Couples desperate for children resort to fertility financing to shoulder the cost of expensive treatments
22:08 GMT, 12 July 2012
Couples struggling to start a family whose insurance does not cover costly procedures like IVF, can now entertain a glimmer of hope thanks to the newly evolving industry of fertility financing.
More and more, companies are promising to fill the gap in lending to hopeful parents unable to shoulder the cost of egg harvesting and other fertility treatments.
But though the benefits of such a service may be obvious, many experts warn of the dangers and say many such businesses are simply preying on desperate couples they know will pay anything for the chance to have a baby.
Desperate: Couples seeking costly fertility treatments are resorting to fertility loans but often by doctors who have a stake in the companies
Shady Grove Fertility Clinic in Maryland is one such facility that advocates the practice of fertility financing to its patients and works closely with a company called CapexMD to make people's parenting dreams come true.
Former banker, Jules Segal, founded CapexMD when he noticed that there was a void in the lending market for such a service and is currently funding $1million a month in loans.
Aware that his customers are not at their most rational when they come to him looking for help, Mr Segal ensures that all his staff are experienced in the fertility industry and can talk to the couples on a level they can understand.
For some, that familiarity and their ability to share information about details pertaining not just to the financial aspect of the deal, provides enough comfort and confidence in negotiation.
But others say there are thorny issues when it comes to interest rates and guarantees of quality treatment not to mention ethical questions, to which wannabe parents might be tempted to ignore.
Arthur Caplan, Bioethicist at NYU Langone Medical Center told Today.com: 'You really have to be a little bit careful because you have vulnerable, desperate people who want to hear that there's some answer to their prayer and so I worry that they're not going to listen to that interest rate.
'They're not going to really hear what the failure and success rate is.'
Plus he added, when the baby is born, expenses only continue to increase and starting in debt may not be the wisest way to start a family.
Some also argue that doctors like Dr Robert Stillman at Shady Grove who actually own equity in CapexMD, do not necessarily have only their patients' interests at heart and may be tempted to push the loan onto hopeful parents.
Dr Nancy Snyderman told Today: 'It's like one-stop shopping.'
She continued: 'I don't have problems if a doctor doens't have a piece of the action. If I'm a doctor and you're running the finance company and the information is there, no problem.
'But I'm getting any kind of kick-back or any kind of financial gain, that's not just a grey area. That crosses the line.'