By Mike Stobbe
ATLANTA - Fertility clinics are overusing a laboratory technique and costing infertile couples and some insurers hundreds of extra dollars, a new study suggests. At issue is a procedure that injects a single sperm into an egg. The method is considered the best option for couples in which the man has defective sperm or extremely low sperm counts.
But many clinics are using it for other infertile couples, even though it often doesn't work as well as the standard lab dish method, according to a study in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
Sperm injection adds about $1,500 to the $12,400 average cost of an in vitro fertilization treatment cycle, the authors said.
"This paper is particularly troubling because we've got a major shift in practice that isn't evidence driven. The paper suggests it may be driven by money," said Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics.
First they tell us we have to pay for doing something that has been more or less free for the 2,500 years that humans have been on Earth and now it turns out their bilking us. We haven’t felt this ripped off by procreative science since that doctor ‘fixed’ our fertility by charging us $50 to watch him have sex with his nurse. We’re starting to think that guy may not have been a real doctor. For what it’s worth, don’t let this happen to you, both the more expensive/ less effective fertilization method and the exhibitionist doctor scam.