Tens of thousands of people undergo in vitro fertilization every year, but many don’t know how costly the process is until they’re facing the decision head-on

No one plans for infertility. But that doesn’t stop it from being a reality for millions of people.

In the United States, around 12% of women ages 15 to 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of them turn to in vitro fertilization to try to conceive, with more than 72,000 babies born as a result of IVF and other “assisted reproductive technologies” in 2017, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Conceiving is just one obstacle these patients face. There’s also the question of how to pay for the treatment.

“The total cost is roughly $20,335 per (IVF) cycle,” says Jake Anderson-Bialis, co-founder of FertilityIQ, which provides research on fertility treatments, doctors and clinics.

Most IVF patients don’t get pregnant the first go-round. Many require multiple cycles, spending $60,000 or more in the process.

The sky-high costs and scant insurance coverage — only a handful of states require coverage for fertility treatments, and that coverage varies widely — leave families struggling to pay on their own.

Arielle Spiegel and her husband had some insurance coverage but still spent roughly $70,000 in fertility treatments, including multiple rounds of IVF.

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