A few people have asked how we financed our IVF cycle and I think I’ve alluded to being a part of a research study a few times. I have some free time now, so it’s time to go into more detail about that.
In doing the number crunching to see how we were going to pay for our IVF cycle, we looked into some research studies that my clinic was running which offered financial incentives. I was NOT willing to switch to a different clinic just to save $ because I am very happy with my RE, but this may be something to consider.
We ended up getting into a study that offered $2,000 off the base IVF cycle, free ICSI, and free fertility meds (around $4,000-$6,000 more in savings). HUGE help!
Basically most people going through IVF will try to freeze any extra embryos. My RE has been perfecting his technique on freezing oocytes. The difference? The embryo has already been fertilized with sperm and has been grown for 5-6 days in the lab, whereas the oocyte is frozen prior to fertilization immediately after retrieval. This is much more complicated.
What is the benefit?
One example: Let’s say you are a teenage girl just diagnosed with cancer and your chemo will potentially kill your fertility. You can freeze your eggs without needing a significant other and later once you meet someone and decide to have a family, thaw and fertilize your OWN eggs with his sperm and create a child biologically related to BOTH of you.
Another example: Instead of using a donated embryo which would be biologically related to neither you, nor your husband, you can use a donor egg from an egg (not embryo) bank and fertilize it with your husband’s sperm, so the child is biologically related to him.
With my specific IVF cycle, half of the eggs were frozen, then thawed right away, and fertilized using ICSI b/c once frozen the egg has a much harder outer shell and ICSI is necessary. The other half were fertilized right away with ICSI, so the only variable was the freezing. Growth of the embryos was then compared and the best 2 were transferred on day 5, regardless of whether they came from the frozen batch or not. In our case we transferred 1 of each, so we’ll never really know which implanted. Other couples in the study have transferred only from the frozen batch and there have been live births resulting 🙂
So really, no negative effect for us for participating – in fact we got free ICSI, which potentially increased our fertilization rate, free meds, and a discount!
Bonus – we still have 3 frosties for a future FET!
I highly recommend looking into research studies – there are many out there!