IVF Fraud – How To Avoid Getting Scammed

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Many couples who are struggling with infertility will consider achieving a pregnancy through in vitro fertilization or IVF as a last resort- unless the only way conception can happen is through IVF when it comes to situations such as blocked tubes or severely low sperm counts. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

However, other than that, couples will first try other ways and less expensive and less invasive ways to conceive by using fertility drugs only or fertility drugs and intrauterine insemination. Many times, those approaches work in situations where infertility is on the mild or moderate end.

However, when it comes to infertility that is on the severe end, those approaches will not work. Therefore, IVF will be the next step, and if that fails, the next and final stage would be hiring a surrogate to carry the couple’s biological child.

More often than not, IVF is successful even if it takes several attempts to work.


What Is Involved in IVF?

If all other attempts to conceive have failed, then couples will need to know what IVF involves. It is, unfortunately, a long and grueling process. Hormones will have to be injected into women to change their cycles by using birth control to suppress their own hormones and then fertility drugs will be used to stimulate the ovaries so multiple eggs become mature at once.

During the time the fertility drugs are administered, the woman will be closely monitored by blood work and ultrasound to measure the size of the eggs and to see how close it is for the retrieval to happen.

IVF procedure

Once that day arrives, the woman will be given a shot of hCg to increase progesterone levels and be taken into a room and sedated while the eggs are being extracted by a needle that goes past the cervix, while the process is being monitored carefully by an ultrasound. In the meantime, the man gives a sperm sample to the specialist for washing.

Once the eggs have been retrieved, they keep the woman there for 1 to 2 hours for monitoring while the sedation wears off. She will be given pain relievers and antibiotics in case she is in pain and/or develops an infection. In the meantime, the eggs are taken and are fertilized with the sperm either in a petri dish or the sperm are injected individually into the eggs in cases where there are severe low sperm counts or in other unique situations.

Then after the fertilization happens, the embryos will be frozen and from 3 to 5 days they will be monitored or biopsied in cases where PGS (preimplantation genetic screening) or PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) are involved, where the reasons for IVF in these cases are not necessarily due to infertility- but for the fact that both parents carry a bad gene that can be passed on if they conceived the child naturally, or if there were repeated miscarriages due to chromosomal abnormalities, embryos would be screened and the healthy ones would be implanted.

After the embryos are dividing well and appearing healthy, then the woman will be called back in for the transfer. Depending on her age, the most appropriate amount of embryos will be transferred.

Younger women receiving IVF treatments will be likely to receive one embryo due to the fact that the odds of successful implantation happening are higher. Older women, over 35 years of age will likely have more embryos transferred because the odds of successful implantation are lower.

In vitro fertilization

The transfer is not painful for a woman and she will not need to be sedated as a needle will be used to transfer the embryos into the uterus. She will be given progesterone in order to make sure that the chances of implantation are high, and she will keep the progesterone throughout the first trimester if she is pregnant.

If she ends up having a negative pregnancy blood test which will be taken about a week and a half after the transfer- then she will stop taking the progesterone.


What Are the Costs of IVF

That is the IVF physical experience in a nutshell. It is a very costly procedure, and the average cost is $10,000 per cycle and $5000 per transfer.

However, most companies nowadays cover some IVF costs. But not enough, and since most people don’t have that kind of cash easily accessible then they are advised to get a loan, or dip into their retirement savings, or if they are lucky they can get financial help from their families. Some couples have even set up GoFundMe pages so they end up raising the funds to help cover their IVF costs.


What is the Emotional Toll of IVF?

As far as the emotional toll IVF takes on people who are going through it, it’s heavy. Between being devastated due to facing infertility, especially if the reason that a couple has to resort to IVF is that of the fact that other fertility procedures that were attempted failed- and the fact that IVF is financially and physically taxing, it’s a very tough thing to go through.

Additionally, the waiting game can be torturous for couples after the transfer. The nerves are difficult to handle because it is unknown at that time whether the pregnancy took or not. So waiting for that week and a half between the day of the transfer and the day of the pregnancy blood test is a difficult time as well.

Needless to say, couples who are going through IVF need plenty of support from friends, family and it is advisable for them to join groups that have others who are in the same boat as them so they can support one another during a difficult process.

Because of the fact that IVF is so emotionally, physically and financially taxing, it is crucial that couples who are having to resort to IVF in order to conceive a child of their own do their research on IVF and fertility clinics before just choosing any random clinic- that may be convenient due to location. Because, unfortunately, there are many IVF scams around which will be another cause of devastation to the couple going through this ordeal.

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Steps To Take To Protect Yourself From IVF Fraud

Never buy IVF drugs online.

Whenever you learn about how expensive IVF is, the first thing you are going to be tempted to do is to save money in any way you can. And yes, the way to do that is to ask your insurance provider how much of the procedure will be covered. However, you will see ads online that say Buy your IVF drugs cheap, and it will be tempting to grab it. Avoid that like the plague! Stay away from online pharmacies because most of the time they are scammers and will sell IVF drugs for cheap, but in the long run, they will cost you more because they will not work! Your time and money, in the end, will be wasted, and you will become even more devastated.

Stay away from pushy salespeople.

If you call a fertility clinic that offers IVF, and you tell them that you are looking around for quotes but are not committing yourself to the clinic yet- a reputable clinic will not attempt ways to push you into using the clinic in any way possible. They could do this by giving you a steep discount on IVF drugs and will keep hounding you in other ways. If a clinic is doing this, keep away from them and keep looking around.

Stay away from pushy salespeople

Do your research.

Don’t settle on a clinic for the sake that it is conveniently located. If there are reputable sources that endorse an IVF clinic that is further away, then you need to be open to that one. Also, talk to people who are willing to discuss their IVF journeys and these people who have successfully achieved healthy pregnancies by using a particular clinic will have nothing other than positive things to say. People will be very honest about their experiences with products and services. If they are happy about something they used, then they will rave about it. The opposite is very true as well.

Even though infertility is still a very taboo topic which it shouldn’t be, but it is- random people that you meet offline who struggled with infertility and resorted to IVF will not discuss their experiences- the same way you wouldn’t tell people what is going on. However, there are plenty of forums and Facebook groups that are filled with people discussing their experiences with IVF. Talk to those people and if a fertility clinic that has been proven to help people and has been endorsed by reputable sources at the same time requires some travelling to get there- then you will need to strongly consider making a trip if it is known to be so good, and has proven to be as well.

Talk to your doctor.

Your doctor will most definitely give you some recommendations as far as where some good IVF clinics are. However, don’t agree to settle on deciding on the clinic based on that either. Especially if your doctor says that he or she heard that it was reputable but can’t find any concrete evidence to back it up. Your doctor will tell you that as well. Again if you get a recommendation from your doctor about a good clinic, you will have to do your research. However, if you really trust your doctor and he or she highly recommends a clinic because many of his or her patients used the clinic and was successful- then you can definitely check into it. Even then, don’t just decide to use it before doing further research.

Talk to your doctor

Never buy into false claims.

If a clinic states that if an IVF cycle is guaranteed to work or else they will give you your money back, then run away. The reality is that IVF cycles have a 33% chance of working and a reputable clinic will be upfront and honest about that. Don’t fall for a money back guarantee claim for IVF. It is one thing if a carpet cleaning service makes that guarantee but it is another if you get that from an IVF clinic! Run far away. Because what will happen is that it won’t work, and they will tell you that you did something to cause the pregnancy not to take and will not give you any money back as a result.

Stay away from outrageous promises.

That goes hand in hand with the point made above. But if there are outrageous claims such as the clinic making promises that you will get pregnant because they incorporate an easy solution to get you there, stay away. Also, these clinics may end up giving you more drugs than you need which will not increase your chances of getting pregnant. So if there are outrageous claims made by a clinic, they are false and they are trying to scam you!

Don’t look for fertility clinic ads on Craigslist.

If you are looking for freelancing work or looking to buy someone’s used sofa, Craigslist is fine. But when it comes to looking for fertility clinics- just don’t do it. In fact, don’t look for fertility clinics anywhere online, ever. If they post ads online then they are less than likely honest!

Don't look for fertility clinic ads on Craigslist

Trust your intuition.

If you read about a clinic that sounds fishy to you, then trust what you are feeling and stay away. Chances are it is no good if you are getting a negative vibe from it.

So do yourself a favor if you are taking the next step or the only step by going through IVF to conceive- don’t look at ads online at all for fertility and IVF drugs and clinics, ask your doctor about possible good clinics, and better yet, do your own research by talking to people who have used clinics and have been successful with them, Read up on the clinics around and made an educated decision while choosing the best clinic that will help you, and not make any false claims or promises.

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Maureen Stephens, BS, RN
Ms. Stephens has spent over twenty years in the healthcare world, specializing in obstretical and medical/surgical nursing. She joined ConceiveEasy as she has a strong interest in educating and empowering women and promoting fertility awareness.