In today’s day and age of infertility therapy, in vitro fertilization continues to be the most successful treatment alternative for patients attempting to conceive using their own eggs. As a result of constant research and development in medication, laboratory, and embryo transfer protocols, the success rates of IVF are the highest they have ever been. However despite the overwhelming advancements in the realm of IVF therapy, a major persistent obstacle for many patients is the cost associated with this therapy. Due to the expenses involved, the utilization of IVF services is tremendously influenced by insurance coverage, especially in states without mandated IVF coverage. In addition, with the upcoming governmental policies that may potentially significantly change the status of insurance coverage for many Americans, this issue of IVF coverage could become even more pronounced.
In the United States, the combination of high costs and the public’s perception of uncertainty about IVF outcomes gave rise in the 1990’s to so-called risk sharing plans. Such plans typically involve a non-discounted, or full fee for the IVF-embryo transfer cycle, however if no pregnancy occurs after a predetermined number of fresh and/or frozen cycles, a large percentage of the fee is refunded. With the growth in the number of these risk-sharing programs, many ethicists have assessed, and concluded, that they may in fact be ethically applied to IVF services. However, there has not been a great deal of research into the actual outcomes/success rates of such programs throughout the literature.
To this end, a recent study from Woodbury, Minnesota, by Dr. J. Stassart and colleagues addressed the outcomes of the first 100 patients who met the inclusion criteria and were thus enrolled in their risk sharing program. What they found was that 88% of these 100 participants had successfully achieved a pregnancy based upon the criteria of the study; i.e. a live born child or an ongoing viable pregnancy at the time of the report. The authors concluded that women considered to be good candidates for IVF can be well served by a risk sharing program.
Here at our Center, we too have offered an extremely successful IVF Refund Plan for many years to any and all eligible patients needing IVF therapy. While such programs are in no way meant to imply any guarantee of treatment success, they certainly to a great extent financially indemnify patients against the possibility that their treatment cycle may not succeed. Especially in today’s economy, such measures are invaluable in granting patients some degree of security and peace of mind as they embark upon the quest to achieve their dreams of parenthood.