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Just How Time Consuming Is Fertility Treatment?

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a blog by Jennifer A. Redmond, June 25, 2013

Fertility treatment isn’t only expensive, it’s time consuming! Now that’s not news to those of you who have done IVF or other fertility treatments, but it’s an important point for those who are just getting started. I am a firm believer in being prepared.

I just read a study whose objective was to determine the amount of time that infertile couples spend seeking and utilizing fertility care. The investigators conducted in-person interviews, questionnaires and telephone interviews with 319 couples who kept diaries of their time spent on doctor visits and related activities including phone calls and travel. They also recorded time off from work due to the physical and emotional stress related to fertility treatment.

Here are the numbers. Over an 18-month period, the average time spent on fertility care was 125 hours, or 15.6 work days, assuming an 8-hour workday. That’s three weeks off from work! Let’s break it down even further. But keep in mind that the study authors recognize that these figures are likely an underestimate of the true time spent on fertility care – due to the method of data collection.

  • IVF - 162 hours /20.2 work days
  • IUI – 107 hours/13.4 work days
  • Ovulation Induction – 61 hours/7.6 work days

Cost is generally cited as the reason patients don’t pursue treatment or discontinue fertility treatment before they have a baby, as the study notes. And this is the case even in countries that subsidize treatment. So perhaps the amount of time spent, and the fact that stress increases with amount of time and money spent, is an important factor to consider as well.

Where does that leave you, fertility patient? In my humble opinion, it’s not a reason to discontinue or stop treatment. But it’s an important piece of information as you consider and plan for fertility treatment.


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