True cost of IVF in the UK

Our new research reveals how much people spend on IVF treatment in the UK – and the impact on aspiring parents.
Amber Izzo tells her personal story – Gaia Blog

We are Gaia, the world’s first IVF insurance provider. We commissioned Opinion Matters to survey 250 people who are going through, or have already gone through, IVF privately in the UK. We uncovered proof of a broken and financially exclusive system for fertility treatment.

Our key findings

  • On average, people in the UK pay £13,730 for their IVF
  • 70% of people who undergo IVF treatment experience financial trauma
  • 78% of people go into debt to fund their IVF treatment
  • The most common emotional reactions to discussing the cost of IVF are stress (32%), discomfort (26%) and nervousness (24%)

The average cost of IVF in the UK

According to our results, on average people in the UK pay around £13,730 for their IVF treatment. That’s 44% of the UK median annual household income (£31,400).

Average cost of IVF v fuel poverty threshold in the UK – courtesy of Gaia's true cost of IVF report

“Let’s think about this in comparison to rising energy prices. A household is considered to be in fuel poverty when it has to spend 10% or more of its disposable income on energy. But if you’re spending 44% of your annual income because you’re struggling to conceive, no public body comes to your financial aid. I believe that parenthood is a fundamental human right – though without the right cover, the most fortunate always win.”

Nader AlSalim, Founder and CEO of Gaia

Factors that impact the average cost of IVF in the UK

The average cost of IVF for same-sex couples is 17% higher than for heterosexual couples (£15,512 vs £13,276).

Same-sex couples incur additional costs for their IVF treatment because of the cost of donor sperm and/or donor eggs. These extra donor costs also include admin, transport and registration fees from the chosen donor bank.

The average cost of IVF in the UK is higher for same-sex couples than heterosexual couples – courtesy of Gaia's true cost of IVF report

IVF patients who report a negative outcome on their journey pay more for their treatment – as no matter the outcome, patients still incur costs for each round of IVF treatment that they undergo.

Average cost of IVF in the UK for those who experience an unsuccessful outcome on their journey – courtesy of Gaia's true cost of IVF report

“Regardless of your circumstance, I believe that anyone who wants to have a family, should be able to try. It’s why I founded Gaia. The process of building a family shouldn’t be tinged with stress and anxiety around money. And with Gaia’s insurance plan, it doesn’t have to be. With us, aspiring parents pay a fraction of the total cost if their treatment is not successful – and they pay it back in manageable instalments if it is.”

Nader AlSalim, Founder and CEO of Gaia

How the cost of IVF affects aspiring parents in the UK

Financial stress leads to trauma

Seventy per cent of people who undergo IVF treatment experience financial trauma. This rises to 80% of those who experience chemical pregnancies or missed miscarriages, and 85% of those who experience late-term loss.

Financial trauma describes the PTSD like symptoms that people experience in relation to their money. It’s often a result of chronic stress around debt or bills, or if someone loses a job or home.

The staggering cost of IVF means that 70% of IVF patients in the UK experience financial trauma – courtesy of Gaia's true cost of IVF report

“IVF is where two social taboos collide, infertility and money. The financial trauma of fertility treatment only adds to the already huge emotional and physical ordeal that is IVF. Add to that our inability to talk about money as a society and you’re stepping into a minefield of stress.”

Alex Holder, Gaia spokesperson, journalist and author of Open Up: The Power of Talking about Money

Discussing the cost of IVF causes high stress

The most common emotional reactions to discussing the cost of IVF are stress (32%), discomfort (26%) and nervousness (24%).

Most common emotional reactions from discussing the cost of IVF in the UK – courtesy of Gaia's true cost of IVF report

These are emotional weights that, as Gaia member Emily Shinn explains to The Sun, lift the moment that the financial burden becomes more manageable. “Gaia funded two cycles for us,” she says. “{IVF} instantly became affordable and meant we could just focus on the treatment and now the pregnancy rather than stressing about the money side of things.”

As Shinn so perfectly explains it, insurance, whether for IVF or a treasured possession, is about peace of mind: “In the same way that you insure your house or your car, it’s security in case you need it and if you don’t need it then it hasn’t cost you the earth.”

Paying for IVF has meant going into debt

Seventy-eight per cent of respondents have gone into debt because of their fertility treatment. And almost one-third (32%) say that they’re worried about their ability to pay off that debt in the future.  

The staggering cost of IVF in the UK means 78% of people go into debt because of fertility treatment – courtesy of Gaia's true cost of IVF report

“No one should have to compromise their financial future to build their family. But time and time again, I speak to people who have remortgaged their home, gone into overdraft, or taken out credit card debt – all for an outcome that isn’t guaranteed. At Gaia, we insure the risk so no one takes on this uncertainty and financial commitment alone.”

Lucy Slack, Community Lead at Gaia

Our data report

Gaia’s research, conducted by Opinion Matters, surveyed 250 people between 27 July and 1 August 2022 who are either going through IVF privately, or who have already gone through IVF privately in the UK.

“We honestly thought that IVF was out of reach. Gaia is making this dream possible.”

If like one of our brave community members, Lyndsey, you thought your finances would stop you from building a family, it may be time to think again.
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