Around 10% of the general population suffers from some form of infertility, Indian population is 1.2 billion and this percent converts to a very high number.In order to tackle this issue, infertility clinics have been blooming all over India.In view of the rising competition, some of these commercial fertility chains have resorted to various marketing gimmicks to lure patients with “Moneyback Schemes”. These programs lead to poor ethics of treatment strategies, depersonalized care and poor doctor-patient relationship.Here we give you a run down of the nitty-gritty details of this lucrative practice. These schemes have been given several names, unfortunately none of them are in anyway beneficial to the patients and are more misleading, manipulative and exploitive.
A sample Moneyback scheme:
The couple pays roughly around 2,50,000 INR and are subjected to two ICSI cycles.The lure is that if both these cycles fail the couple are given back their money. Unfortunately this is far from the truth.Prior to enrolling in such a scheme, the couple should undergo certain “eligibility” tests which would cost them anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 INR every cycle (6-8 times).Some of the clinics may even ask the patient to undergo a diagnostic hystero-laparoscopy which would add on an additional cost of 40,000 INR.
The medications and hormone injections required during the cycle would be borne from the patient’s pocket (this would cost them an additional 60,000 to 1,00,000 INR). Consultation fees, embryo storage fees are also usually not included in such programs.If the patient’s first ICSI cycle failed, she will be asked to undergo frozen embryo transfers every cycle until all embryos are depleted (cost of the Frozen Embryo Transfer will also not be covered by such programs and it would roughly cost them 35,000 INR).By this time most couples who qualified for the program would have already conceived.Once all the embryos from the first cycle are depleted, the patient will be stimulated again for the second ICSI cycle and the whole process repeated until all embryos are again depleted.
In the rare instance where the couple still do not get pregnant, the patient would be given back the money from the program.By this time (6- 8 months depending on the number of frozen embryos) the fertility chain has nothing to lose because all blood works, laparoscopy and 4-5 frozen embryo transfers have been paid for and the loss from the hospital side will be very minimal.To add to this most programs do not guarantee a live child birth, instead only talk about establishing clinical pregnancy at which stage the scheme would come to an end.If the couple become pregnant in the very first cycle, they the program receives 150% of the usual fee for ICSI, so either way the commercial fertility clinic wins.If ever the patient wants to opt out during this entire money grabbing fiasco, they would only receive half the amount.Refund programs are so very selective about who they will qualify for the program, that women with the most favorable prognosis will only get through.
Some ineligible criteria for the couple include:
- Obese patients over 30 BMI
- Patients who have failed previous fresh IVF/ICSI cycles
- Patients above 35 years of age
- Azoospermic husbands (non-obstructive in nature).
Giving the patient a realistic sense of her chances in pregnancy is a doctor’s greatest skill and obligation since no center can guarantee a 100% outcome. At Indigo Womens Center, fertility center in Chennai, we do not feel its ethically right to have couples qualify and pay such exorbitant amounts for so called “Money back programs” especially when they are more than capable to get pregnant in the very first attempt. Instead we are focused on a trusting patient-doctor relationship.
We are very confident in our ICSI program and are committed to the success of our patients. If you are not successful within the first two ICSI cycles (including Frozen Embryo Transfers), we will do a third cycle of ICSI using your own eggs at no cost at all. Our only criteria is, the third cycle should be done within one year so that the lab. tests would not be too old.
For more information, contact us at +91-7080808087 or 044-4946-5555.