Eco-IVF: Affordable IVF at CHR
Medically reviewed by Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS - Written by CHR Staff - Updated on Dec 05, 2019
Low Cost Eco-IVF Program at $6,990
ECO-IVF, a division of Center for Human Reproduction (CHR), operates with distinctly different practice patterns and clinical protocols. This is our attempt to establish a low cost IVF program that will create affordable IVF treatment for individuals and couples who cannot afford the standard prices of IVF treatment currently charged by CHR and other IVF programs.
By modifying practice patterns, IVF cost savings can be achieved in staffing, medication costs (which can represent up to one third of total cycle costs) and supply costs, which can, in turn, be passed on to patients in the format of lower IVF cycle costs.
ECO-IVF is an example of so-called low-intensity IVF programs, sometimes also called by various other names, such as "mini-IVF," "patient-friendly IVF," and "natural IVF." Such programs have over the last few years become increasingly popular, though they have not been investigated in their efficacy and cost in comparison to standard IVF programs. It, therefore, is currently not known how these different low intensity programs compare to standard IVF programs in terms of pregnancy rates and overall cost.
An Affordable IVF Program with a Simplified Protocol
Dr. Gleicher, explains the EcoIVF program at the CHR and about whether or not you may be a candidate for this procedure.
When CHR first established ECO-IVF, we advised patients that outcomes would be closely monitored as part of CHR's Continuous Quality Improvement Program. We also decided to offer the program only to younger women (up to age 38 years) who demonstrate normal ovarian function for their respective ages. Once a large enough experience of cases accumulated, we conducted a comparison of IVF outcomes and IVF costs, which revealed the following in comparison to regular IVF:
- ECO-IVF produces fewer eggs and embryos, and therefore only rarely enough embryos for cryopreservation of extra embryos.
- ECO-IVF also produces lower fresh cycle and cumulative pregnancy rates.
- Because of lower pregnancy rates, the costs of establishing a pregnancy via ECO-IVF is similar to the cost of establishing a pregnancy with regular IVF.
In summary, using ECO-IVF rather than regular IVF, it may take longer to get pregnant and no cost benefits are obtained. The only obvious benefits from ECO-IVF over regular IVF lie in the lower effort required and lower medication dosages patients are exposed to. Since even in young women with normal ovarian reserve ECO-IVF does not offer outcome and cost advantages, it seems likely that such an approach to IVF in older women or women with premature ovarian aging may actually result in significantly lower pregnancy chances and higher costs.
- In the low cost IVF program, utilized by ECO-IVF, standard ovarian stimulation with high dose injectable gonadotropins is replaced by initial stimulation of the ovaries with an oral medication, called clomiphene citrate (Clomid), which later in the cycle is augmented, every other day, with very low dosages of gonadotropins.
- Lower medication dosages greatly reduce the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation. Therefore, they permit for less monitoring of follicular development. Consequently, you will have fewer monitoring visits, involving vaginal ultrasound examinations and blood tests, than women in routine IVF programs.
- Women in routine IVF cycles undergo egg retrieval under intravenous sedation, given by an anesthesiologist. Since you are expected to have a smaller egg number, intravenous sedation may not be required, and is, therefore, not routinely offered. Should you wish to receive such sedation, anyhow, then our anesthesiologists have agreed to a fee of $300. Since these anesthesiologists are not part of this medical corporation, and have no financial relationship with this corporation, you will be asked to bring a check, representing this payment, to your egg retrieval and make it out to the anesthesiologist at that time.
ECO-IVF does not accept any insurance assignments but will provide a receipt for the cycle fee paid. No other receipts will be issued, however, and ECO-IVF and/or CHR cannot be held responsible whether insurance reimbursements are, or are not, received.
Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS
Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.