Understanding ICSI's Costs

Relative Costs of ICSI in IVF

As you can see, ICSI ranks fourth in the list of major line-item expenses for IVF. However, we think it’s wise to consider whether ICSI is good value and how else that money could be used.

Dollars and Sense

As we’ve mentioned, ICSI is a valuable tool for some patients, but not for others. If you are a patient and ICSI increases your success rate from, say, 34% to 37% (nearly a 10% relative increase), on a $20,000 IVF cycle, ICSI’s impact is around $2,000 and may be worth it. For azoospermic patients, where success otherwise is virtually hopeless, ICSI is worth every penny.

But what about for the majority of patients where there is scant, if any, data that ICSI improves live birth rates? Here we’re talking about the many, many patients with no severe male factor, no history of failed fertilization, and who will not be using PGD. In these cases, ICSI may well be money poorly spent.

How Else Could $1,500 Be Spent?

While $800 - $2,500 may seem like a small expense in light of IVF’s overall costs, the money can still go a long way in defraying costs you may otherwise face. Here’s a list where $1,500 can make a dent:

  • Can cover half the costs of an additional frozen transfer (typically around $3,000). This matters because multiple-embryo transfer can be dangerous (link) and yet patients do it to avoid the cost of a second transfer

  • Can cover 18 months of interest expenses on a 5% APR loan for a $20,000 IVF cycle.

  • Can cover a few months, to a few years, of embryos storage, depending upon where you live and the type of facility they’re stored at.

  • Can cover likely 5 – 15 sessions of emotional counseling which can be critical to help patients and couples navigate the emotional burden (link) that treatment inflicts.
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