Fertility Treatments and Health Insurance: What You Need to Know
Did you know that in Hong Kong, one in six couples has issues conceiving, according to The Council on Human Reproductive Technology? 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.
In Hong Kong, the medical system is known to be one of the most expensive in the world, as more and more couples have children later in life, assisted reproductive technology 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 is 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 for completion. 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 planted.
Where to get IVF in Hong Kong?
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 choosing.
Here is a complete list of private hospitals/clinics that provide IVF services:
- Central Diagnostic Clinic
- Hong Kong IVF Centre Limited
- Pangenia Lifesciences Limited
- Women’s Health and Reproductive Medicine Centre 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 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.
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 centres as of 13 October 2019. You can find the Council’s complete list of licensed centres here. While some of the listed centres do not provide IVF services, they offer other fertility-related services.
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 $10,000 to $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 $37,360 to $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 $80,000 and $150,000 per cycle, dependent on the facility and services required. Keep in mind all costs are likely on a per-cycle basis.
Does health insurance cover 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$3,000 per cycle with a maximum of 3 cycles per lifetime. This benefit is subject to 50% co-insurance.
Waiting period: None
What is covered: IVF Treatment In vitro and assisted fertilization. All treatment is dependent on our pre-authorisation, and we reserve the right to decline the claim in full.
Coverage: U to €/$ 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
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
Looking for health insurance with expert advice? Contact AD MediLink now at firstname.lastname@example.org or +852 2606 2668 to receive a free quote. Advisors uniquely trained on the Hong Kong healthcare system will be in touch to answer all your enquiries concerning both the public and private sectors.
This article was independently written by AD MediLink 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.