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Houston Fertility Center

Safe Versus Affordable: Are Couples Forced to Choose?

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on May 04, 2010

This article on Australia-based News-Medical.Net reports that increasing numbers of twins and triplets are being born as a result of the global economic crisis.

The increase (in Australia) is due to more infertility patients requesting the transfer of more than one embryo in each IVF cycle. Essentially, in an effort to save money, couples are trying to boost their odds of pregnancy per cycle.

This is an unfortunate state of affairs, since studies have for a long time pointed to several related facts, including the bottom line that multiples and their mothers are at greater risk for numerous precarious health conditions.

Because of the many complex variables at play in each IVF cycle and in each woman's own reproductive condition and functioning, some patients must undergo more than one IVF cycle before successfully achieving a healthy pregnancy. In some cases, one treatment cycle is all that's required.

Now that the combined work of embryologists and reproductive endocrinologists has arrived at a point of making single embryo transfer a viable option for many, and certainly transferring only one or two more embryos to counteract some infertility-causing conditions, my recommendation for struggling couples is to take advantage of seasonal discounts when available.

Rather than boosting your odds per pregnancy, which in turn may boost health risks for you and your hoped-for baby, I encourage patients to time their treatment around clinics' occasional specials. For example, Houston Fertility Center is currently offering IVF for $7,950 per cycle, until June 30, 2010. We've long offered summer price cuts so that patients who typically vacation during summer months can fill their off-time with baby-making. (It's especially popular with teachers, we've learned.) At the discounted rates, if getting pregnant requires more than one cycle of IVF, you'll still be receiving affordable treatment and at a much safer embryo transfer rate.

I know the anxiety that many patients feel, about time passing, about affording treatment, and about possibly never having a baby. But I also know that all of my patients, to a person, want a healthy baby over everything else. Boosting the odds of pregnancy by narrowing down to one IVF cycle with too many embryos is not the safest way to fulfill their dreams.

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