Financing the Cost of Fertility Treatments

Today, fertility treatments are highly advanced, achieving leading success rates when provided by qualified and experienced specialists using state-of-the-art technologies and cutting-edge equipment in purpose-designed facilities with proper accreditation.

Such expert knowledge, advanced equipment and specialised treatment – delivered to the highest standards and with quality service – is expensive.

“South Africa has the most sophisticated fertility treatments that medicine currently offers, available easily and, importantly, very quickly, with well-qualified health practitioners at the helm. However, this comes at a price,” says Dr Nicholas Clark, a reproductive medicine specialist at Medfem Fertility Clinic in Bryanston, Gauteng.

Since most medical schemes do not cover fertility treatments, and relying on the state poses its own unique challenges, couples seeking treatment must generally pay for the cost of fertility treatments out of their own pockets.

Covering these costs out of their pockets may be out of reach for many South Africans, adding a financial burden to couples who are already dealing with the emotional and physical effects of infertility. An alternative may be to take out a loan to finance fertility treatments.

What are the Costs of Fertility Treatment?

It is important to understand that fertility treatments – or assisted reproductive technologies (ART) as it is formally called – are not standard “one-size-fits-all” packages. There are a wide range of possible causes of infertility and a wide variety of treatment options.

Only an accurate diagnosis of the exact cause of your infertility challenges can ensure that the most effective treatment plan is created based on addressing the specific fertility challenges you face. As a result, the cost of fertility treatment will also vary from couple to couple based on their unique treatment requirements.

In addition, the cost of fertility treatment – like with other medical procedures and treatments – also varies considerably between individual specialists and clinics. Each clinic and specialist have their own fee structures – some clinics offer a “package” price for fertility treatments, while others may, for example, not include the cost of medications.

Keeping the cost of your fertility treatment reasonable therefore requires a consultation with a fertility specialist who can pinpoint the exact treatment required and explain the various options, as well as the cost implications and chances of success.

It is also recommended that you research the services different clinics provide, as well as what is included in standard charges and what separate or additional fees apply. Ask your fertility specialist to explain the costs of different treatment components and whether certain payments need to be made at a specific time, such as pre-payments before treatment begins.

It is important to confirm all costs before proceeding with any treatments. Insist on a written quote for a clear treatment plan designed specifically for you to ensure you have a full view of the cost implications.

Will my Medical Aid cover the Costs of Fertility Treatment?

The cost of fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), are not covered by most open medical aids in South Africa. They also do not cover the cost of the initial appointment.

However, some medical aids may cover part of the costs and some may pay for treatment of issues related to infertility, such as surgical procedures for blocked fallopian tubes, cyst removal in the womb and treatments for endometriosis. There are also certain medical aids that do cover fertility treatments on selected plans, subject to cover limits.

The only way to be certain is to ask your medical aid to confirm in writing which costs related to the treatments required will be covered.

“Fertility is mistakenly viewed as a non-essential medical condition and as a result, treatments are not funded by medical schemes,” explains Dr Clark. “This current attitude is misguided and ultimately is backed by false economics. Support of therapy would come with regulation and influence over the treatments, and funding would encourage the main flow of patients with medical insurance to reputable fertility centres, biasing the medical outcomes in favour of less risky single pregnancies which would benefit not only the maternal outcome but also the health funders.”

Lobbying for fair support and change and equal access to public and private sector medical treatment for the one in six couples that statistics show suffer from some form of infertility, is the Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa (IFAASA). It is a non-profit organisation established to represent the infertility community as advocates and through education and research, and to educate the general public about reproductive challenges.

We are proud that one of Medfem Fertility Clinic’s Directors and Reproductive Medicine Specialists, Dr Antonio Rodrigues (MBBCh , FCOG, MBA), is a Non-Executive Board Member of IFAASA.

As long ago as 2011, IFAASA began lobbying the medical industry with a submission to the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), placing on record that the majority of medical aids in South Africa are not affording infertility the cover that it is due. This submission included a petition with nearly 500 signatures. Two years later, IFAASA representatives attended the Discovery Health AGM, with over 240 signed proxies, to present the case of infertility as a Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB) and submit a motion stating IFAASA’s opinion that Discovery unfairly discriminates against infertility when compared to other PMBs and disease categories.

For resources and more information about the Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa, visit

Will the Government cover the Costs of Fertility Treatment?

There are three public sector hospitals that provide fertility treatment – Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Groote Schuur Hospital and Tygerberg Hospital.

However, even at these state facilities, patients have to self-fund some of the costs, as fertility medications are not available in state hospitals. In addition, it is challenging to obtain a referral within the state hospital system. The time spend in the system of non-referral before reaching a fertility specialist will have a direct impact on how many treatment cycles are required and how complex these cycles will be.

Is there finance available for the cost of IVF treatment?

For many couples, the only other alternative is to fund their fertility treatments within the private sector by obtaining a loan.

This may be, for example, a personal loan, or finance available for fertility treatment through companies such as MEDIFIN.

MEDIFIN makes loans available for Fertility treatments.

You can find out more by clicking here…

Or directly apply here.

As with any other finance agreement, make certain that you understand the terms and conditions of the contract and that the monthly repayments are manageable, given your personal financial situation.

As important as choosing the right finance is choosing the right fertility clinic. Choosing the right clinic, that is properly accredited by Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG) and has qualified and experienced specialists; cutting-edge facilities; advanced technologies and leading success rates; and that creates a personalised treatment plan specifically designed to address the fertility challenges you face, will not only ensure the best chance of becoming pregnant but also the best investment of your financial resources.


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