Walter Reed IVF vs. Civilian IVF — The Bump
Military Families

Walter Reed IVF vs. Civilian IVF

Last August, after a tube rupture from an ectopic pregnancy, my husband and I were told IVF is our only option to conceive. I have been researching the heck out of everything, signed up for IVF with a local civilian clinic, and now we have learned about IVF at Walter Reed.... The civilian clinic charges 12,900 for IVF with ICSI (As long as we get 4 blasts that make it to freeze stage, this includes everything for 4 tries except meds which are $3 to 5K). According to their website, Walter Reed charged $6197 in 2013; however, it seems as though there are a bunch of misc. charges such as admin fees, embryo & sperm freeze/storage, etc.

Does anyone have additional info on IVF at a military clinic such as Walter Reed? Fees, program, etc?? Online someone said it was like a "cattle call." But others have said it was great. We are really torn on which route to go. The civilian clinic is easier as it is close by, all of our documentation is there, and we know everyone already. The military clinic is a training hospital, the success rates are a bit lower, but would the $ savings might be worth giving it a shot? We want to make the best choice both financially and emotionally. Thanks in advance for any help.

Me (32) - DH (35)
Married Feb 2013
TTC since Dec 2013
Aug 2014: ectopic w/tube loss. Remaining tube blocked.
IVF #1: Cx after 7 days stims due to low estradiol
IVF #2: Jan 2016

Re: Walter Reed IVF vs. Civilian IVF

  • I just did 2 IVFs at Madigan/JBLM in Washington. We'd been trying for 5 years, did 7 IUIs with a civilian OB, but couldn't justify doing IVF with the only civilian RE in our state at $20,000 a cycle. We don't live in WA but traveled out there for the IVF.

    Our first one was in Oct and it did not work. But the REs regrouped, tweaked my protocol and we ended up with 4 embryos at the end of the 2nd IVF. We transferred 2, froze 2, and found out last week it worked! I'm 5 weeks right now. I'm so glad we gave it a go there, because we got 2 cycles out of the same price as the civilian RE.

    Not sure how Walter Reed does it, but Madigan did all u/s, b/w and monitoring appts at the MTF on base, but outsourced the ER/ET and used a civilian REs offices for those procedures. So my military RE did the procedures, but used the civilians clinic/embryologist for ER/ET. My RE was telling me that the civilian embryologists they used are supposed to be some of the best in the state, which made me feel good about them taking care of our embryos. We have MFI, so we did IVF with ICSI for both cycles. We paid ~$8,500 for each IVF cycle.

    I had heard that doing IVF at the military REs as being a cattle call, but I never got that vibe at Madigan. I loved both the REs I worked with at Madigan, but really loved the one we had this cycle. He would take the time to sit down with my chart and show me why he thought the 2nd cycle was going much better than the 1st. He even told me at ET, with how this cycle went, he would be really surprised if I didn't end up pregnant. And he was right. Obviously there never is a guarantee, but it made me feel good that he had that much confidence in this cycle.

    If I can answer anything else, just tag me or quote this. I don't hang out here on this board, but know how important it was when we were trying to gather info about our options. Every little bit of info was welcome :)
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Hi all! I was wondering if you can give me updates on your stories. In particular I'm seeking information on what medications are covered by Tricare.

    Me 37, DH 41.
    Mirena removed 11/15, immediately started trying.
    April 16: AMH 2.35, Normal all other labs, including sperm.
    Aug 16: HSG normal. Saline sonogram showed likely polyp, but not optimal due to discomfort.
    Sept 16: Hysteroscopy with light D&C for small polyps.
    Sept 16: Notice of impending deployment for six months.
    Sept 16: Femara round 1: D12 US, 28mm follicle, 8mm endometrium; D15 US, collapsed follicle, 5.5 mm endometrium
    Oct 16: Femara round 2: D17 US, ovarian cyst consistent with ovulation, 5mm endometrium and cystic structure in the endometrium consistent with adenomyosis. Adenomyosis also present on US in July 16.
    Oct 16: Deployment cancelled, likely next summer if not sooner.
    Next up: Estrace D 5-12, Progesterone suppositories 3DPO

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  • All my medication at Walter Reed was covered through Tricare prime. I just had to pay the $5000 for the IVF cycle. It was great but it didn't take so this time we are doing IVF w/ Icis and endometrial scratching this March and the total cost will be $6283. 
  • ttcndcttcndc member
    @ddstoves how did you like the physicians at Walter Reed?  Were they attentive and answered your questions and reposnded quicmky?  This is my first time doing IVF and I will be having it at Walter Reed. 
    Me: 34 DH: 28
    FSH/LH - 7.6/7.16
    AMH - 0.867
    IVF #1 - Scheduled for May 2017
  • I just did IVF successfully through Walter Reed. We did 3 IUI's at the OBGYN clinic that were unsuccessful, that was October - December 2017. We decided to try IVF next, but we were too late to join the January cycle (plus they were at full capacity), and so we had to wait until the March/April cycle. There is a whole process leading up to enrolling in the IVF cycle/program. You have to attend the IVF orientation, and make sure you have all the updated testing that is required- all labs, STD testing, diagnostic imaging of your uterus, sperm analysis, etc. It's quite a lot actually! And it took several months to get it all taken care of, but they helped order the tests we needed. Sometimes it seemed like it took the staff a while to get back to me, and some of my blood tests were not ordered, which lead to a lot of back and forth to the hospital. Unfortunately, throughout most of the time I had a difficult work schedule so it was hard to coordinate visits leading to more delays. But fortunately I leave about 25 minutes away from Bethesda, MD without traffic, with traffic is a whole different story in DC! 

    You also need to pay in full what the estimated costs will be before enrolling in the IVF cycle. Once we were enrolled I had about a 2 month wait until we got a start date, which ended up being April 3rd. Prior to that I was on birth control pills for about 7 weeks. They give you a schedule- mostly an estimated schedule. My schedule ended up being entirely inaccurate because once I started using the injectable stimulation medications I progressed fast, so my appointments got shifted forward a couple of days. I had adjusted my work schedule based on the estimated appointment calendar, so that screwed up my work scheduled- but clearly IVF was waaaay more important and my employer just had to deal with it. 

    The costs to us were about 6K including IVF cycle and ICSI- we have unexplained infertility. The drugs are all covered by Tricare! We got the bill for the meds afterwards that Tricare paid and it was about 2K worth of meds!

    The staff is very professional. The nursing staff is mostly good, very positive. They seem a bit overstretched. The Nurse Manager sometimes was poor with communication. I was sympathetic because she always looked tired during the IVF cycle, when they can have 90 patients going through IVF staggered throughout the month. I was a little frustrated at times with poor communication on their part, but for the most part, considering the significant discount compared to private fertility clinics, I was happy we went with Walter Reed. However, if we did not get pregnant as a result of the cycle, I may be singing a different tune. 

    One interesting thing is that with WR they will only transfer a single embryo if you are 37 or younger. They are more concerned about the increased costs and risk to the mother and fetuses with twin pregnancies, than increased rate of pregnancy with transferring 2 embryos. That frustrated me at first, but I did get pregnant, so I have a lot to be thankful for! 

    I'm 5 weeks 5 days pregnant and just got a new symptom today- nausea! Yay! We've been trying for a baby for so long I am embracing every wonderful-aweful stage about pregnancy!
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