Self proclaimed “fertility planner” Angie Best-Boss, founder of My Fertility Plan, is quoted in the Washington Times (“Having a baby in the fertility maze: new specialty guides for parents“), regarding the value of her services:
“This is an industry that is not regulated at all. What you can’t get on Google is whether an agency is going to push you toward using an egg donor so that clinic can boost its stats.”
The misconception that the fertility industry is unregulated is so persistent, even so-called experts perpetuate it (out of ignorance and laziness). Fertility medicine is highly regulated by the FDA, and there are some firm ground rules set by the ASRM as well.*
On the second part of her statement: I do not know why an agency would have any interest in increasing a clinic’s statistics; I guess if the agency were affiliated with the clinic, this statement may make some kind of sense. But statistics are highly accessible to anyone, and you don’t need to hire a consultant for $125 an hour. I encourage all our clients to go to SART, click on For Patients, the Find a Clinic: plug in your zip code for a clinic near you or click on a state for all its registered clinics. There you can find the clinic’s CDC-reported statistics for the past few years, where they separate their cycles by donor and non-donor, and in the cases of non-donor, ages of their patients. If your clinic’s statistics seem less favorable than some others, discuss them with your doctor. Some fertility clinics take on more difficult cases, and this skews the results somewhat.
Fertility is stressful and painful; it can cause marital conflicts, financial distress, and a host of other problems. There are a number of psychologists who specialize in this field. We recommend them to our clients when the counseling offered by the IVF clinic is not enough. But paying yet another party (in addition to the clinic, psychologist, insurer, agency, lawyer, donor, etc.) seems just too much for most people.
* For more information on fertility regulation, see David Adamson, “Regulation of Assisted Reproductive Technologies in the United States,: 39 Family Law Quarterly 722 (2005), as well as the ASRM Web site.