The first thing to know about assisted reproductive treatment (ART) in Hong Kong is that only legally married couples – not same sex couples – are able to access these services. Consent from both partners is required. The great divide between the public and private providers when looking at accessing fertility services is costs, waiting times and flexibility. We discuss both options in-depth below.
1 – Public health sector infertility services
There are three public hospitals in Hong Kong that provide fertility services: the Kwong-Wah Hospital (Dr Stephen Chow Chun-Kay Assisted Reproduction Center); and two teaching hospitals: Prince of Wales (CUHK ART Unit) and Queen Mary Hospital (HKU CARE). It is important to note that Hong Kong’s public sector provides both public and private routes and that eligibility, waiting times and costs may differ.
Public route within public sector – In order to be eligible for ART services in Hong Kong public hospitals, couples must be married and the female partner must be a Hong Kong citizen and under 40 at the time the procedures are anticipated to take place.
Private route within public sector – The above criteria of age and citizenship do not apply. While you do not have to be married for the first consultation, you must be legally married when undergoing treatment.
Whether you choose the public or private route within the public health system, treatment waiting times are extremely long. Here is Healthy Matters’ comparison chart of approximate waiting times as of August 2017 for Hong Kong’s teaching hospitals.
Flexibility and choice
In the public system, there are few options of appointment times for the many ultrasounds and blood tests. Plus there is no guarantee that you will see the same doctor at your visits even if you have chosen the private route.
Public route within public sector – IVF in the public system is not free but heavily subsidized by the Hospital Authority. The cost of IVF at the PoW 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 public sector – The teaching hospitals offer a private option with a shorter wait time, but higher fees. At the PoW, the estimated fee 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).
2 – Private health sector infertility services
There are many private hospitals and centres providing fertility services across the city. The Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital has been offering IVF treatments since 1986; the Union Hospital has been offering IVF since 2000.
In order to be eligible for private ART services in Hong Kong, couples must be legally married and each sign a consent form. There is no age or citizenship requirement.
The primary benefits of the private system are short wait times and flexibility. While waiting times vary per doctor, they are substantially shorter than public providers.
Flexibility and choice
The private system offers much more choice and flexibility. You choose your reproductive specialist doctor who will see you throughout the entire process.
The costs of doing fertility treatment through a private hospital or clinic are substantially higher than going through the public health services. Private sector fees are not standardized. IVF packages are usually 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.
3 – IVF insurance coverage
IVF is generally excluded by health insurance providers in Hong Kong. There are very few plans that will cover infertility treatments and such coverage is usually 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. The ALC Prima Platinum plan for instance covers three IVF cycles per lifetime up to US$3,000 per cycle – subject to a 50% co-insurance.
4 – Complete list of fertility providers in HK
Here is Healthy Matters’ Directory of fertility treatment providers in Hong Kong.
A list of centres and the services they provide can be found here.
Interested in learning about about preserving your fertility? Read Healthy Matters’ Guide to Egg Freezing in Hong Kong