So, what’s the deal. As the field of IVF grew, some IVF centers instituted “success or your money back” programs. Many of these were thought to be unethical because it could encourage centers to do potentially harmful procedures to try to avoid paying out the guarantee. The most common abuse was to transfer more embryos than thought to be safe. Of course to fund such a promise, patients would be paying more than they needed to for a single cycle.
They also refer to these programs as “risk-sharing.” But in reality the only ones taking the risk are the patients. Many clinics have stacked the odds in their favor by charging fees well above normal to make sure they are not hurt financially.
Here’s how the house can stack the deck: by admitting only people who have a better-than-even chance of bearing a child early in the process. Those people, however, may not need to pay extra for such a plan, given that their clinics picked them precisely because they were such good bets. Another way for doctors to improve the odds of producing more babies would be to implant more embryos during each transfer. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine frowns on this, given the additional risks that come with twins and triplets.
But having a way for patients to have a way to protect themselves financially in an unpredictable specialty can be a good idea. One way to avoid the ethical dilemma is not to have the medical group have a financial stake in the guarantee or “risk sharing” program.
The real questions are what are the boundaries of ethical behavior and what makes sense financially for patients. At Reproductive Partners we offer the Attain programs in which Reproductive Partners has no stake. There are a number of choices. The Attain™ IVF program maximizes your chances of success with IVF through a 6-cycle treatment package (3-fresh, 3-frozen) and minimizes your financial risk by fixing the cost of treatment and providing a refund if treatment is not successful. Other Attain programs offer multi-cycle discounts. Since the medical groups that offer Attain do not have a financial stake in the outcome there is no incentive to go to dangerous lengths to try to assure success for financial reasons.
For more information please visit the Cost of Fertility Treatment section of our website.