Did the Fertility Industry Underwrite Latest IVF Study?

A new IVF study caught my attention just before powering down for Christmas. As much as I wanted to coast into the holidays and give my blog a rest, I couldn’t get this headline in The New York Times out of my head:

With In Vitro Fertilization, Persistence Pays Off

‘Pays off’ that’s a nice play on words, isn’t it? IVF persistence pays off for whom? Fertility clinic owners and the pharmaceutical reps selling IVF cycles, that’s for darned sure.

As I mused on it further it occurred to me that maybe the headline writer was auditioning for a job with the fertility industry. Fertility clinics and Big Pharma have big marketing teams. I see a bright future for him/her there.

My thoughts then shifted to more sobering matters as I added up all the associated costs. I have a hard time imagining there are lots of regular folk who have $90,000-$150,000 burning a hole in their pocket. That amount or more will be needed for six-plus rounds of IVF procedures and drugs. Still more $$$ will be needed to cover the cost of therapy not to mention the extra cash that may — and it’s a long shot — may be required for any high-risk pregnancy and potential neonatal intensive care stay.

Kudos to JenD who had this to say in the comments section:

IVF lunacy

In the tell-it-like-it-is category, you have to appreciate this commenter’s shrewd response on the business aspect:

commentStill, it’s the emotional toll that resonates.  Said Taylor Smith after two failed IVF cycles:

“It’s not just the money being there,” she said. “It’s the emotional toll. Everyone is invested in it. My mother was more upset than I was.”

I know, Taylor. I know…I hear you loud and clear. 

2016 ‘Do No Harm’ Resolutions

The 'don't give up' message implied in the latest New York Times IVF story is an unhealthy one Click To Tweet It’s unhealthy physically, emotionally, financially and, yes, socially, as it further implies that anyone who doesn’t ‘keep at it’ with IVF is somehow at fault.

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For 2016, how about the fertility industry adopts these ‘do no harm’ resolutions:

  • I won’t put financial motivations and ‘upselling’ of another IVF cycle ahead of a patient’s overall well-being, and I will apply safe, medically indicated protocols.
  • I will prioritize my patient’s emotional health
  • I will fund and/or participate in longitudinal health studies for all involved in assisted reproductive technologies (ART)

Let me take my new year wish list one step further. How about this aspirational headline and subhead:

Fertility Industry Gives Birth to Healthier Practices
Efforts Lead to Greater Emotional Support In and Out of Clinics

Wouldn’t it be nice to see that story line take shape in 2016?

As always, welcome your comments.