The cost of home birth will depend on whether you go through a Hospital scheme/service or whether you employ a SECM (Self Employed Community Midwife)
(i) Hospital services / Home Birth Schemes
If you are availing of maternity services provided by a Hospital or HSE scheme, they will be provided free of charge as you are regarded as a public patient. Currently there are schemes in Co Cork, Co Kerry and Wexford. Hospital home birth services are provided from NMH Holles St. and from Waterford General. Other hospitals may provide them on an ad-hoc basis. However, in many HSE regional areas, the only persons available to attend home births are private SECMs*.
(ii) Self Employed Community Midwife (SECMs)
The services of a SECM are partially covered by a direct payment they receive from the HSE for attending each woman. If your midwife has made a minimum of 11 visits in total (both antenatal and postnatal) and attended the birth at home, then s/he is paid €2,400 directly from the HSE. This should cover the majority of her fee. However, this amount is exclusive of local traveling expenses and any additional services your midwife may provide for you. Therefore each SECM may charge extra over and above the €2,400 she receives from the HSE. She will inform you of her additional charges (if any) at your initial contact .If you decide to engage a SECM*, the fees will certainly be less or comparable to attending a consultant obstetrician privately. Furthermore, many people feel that you get more value for money with a domiciliary midwife with greater continuity of care, a more personal approach and a much greater likelihood of her attending the birth than a consultant obstetrician.
(iii) Private health insurance
VHI and Quinn health, Vivas and the Hospital Saturday fund all give grants towards the costs of a home birth
Employees and spouses of certain companies with group health insurance such as Garda Siochana, E.S.B., Prison Officers etc., may also be eligible to claim for midwifery service fees. Make enquiries.