Selecting an IVF Program: Willingness to Share Financial Risk with Patients, Builds Confidence!

Unlike virtually every other form of medical treatment in America, IVF is largely not covered by insurance.  To make matters worse, patients often require more than one attempt to have a reasonable chance for success and the majority of people needing this treatment cannot afford enough attempts to shift the odds in their favor. 

When it comes to selecting an IVF program, consumers often find themselves faced with two harsh realities. First, IVF affords them the only realistic chance of having a family and second, given failure on the part of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to publish verifiable IVF outcome statistics, there is presently no reliable method by which to evaluate the competency of any IVF program on the basis of their performance. Simply stated, in the U.S.A when it comes to choosing an IVF program for treatment, it is still a case of “consumers beware”!

Against this background, many quality IVF programs, by offering a financial risk to their patients are providing a creative approach to building consumer confidence in their ability to help them go from “infertility to family”. Such financial Risk-Sharing Plans (RSP) link the cost of IVF services to a successful outcome (birth). In the process, the IVF program provides consumers with more than one IVF attempts for a single, much-reduced fee. The RSP requires that the IVF program continue to treat until such time that a baby is born, or the promised services have been exhausted (whichever occurs first).  In this manner, financial risk is shared between the provider and the patient. Consumers immediately and instinctively recognize that only those IVF programs that are capable of achieving good results would be able to offer (and benefit financially from) such an arrangement while those that cannot, would lose and soon be forced to abandon the plan.

While generally speaking, contingency pricing in medicine is in large part ethically questionable, IVF is, in my opinion, a clear exception because here, the outcome is actuarially measurable, terms are clearly definable, and expectations are realistic. Thus, in the absence of insurance reimbursement, who is being hurt?

2 Comments

Wendy edgar

Hi I’m 35 yrs of age I had my tubes tied in 2008 and I want to have a baby now ,is it possible?

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Dr. Geoffrey Sher

There is a relatively high success rates following tubal re-connection (reanastomosisis) in cases of previous tubal ligation (a birth rate of +/- 50% within 3 years of a successful surgery). However, IVF performed in a center of excellence produces almost the same success rate following a single attempt and is far less invasive than surgery. IVF also does not require general anesthesia, hospitalization, or a protracted time off work. Moreover by doing IVF and leaving the tubal ligation undisturbed, the woman retains subsequent control over family planning without having to resort to using some other form of contraception. Another point to be considered is the high incidence of tubal or ectopic pregnancy following the performance of tubal reanastomosisis high (about 20%).Major surgery also requires a few days of hospitalization and subsequently a few weeks of convalescence. There is also a risk of post-operative complications, increased cost, and time away from work, incapacitation, and significantly greater discomfort. The cost of a full cycle of IVF is in fact comparable to that of tubal reanastamosisis.
In my opinion, provided that IVF is performed in a program with high success rates, tubal surgery for fixing damaged or blocked Fallopian tubes, with few exceptions, can no longer be justified financially or ethically.
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ADDENDUM:
INTRODUCING SHER FRERTILITY SOLUTIONS (SFS)
Hitherto I have personally performed the actual hands-on treatment of all patients who, seeking my involvement, elected to travel to Las Vegas for my care. However, with the launching of Sher-Fertility Solutions (SFS), I will as of March 31st take on a new and expanded consultation role. Rather than having hands-on involvement with IVF procedures I will, through SFS, instead provide fertility consultations (via SKYPE) to the growing number of patients (from >40 countries) with complex Reproductive Dysfunction (RD) who seek access to my input , advice and guidance. In this way I will be able to be involved in overseeing the care, of numerous patients who previously, because they were unable to travel long distances to be treated by me, were unable to gain access to my input.

Anyone wishing to schedule a Skype consultation with me, can do so by: Calling my concierge (Patti Converse) at 1-800-780-7437 for an appointment,enrolling online on my website, http://www.SherIVF.com, or 702-533-2691; or emailing Patti at concierge@SherIVF.com or . sher@sherivf.com .
I was very recently greatly honored in receiving an award by the prestigious; International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). For more information, go to the press release on my website, http://www.sherIVF.com .

PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT SFS!

Geoff Sher

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