The recession in the UK has meant that many primary care trusts have clamped down on NHS funding for fertility treatment. This unfairness of funding is driving many couples to private clinics. Has this had an impact on the price point for private fertility clinics? With such a willing and growing market, one could speculate that the clinics can afford to push up the prices for treatment for a tidy profit.
On the other side of the argument is the fact that an IVF treatment will involve many highly skilled staff who are expensive to employ and train. Treatments will also utilise very highly specialised equipment which costs a lot to buy, maintain and run. Having worked in IVF laboratories, and indeed managed one of them, I know how expensive the equipment is and how much maintenance is involved to ensure it is in excellent condition for each patient. Treatments can be complex and people may have to attend a number of times. These are all expenditures for the clinic.
On top of the treatment costs, couples are faced with extras which perhaps they hadn’t budgeted for. The HFEA license fee, further specialised treatments (e.g. assisted hatching) to improve the chance of success, charges for freezing etc. And of course there is the cost of drugs.
Many people decide that they can’t afford to get treated anymore in the UK and pursue IVF treatment abroad where prices can be much cheaper. Drugs are often cheaper in Europe than in the UK and this is a further incentive for people who are financially stretched.
The IVF clinics abroad also have to employ skilled staff, and buy and maintain the same specialised equipment found in the UK and USA. However, one could speculate that staff remuneration is less than in the UK and the USA and this may be a contributing factor to the lower cost of IVF abroad.