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Board Buzz: Is the Cost of IVF Negotiable?


Q. In today's economy, is there room to negotiate fees with doctors and clinics? I just read an article in the New York Times which implied that you were a fool if you didn't try to negotiate when shopping for consumer goods, real estate, etc. Is the same true for fertility services?

A. Great question! When going through infertility treatments, most people don't even think about negotiating. You can always negotiate with your clinic, but you have to start the discussion.

While we can't guarantee that all clinics will agree to negotiate with you, it is always worthwhile to give it a try. In fact, one study I was reading suggested that only 12% of patients attempt to negotiate with their doctors. But of those that do, 61% were successful in lowering their costs!

Lab work, anesthesia and other fixed costs are unlikely to be talked down. But the costs of monitoring exams, ultrasounds, and administrative and instructional fees are all fair game.

While we know you want your doctor to like you, you are not there to make a friend. You are there to have a baby. It’s not a bad thing to negotiate. You have a checkbook. That’s power. You have choices.

I bet if more people tried to negotiate, prices of infertility care would go down for all of us!

Be polite, but don’t roll over and be grateful to pay whatever a clinic asks for. Think about what you can realistically afford, what you are willing to pay and go from there. That price cut may make the difference in your ability to afford one more cycle.

Good luck and be smart!

All the best,
Evelina Sterling
Moderator, Financing Treatment message board and Author, Budgeting for Infertility: How to Bring Home a Baby Without Breaking the Bank

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