What Is Assisted Reproduction?

One of the most common types of fertility treatment is artificial insemination. Within this category, there are various techniques, including intrauterine insemination and IVF. For many people, it is the only way they can conceive a baby.

What is Assisted Reproduction?

Artificial insemination is attempting to conceive a baby through means other than sexual intercourse.  The principle of artificial insemination has been the subject of research from the late 1800s onwards. Since then, the insemination process has become a widely accepted method of conception.

Various methods exist, including:

  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI) – Putting warmed, prepared sperm into the uterus around the time of ovulation. Very often, fertility drugs are used to stimulate ovulation, depending on the nature of the fertility problem that the couple is suffering from. Either your partner’s sperm, fresh or frozen, will be used, or it will be sperm from a sperm donor, which may have been preserved in a sperm bank. Conceiving in this way can carry a risk of multiple births if fertility drugs are used as well.
  • Intra-tubal insemination – This is when the insemination is in the fallopian tube. This method is sometimes used in conjunction with IUI.
  • In vitro fertilisation (IVF) – This is when the sperm and eggs are fertilised in a petri dish and then the resulting embryo is transferred into the woman uterus, as opposed to simply being artificially inseminated and left to be fertilised inside her body. IVF is a more expensive form of artificial reproduction and is more technical. Therefore, it is usually used after less expensive options have failed.

The Cost of Assisted Reproduction

There are significant costs associated with assisted reproduction. For many women this can be a critical factor in deciding which method to use. Your doctor will provide you with appropriate advice on which method may be most suitable for your circumstances.

Some costs may be partially covered by the public health system. Generally speaking one cycle of IVF will cost you around $4000 – $6000. These are out of pocket expenses. The actual cost is around $10,000, with Medicare covering less than 50 percent.

There is no limit to the number of cycles that you undertake, regarding Medicare rebate. These costs will vary depending on which provider you use so it is important to seek full disclosure of fees and charges when you start the process.

Other methods of assisted reproduction, such as intrauterine insemination and intratubal insemination can be more affordable, but your doctor will advise you as these methods may not be appropriate. It will depend on the nature of your fertility issue.

You should also consider that the testing required prior to getting to the point of IVF can also be significant.

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