UNC Health Care offers new option to make infertility treatment more affordable

UNC Health Care has launched a new program to help make IVF more affordable. UNC’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility is the only IVF provider in the Triangle to offer the IntegraMed Shared Risk Refund Program. The program is offered through IntegraMed America Inc., a company that provides treatment-financing programs for infertility patients.

June 23, 2008

UNC Health Care offers new option to make infertility treatment more affordable

In vitro fertilization (IVF) gives many couples who could not otherwise conceive a much better chance of realizing their dream: To have a baby.

“But IVF can be quite expensive, and it doesn’t always result in the birth of a child,” said Dr. Marc Fritz, who directs the Assisted Reproductive Technology Program at UNC. “Many couples who choose IVF require up to three cycles of treatment before a baby is born. Each cycle costs about $10,000 and, unfortunately, some couples spend more than $30,000 for three or more cycles of treatment but still fail to have a baby.

“In addition, many couples put off IVF when they’re younger, and more likely to succeed in having a baby, because of the associated costs,” Dr. Fritz said. “They may decide to give IVF a try when they are older and have more financial resources, but at the same time they are less likely to have a successful birth because of their age.”

Now UNC Health Care has launched a new program to help make IVF more affordable. UNC’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility is the only IVF provider in the Triangle to offer the IntegraMed Shared Risk Refund Program. The program is offered through IntegraMed America Inc., a company that provides treatment-financing programs for infertility patients.

The program works like this. First, couples who are considering IVF are evaluated to determine if they are appropriate candidates for the Shared Risk Program. One criteria is that the woman must be able to complete up to three cycles of treatment by her 38th birthday if she uses her own eggs. If donor eggs are used, the donor must be less than 35 years old.

Once a couple has been determined to be appropriate candidates, they pay for the cost of approximately two cycles of treatment. However, under the IntegraMed Shared Risk program, the couple is eligible to receive up to six cycles of treatment (three fresh cycles and 3 frozen cycles) for the cost of two. Loans also are available through the program, if needed, to help couples cover the initial costs.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the IntegraMed Shared Risk program is its refund policy. If a couple completes six cycles of treatment (up to three fresh and three frozen) but does not have a baby, 70 percent of what they paid is refunded to them. While other IVF providers in the Triangle do offer refunds to couples who are unsuccessful, others guarantee only a positive pregnancy test or an early clinical pregnancy and do not guarantee that the couple will go home with a baby.  They also refund substantially less to couples who do not succeed, Dr. Fritz said.

“We are very pleased to offer the IntegraMed Shared Risk program here at UNC,” Dr. Fritz said. “We think it will help many couples not only to have a baby, but to have a baby years earlier than might otherwise have been possible.”

Couples who would like to be evaluated for IVF treatment at UNC may call 919-966-1150 to schedule an appointment.  Appointments are available at UNC’s main campus in Chapel Hill and also at Rex Hospital’s Specialty Women’s Center.

More information about the IntegraMed Shared Risk Refund Program is available at www.integramed.com.

Media contact: Tom Hughes, 919-966-6047, 919-923-6964 (cell), tahughes@unch.unc.edu


ABOUT UNC HEALTH CARE
The UNC Health Care System is a not-for-profit integrated health care system owned by the state of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill. It exists to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina and to provide state-of-the-art patient care. UNC Health Care is comprised of UNC Hospitals, which is ranked among the top 50 in the nation in six specialties by U.S. News & World Report and ranked one of the country’s 41 best on the Leapfrog 2007 Top Hospitals list; the UNC School of Medicine, a nationally eminent research institution; community practices; home health and hospice services in seven central North Carolina counties; and Rex Healthcare and its provider network in Wake County. UNC Health Care also manages Chatham Hospital in Siler City.

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