly inside the woman’s cervix, and then must enter the uterus and fallopian tubes and fertilize an egg under their own power. In either type of AI, the sperm are often “washed” before insemination, meaning that abnormal sperm are removed and only the strongest sperm are placed inside the woman’s body.
If you’re choosing to use assisted reproductive technology, make sure you’re choosing it because you really want it, not to please someone else or to fit an imagined ideal. No one else can make the choice for you; it’s your body, and you’re in charge of it. After you do your research and understand the procedure, if you believe that artificial insemination is right for you, then proceed. You can learn more about the AI procedure, its risks and benefits, in our Education Wiki.
In general, intracervical insemination (ICI) costs significantly less than intrauterine insemination (IUI), because IUI is a more complex and technologically advanced procedure. The cost for ICI is around $200 to $400 per cycle; it may increase if the woman is placed on fertility medications before the insemination. The cost of IUI can be up to $5,000. In some cases, multiple cycles are needed to achieve a pregnancy.
Keep in mind that this is only an average; it varies by region and by individual clinic, so you should check with the provider(s) you’re considering to determine their exact fee for the procedure. Ask what’s included in that fee, to make sure you aren’t surprised by extra costs when you get the bill later.
Sometimes, all of the costs of your AI procedure will be included within the clinic’s fee. However, sometimes there may be additional costs that are not included. For instance, the use of fertility medications is not always standard in AI, and some clinics may charge an extra fee for these medications if they are used. Additionally, sperm washing is not always performed in ICI (although it nearly always is performed in IUI), and there may be an extra fee for this procedure if it is necessary or desired. Check with your provider to determine exactly what is included in the procedure fee, and whether there might be additional costs that aren’t included.
Will Insurance Cover It?
Some insurance policies cover the cost of assisted reproductive technology, while others specifically exclude this type of treatment. In many cases, there will be only partial coverage of your treatment, or coverage will be limited to a certain number of cycles or certain types of treatment. You should check with your insurance company to determine your coverage before you begin infertility treatment.
What Are the Financing Options?
To many people, paying thousands of dollars up front seems impossible. However, if you don’t already have the money saved, you have many options available for financing. Many infertility clinics offer financing plans for their patients. You can also get a medical credit card or other credit card, often with an attractive introductory interest rate; a medical loan, personal loan, or home equity loan from your bank; a loan from your 401(k); or loans or gifts from family and friends. Even if your credit isn’t great, you’d be surprised how many options you have. For more details about the financing options for your procedure, check out our Assisted Reproductive Technology Financing page.