Couples who struggle to conceive may find themselves feeling desperate. Often, couples who receive an infertile diagnosis are willing to try anything to conceive the child they want. For many couples, legitimate infertility treatments provide solutions, but some people have no qualms about preying on desperate, vulnerable couples. Before trying any test, fertility booster, egg donation or surrogacy arrangement, make sure you’re not falling for an infertility treatment scam.
UNNECESSARY MEDICAL TESTS
Unfortunately, doctors don’t always respect the financial strains that infertile couples experience. They may recommend tests that sound fashionable or incorporate “cutting edge” technology, but not all of those tests will help you solve your infertility conundrum. Thankfully, not all doctors suggest unnecessary tests. An infertility doctor you can trust won’t recommend unnecessary tests and treatments. Before agreeing to pay for an infertility test, ask your doctor some specific questions:
Why is the test being ordered? Sometimes, tests may reveal a curiosity to doctors or patients, but they don’t affect treatment. Even worse, they may produce a false abnormal result, leading already distressed couples down the wrong treatment path.
How definitive is the test? If the test would just lead to a series of other tests, then ask for a more definitive test. Just because the test is “new” doesn’t mean that it’s conclusive and accurate.
What do you hope to find? Your doctor should be able to articulate exactly what the test will reveal. Also, your doctor should explain what would be learned from the test result.
How will the result affect my treatment? If the test isn’t going to help you conceive, then it’s not a test worth having. Don’t allow the quest for “answers” to make you spend money that you don’t have.
FAKE FERTILITY BOOSTERS
Some alternative treatments show promise in helping couples to conceive. Some small studies, for example, have demonstrated that acupuncture treatments, delivered 25 minutes before and after embryo transfer, correlate with a better rate of implantation. However, scientists haven’t replicated the studies on a large scale, and they haven’t uncovered a causal relationship between acupuncture and increased rates of conception.
Acupuncture rarely causes significant side effects or harm, but some non-traditional infertility treatments are either completely ineffective or potentially harmful to the mother or embryo. Watch out for claims like these:
“Natural.” “Natural” doesn’t always mean “safe,” and many products labeled “natural” have never been proven effective. Many supplement manufacturers claim that a lack of support for “natural” products is a sign of a medical resistance to non-traditional remedies. In truth, doctors want to help patients, not prevent them from finding answers, and when a product truly works, most doctors heartily endorse it.
Impossible feats. If an herb or other product claims to do the impossible, then it probably does nothing at all. Also, the sheer quantity of products that a person would have to drink or swallow to produce astounding results is far more than any person could safely consume.
Non-specific claims. Beware of bogus claims, like “improved sperm health,” “optimized sperm performance” and “overall reproductive wellness.” Most manufacturers use vague and non-specific language because more specific claims would get them into trouble with the FDA.
EGG DONATION AND SURROGACY SCAMS
Many couples pay for egg donation or surrogates only to discover that their egg donor or surrogate is a fraud. Take these steps to avoid being scammed:
If an egg donor or surrogate isn’t referred by an agency, require the surrogate to be vetted by a reproductive law attorney.
Ask for references from legal and medical professionals that have worked with the agency before.
Avoid using any surrogacy or egg donor agency that provides only a P.O. Box as its address.
Before providing funds to an escrow company, confirm that the company is licensed, bonded and insured.
Avoid any service that requires the bulk of its payments upfront instead of requesting payment when services are rendered.
Ask that all of your account statements from the agency or escrow company be created by an independent CPA.
Never do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, and resist opening your wallet for unnecessary and unethical tests, products and services. When you’re desperate to conceive, you’re easy prey for people who lack both knowledge and scruples. Work with a doctor that you trust, and avoid infertility treatment scams.