Fertility Treatments and Health Insurance: All You Need to Know
2 December 2021
Did you know that in Hong Kong, 1 in 6 couples has issues conceiving?
This is an official statistic from Hong Kong's Council on Human Reproductive Technology, and as health experts we're here to tell you all you need to know about IVF and fertility treatments in Hong Kong.
There are many reasons for infertility; factors may include male tubal obstruction or damage, semen abnormality, female ovulation disorder, endometriosis, unexplained infertility, and age can be factored in both men and women as well. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) can serve as an option to increase the chance of conception.
Hong Kong's private healthcare system is known to be one of the most expensive in the world. As couples have children later in life, ART has become an increasingly sought out option for many couples however these procedures are costly, and while the public system provides lower fees, the wait times are much longer and there's less flexibility. Thus, couples tend to turn to the private sector for these treatments.
Whether you are having trouble with infertility or conceiving, the best way to begin the process is to understand your options. In this article, we go through fertility treatments and health insurance coverage in Hong Kong. Fertility treatments are usually only covered under the high-end international plans with restrictions such as maternity cover, waiting periods, pre-existing conditions, and cap limits.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): IUI and IVF
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
An IUI is a procedure used for unexplained infertility, ovulatory problems, sexual dysfunction, lower sperm count, decreased sperm motility, cervical scarring, or muscle issues, for example. Treated sperm (washed semen) is inserted into the cavity of the uterus so that it is nearer to the ovaries before ovulation, increasing the chance of fertilization. This form of ART is less expensive than IVF.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
IVF is the most popular assisted reproductive treatment and involves fertilizing a woman's egg outside of the body, and the process can take four to six weeks to complete. The treatment involves ovarian stimulation through a hormonal prescription, sperm collection, egg retrieval, egg fertilization, and viable embryo transfer after 9-14 days blood will be taken to see if the embryo has successfully been planted.
Where to get IVF in Hong Kong?
Private options: Through the private route, you may experience shorter waiting periods depending on the doctor, more flexibility, choice, and complete follow-through when it comes to the reproductive specialist doctor of your choice.
Here is a complete list of private hospitals/clinics that provide IVF services:
- Central Diagnostic Clinic
- Central Diagnostic Clinic
- Hong Kong IVF Centre Limited
- Pangenia Lifesciences Limited
- Hong Kong Assisted Reproduction Centre
- Hong Kong Reproductive Medicine Centre Limited
- IVF Centre/ Obstetrics & Gynaecology Centre, Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital
- Prolivfic A.R.T Centre
- The IVF Clinic
- Union Hospital Reproductive Medicine Centre (Tsim Sha Tsui)
- Union Reproductive Medicine Centre
- Union Reproductive Medicine Centre (Tsim Sha Tsui)
- Victory "ART" Laboratory Limited
- Victory "ART" Laboratory Limited (TST)
Note: you must be legally married (same-sex marriages excluded), both parties must consent to the procedure, and there is no age or citizenship requirement for the private option.
Public options: The public route is stricter, more limited, and waiting times can be long and challenging, but the cost is more affordable.
Here is a complete list of public hospitals/clinics that provide IVF services:
- Kwong-Wah Hospital, (Dr. Stephen Chow Chun-Kay Assisted Reproduction Center)
- Assisted Reproductive Technology Unit, (IVFHK) Prince of Wales Hospital – The Chinese University of Hong Kong, CUHK ART Unit
- Centre of Assisted Reproduction and Embryology, The University of Hong Kong – Queen Mary Hospital, HKU CARE
- The University of Hong Kong – Tsan Yuk Hospital Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis Laboratory
*Source: from the Council of Human Reproductive Technology's list of licensed centers as of September 1, 2021. You can find the Council's complete list of licensed centers here. While some of the listed centers do not provide IVF services, they offer other fertility-related services.
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How much does IVF cost in Hong Kong?
Public route within the public sector: IVF in the public system is not free but heavily subsidized by the Hospital Authority. For example, the cost of IVF at the Prince of Whales Hospital ranges from approximately HK$10,000 to HK$24,500 with ICSI and frozen embryo storage (a detailed price list through the public system can be found here).
Private route within the public sector: The teaching hospitals offer a private option with a shorter wait time, but higher fees. At the Prince of Whales, the estimated cost per cycle is HK$37,360 to HK$79,310 with ICSI and frozen embryo storage (a detailed price list through the public system can be found here).
Private Sector: The costs of doing fertility treatment through a private hospital or clinic are substantially higher than going through public health services. Private sector fees are not standardized. IVF packages usually cost between HK$80,000 and HK$150,000 per cycle, dependent on the facility and services required. Keep in mind all costs are likely on a per-cycle basis.
Which health insurance covers IVF?
In Hong Kong, the vast majority of health insurance plans do not cover IVF. Only a handful of high-end international plans will cover IVF in Hong Kong, and such coverage is usually only included in a maternity benefit. If you have already been diagnosed with fertility issues, you are not entitled to the benefits as your condition is considered pre-existing.
Furthermore, depending on the plan, there is a waiting period between 12 to 24 months, which means you cannot be reimbursed for IVF-related medical costs for the 1st and 2nd year of your medical insurance policy. Considering how expensive IVF treatment is in Hong Kong, insurance only covers a minimal portion of the overall cost.
The following insurance providers offer coverage for assisted reproductive technology:
Coverage: Cover limited to US$3,000 per cycle with a maximum of 3 cycles per lifetime. This benefit is subject to 50% co-insurance.
Waiting period: None
What is covered: IVF Treatment In vitro and assisted fertilization. All treatment is dependent on our pre-authorization, and we reserve the right to decline the claim in full.
APRIL (MY HEALTH INTERNATIONAL)
Coverage: Up to €/$ 1,500 or €/$ 2,500 per attempt.
Waiting period of 12 months
What is covered: Pharmacy items, in vitro fertilization, diagnostic tests, and follow-up examinations
MSH (FIRST EXPAT)
Coverage: Limited to US$1,100, US$1,500 or US$1,900 per attempt with lifetime limit of US$4,400, US$6,000 or US$7,600.
Waiting period: 12 months
How much is IVF in Hong Kong?
Receiving IVF via the public route in the public sector costs roughly HK$10,000 to $24,500, the private route in the public sector is around HK$37,000 to $80,000.
However, private hospitals and clinics do not have a standardized fee and an IVF package may cost between HK$80,000 to HK$150,000, varying upon the facilities and services provided.
What are the advantages of IVF?
IVF, in long in-vitro fertilization, offers an alternative to people who experience infertility issues such as male tubal obstruction, female ovulation disorder and blocked fallopian tubes in females. IVF increases the chance of successful pregnancy with a healthy baby with lower risks of miscarriage. Some couples also choose IVF in order to control the timing of having a child to achieve better life planning.
What is the maximum age for IVF?
While there is currently no fixed upper age limit for IVF, success rate naturally decreases with a higher age, bringing also higher risks of pregnancy complications to the women. In general, the maximum age for IVF is around 40-50 or as your doctor advises.
Does health insurance cover IVF treatments?
The majority of health plans in Hong Kong provides no coverage for IVF, but maternity benefits in a few high-end international plans do, despite various limits like waiting period and sub-limits usually apply. Read our compiled list above for more details.
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This article was independently written by Alea and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.