How much to get pregnant?
November 8, 2008 2:50 PM   Subscribe

How much did it cost you to get pregnant using a sperm bank?

My wife and I (we are a lesbian couple) would like to have a baby in a couple years. I have realized this may take more money than we both realized. Neither of us know any viable donors so we will be using a sperm bank. I assume no insurance would cover this but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Could any kind Mefite walk me through the process and enlighten us as to how much money we should be looking to save first? (This is strictly regarding the process of getting pregnant, not how much we need to buy everything the baby will need.)

Throwaway email: metatime4babies at gmail dot com
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Where are you? The Victoria Fertility Centre in BC has a nice breakdown of costs (bottom of page). A friend is going through this and she was surprised by how affordable it is (she earns less then $20,000 a year so it must be pretty affordable).
posted by saucysault at 3:14 PM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't have a comprehensive breakdown since I haven't done this yet (but do plan to in the near future), but two books by lesbian authors that I really like are Knock Yourself Up and The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth. If I recall correctly, Knock Yourself Up actually has a breakdown of how much it cost for her to get pregnant (I read it last year so my memory is a little fuzzy).

There are also certain factors to consider. It's much less expensive, for instance, if you inseminate at home, since you're not paying the doctor's office for the visit and the cost of the IUI or ICI. Some sperm banks, like Pacific Reproductive Services (a lesbian owned bank) will ship the vials to your home. You also need to consider how long it might take for you to get pregnant, but based on the information included in their pricing sheet, if you get pregnant the first month and inseminated twice that month, you'd pay around $1300, give or take.

I've been researching this for awhile, so if I can be of any help, my email address is in my profile.
posted by mewithoutyou at 4:08 PM on November 8, 2008

My wife and I (also lesbian couple) found just about everything we needed on the FAQs of many of the sperm banks. Fairfax Cyrogenic, The Sperm Bank of California, and Cryogenic Laboratories are just a couple of the option. Shipping is, by far, the greatest expense, about $500 or so. We connected with a local fertility center to store a few rounds of, um, pops-cicles at a time. This also helps lessen the anxiety when it comes to horomone timing. It's a lot easier to run across town and pick the pops-cicle when you see the Lh surge, than to know ahead of time and get it shipped across the country.

You have a few options as far as baby making.

ICI - Intra-cervical Insemination. Turkey-baster method; though I'd recommend an oral syringe. The pops-cicle is cheaper and you don't need a doctor to help out. Pick up, thaw it out, and I imagine you know the rest. About $180 per pop, plus shipping.

IUI - Intra-uterine Insemination. The can only be done at your doctor. We went to our own gynecologist. The sperm goes directly into the uterus, giving you a better chance at conception. The sperm has to be washed, so the cost, per pop, is about $280, plus shipping. Plus, you can anticipate the doctor visit to be about $250. We didn't use any fertility drugs. Our insurance covered it as a basic infertility treatment. We had, after all, had unprotected intercourse for over a year without getting pregnant. ha

IVF - In-vitro fertilization. We didn't pursue this option, but stories seem to run anywhere from $5,000-$50,000 depending on how long it takes. You would have the option of one woman carrying the other's fertilized egg.

Feel free to memail if you want specifics. I'm happy to share stories.
posted by wg at 4:29 PM on November 8, 2008

For our first son, eight years ago, we spent about $550 on three samples of sperm, including the special $90 liquid-nitrogen shipping. Then we spent $150 on the insemination. Because our reproductive endocrinologist was comfortable inseminating without doing fertility testing first (we thought we might as well assume I was fertile), we didn't have testing costs. Our original office visit with him was covered by my insurance because it was a consultation, not fertility treatment per se.

I got pregnant the first time, so we had leftover sperm.

Our second attempt cost $200 for the insemination--the RE's price had gone up--and I also got pregnant in one try, using one of our leftover vials, which the RE had stored for us free of charge in the meantime.

Both times, we also spent money for OTC ovulation prediction kits, which seem to have done the job just fine. This runs into the double-digits--and it can really add up if you're an obsessive stick-pee-er like I was.

Of course, YMMV. Not everyone gets pregnant the first time! But if there are no underlying fertility issues, with inter-uterine insemination (insemination via a catheter inserted through the cervix), the odds are pretty good, I think.

Insemination per se is not really all that much money. You don't start really racking up the bills unless you need treatment for fertility issues other than "lack of sperm in relationship."

You can figure your costs pretty well by getting info from a couple of sperm banks, and calling a local RE's office.
posted by not that girl at 4:30 PM on November 8, 2008

I've been doing some research myself and learned from someone at one of the sperm banks that if you are planning on inseminating at home, unwashed sperm is fine and there is no reason to inseminate more than once a cycle. For us, that brings the cost per month down from $1300 (two, washed, plus shipping) to more like $600-$700 (one, unwashed, plus shipping). We're in Alberta, Canada, and the sperm is in Toronto, so your costs may vary greatly.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:52 AM on November 14, 2008

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