While there are many fertility treatments designed to help women with infertility problems, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for male infertility treatments. As a result, couples whose fertility difficulties are due to male factor may have few choices when it comes to deciding on a treatment. So, when the options are limited, what is the most cost effective approach to male infertility?
Men with varicoceles leading to low sperm counts or low sperm motility can often be helped with varicocelectomy surgery. Although somewhat controversial because of its possible negative impact on fertility, this type of surgery has been shown to improve semen analysis results as well as improve a couple’s chances of pregnancy. For this reason, if male factor is the only reason for infertility, and this problem can be successfully corrected through surgery, then this is likely to be a much more cost effective approach.
The cost of varicocelectomy will vary according to where you live and your personal circumstances (for example: how severe the problem is). On average, though, the associated costs should be about $4,000. Once the necessary post-operative restrictions have been observed (including no intercourse for at least a week), couples can try to conceive naturally – free of charge.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
While surgery is helpful for men who have moderate sperm defects, in couples where the male partner has a high level of sperm defects, there are very few options. At least, there were few options until ICSI came along. Since its invention in 1992, couples who previously had little hope of ever having a biological child now can.
Through ICSI, couples have more guarantees that fertilization will take place although there is still limited assurance that implantation will occur once the fertilized eggs are transferred to the woman. While the rates of pregnancy are slightly higher than those of natural conception, the use of ICSI in conjunction with IVF will cost on average $20,000 per cycle. Additionally, as more than one cycle of IVF is often needed before a pregnancy results, this cost is likely to be higher for some individuals.
Two of the least expensive male infertility solutions are varicocele embolization and IUI. Although the related pregnancy results are not necessarily as high as they would be with other forms of treatment, in couples where the man has a moderate sperm defect, these types of treatment are just as likely to be beneficial as other, more expensive treatments would be.
While costs can vary, IUI can usually be performed for less than $500. Couples with a high level of sperm defects may choose to use a sperm donor, which will increase the price of the IUI procedure. However, even with a sperm donor, IUI still costs significantly less than ICSI.
So Which is Best?
When deciding on a fertility treatment, it is important to remember just what your personal needs are. If the reason for your fertility problems is varicoceles, it does not necessarily make sense to undergo ICSI and IVF when a simple surgical procedure can take care of the problem. At the same time, though, it is also important to keep in mind what a treatment entails. While one cycle of IUI is less expensive than one cycle of ICSI-IVF, multiple IUI cycles are often necessary for a pregnancy to result.
Also, some couples may feel that the importance of having a child biologically related to both parents is far more important than the cost of a procedure. Therefore, although a less expensive procedure, like IUI with sperm donation, may be available to you, you may feel that it is better to opt for ICSI.
Another important consideration when deciding on a male infertility treatment is what kind of effect the treatment will have on your everyday life. Some treatments may require you or your partner to take more time off of work for appointments. Not all work places are flexible to the needs of people undergoing infertility treatment and you may have to deal with loosing some pay when you need time off. If you have other commitments, they may need to be rearranged or completely cut from your schedule while you receive treatment.
While the actual price of a fertility treatment can play an important role in your final decision, it is important to be sure that this treatment is the best for you. In addition to the cost, considering how effective the treatment is in general, how effective the treatment should be for you, and how the treatment will affect your daily life are all significant points to reflect on. The most cost effective treatment is the one that will satisfy your emotional, financial and fertility needs.