IVF Refund Guarantee Programs – Costs, Risks, Pros and Cons

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What are IVF Refund Guarantee programs?

IVF Guarantee and IVF Refund are terms used for financial programs which give the patient access to two or three IVF cycles for one payment; usually embryo and extra transfers are included in the price. The treatment continues until the desired result – either clinical pregnancy or a live birth – is achieved, or until all of the program’s cycles are completed. If the IVF program ends successfully, the clinic will not return your money. However, if you don’t achieve your goal, you can count on a partial or full refund of the costs. The prices for an IVF Guarantee program in Europe range from €10,000 to €20,000, depending on the type of program and the country in which a given clinic is located.

IVF Guarantee – what exactly is guaranteed?

Programs with a “guarantee” label are becoming more commonly offered by IVF clinics. More often than not, however, the “guarantee” refers to either a pregnancy or a live birth guarantee. It’s worth noting that despite their increasing popularity, the naming conventions used for such offers can be confusing. As we all know, there are no “guarantees” in medicine – every doctor can attest to that fact. Thus, the only guarantees we can talk about are financial in nature, that is, a refund guarantee in case the IVF program does not end in expected results.

Clinics don’t advertise these programs using the term “success guarantee” anymore. These days, you’re more likely to encounter these types of treatment under any of the following terms:

  • IVF Guarantee – this name is the most misleading
  • IVF Refund Guarantee
  • IVF Money Back Guarantee
  • IVF Shared Risk

For the rest of this article, we’re going to use these names, but it is important to remember that they are interchangeable and they refer to the same thing.

Why are IVF Refund Guarantee programs increasing in popularity?

There are many reasons for IVF Refund Guarantee programs becoming increasingly popular, chief among them the possibility of detailed treatment cost planning on the part of the patient and the possibility of receiving a full or partial refund in case of failure. Both are valid reasons to consider an IVF Guarantee program.

Types of IVF Guarantee programs

IVF Guarantee programs can be further divided into:

  • Programs which aim to achieve a clinical pregnancy, usually defined as reaching the sixth, seventh or twelfth week of pregnancy
  • Programs in which the main goal is the live birth of a child
  • IVF Refund Guarantee programs in which the patient doesn’t receive a refund if the treatment is successful
  • IVF Refund Guarantee programs in which the patient receives a partial refund if the treatment is successful

It is also worth noting that IVF Guarantee programs are available both for treatment using the patient’s own egg cells, as well as donor eggs.

IVF Money Back Guarantee Programs – are they for me?

Remember that no matter what the program offers and however it’s called, what the clinic actually offers is a refund guarantee in case the treatment does not conclude with satisfactory results. Should you then use such a program? Simply put – if finances are an important aspect of your IVF treatment and you can afford it, yes – you definitely should consider an IVF Guarantee program.

Pros and Cons of IVF Refund Guarantee programs

Pros

  • A full or partial refund in case of an unsuccessful treatment, which can be put towards further treatments
  • The clinic is motivated to achieve a success as quickly as possible – after all, a money refund is on the line
  • If you use all of the IVF cycles within the program, oftentimes the program turns out to be cheaper than doing the same number of cycles outside of such a program
  • You can focus on your treatment instead of your finances – because you’re covered by a program and have more cycles available, you don’t need to stress about whether or not you’ll be able to afford another attempt
  • Every cycle assigned to your program will be performed at the same clinic. Oftentimes patients switch clinics after a failed attempt; that’s not always the smartest choice, as sticking with one clinic allows their staff more insight into your medical history.
  • Financial planning of your treatment is easier, since it’s easier to estimate the total cost of the program.

Cons

  • If you achieve your desired result during the first cycle, you’ll end up paying more than you would when paying for a single cycle outside of any program
  • Not every patient qualifies for an IVF Guarantee program. When it comes to treatments using donor eggs, the qualifications for the patients are relatively lax; however, if you’re set on using your own eggs, it becomes much harder to qualify, as the financial risk for the clinic becomes higher
  • Higher entry cost for such programs
Check if you qualify for the program

IVF Refund qualification

Patients considering signing up for an IVF Guarantee program need to be mindful that both they and their partners will need to pass medical tests in order to qualify for treatment. Couples where men has low quality sperm, for instance, are disqualified from partaking in such programs. Different clinics have their own criteria for judging sperm quality; some use the latest WHO directives, while others have their own standards dictated by their own experience.

Some clinics also require a karyotype test, which isn’t cheap (average prices: Spain €300, Greece €250, Britain €600), despite being recommended by most medical organisations before starting the first IVF treatment by the patient. It only needs to be performed once during a patient’s lifetime. In the case of egg donation treatments, the female doesn’t need to undergo karyotype testing, as the genetic material from the donor is used.

Are the patient age and BMI a factor when qualifying for an IVF Refund program?

In case of IVF treatment using donor eggs your age doesn’t play a role. However, many countries have different legislating regulating the maximum age of the patient – usually it’s around 50 years of age. In case of treatment using your own eggs, however, your age will be the basic qualifying factor. Usually the maximum age is 39 years old. It also needs to be noted that patients aged 37 to 39 receive smaller refunds – sometimes as low as 50% – when compared to younger patients using IVF Guarantee programs.

An important requirement for an IVF Guarantee Program is appropriate BMI (Body Mass Index). In IVF woth donor eggs programs, maximum acceptable BMI is 35. In case of having a high BMI value – close to 35, but not above – the clinic may recommend performing additional tests, which could be a qualifying condition for the program.

Example qualifications for a sample Donor Egg IVF Refund program in a Spanish clinic:

  • Hormone tests: FSH, LH, E2, Progesterone
  • Endometrium quality test (transvaginal ultrasound scan)
  • Male partner: semen analysis and karyotype
  • Maximum patient age: 50 (due to Spanish law)

The qualification takes place at the clinic. While the qualifying tests aren’t free of charge, their cost may be deducted from the total cost of the program if you qualify.

I’m interested in an IVF guarantee program – what to do first?

The total costs of an IVF Money Back Guarantee program

The total costs of an IVF Money Back Guarantee program can range from €10,000 to €20,000. When comparing the price of such a program to a single donor egg IVF treatment, it’s definitely more expensive. What drives the price of such a program?

  • The type of treatment – be it IVF using your own or donor eggs
  • The desired result – clinical pregnancy or live birth; programs aimed at achieving a live birth are more expensive, since the success rates aren’t as high
  • The number of IVF cycles and frozen embryo transfers covered by the program

Additionally, the cost is affected by the same elements that dictate the price of a one-off IVF treatment – such as the number of donor eggs received by the patient and additional procedures in an embryological laboratory (such as ICSI, developing blastocysts etc.). Clinics which offer such programs often include additional services and procedures which increase the success rate of treatment in order to minimize the risk of failure (or the risk of a refund, if you prefer).

The cost of hormonal medication for the patient is sometimes not included into the program’s costs. These hormones, which help prepare the uterus to receive the embryo, can cost up to €400, depending on the country.

Another additional cost would appear if you’re interested in using donor sperm – between €1,200 and €1,500 on average.
PGT-A, or as it used to be known, PGS diagnostics, are often not included in program prices either. If you’re considering signing up for such a program, make sure you ask if these additional costs are factored into the program price.

The total cost of an IVF Money Back Guarantee program is also influenced by the country a given clinic is located in. Programs in Spanish clinics are more expensive than those in Greek clinics, because the treatment costs are higher in Spain.

IVF Refund and IVF Guarantee Programs in Europe

IVF Guarantee programs are oftentimes offered by external companies which work directly with IVF clinics. The external company takes care of the financial side of the arrangement, while the clinic provides the treatment. While this sounds unusual, you can be assured that companies engaged in this type of business are sufficiently experienced and enjoy a solid reputation. Once you make your payment to the external company, no further payments need to be made at the clinic itself, making it a very comfortable arrangement.

Below you can find examples of IVF Refund programs using donor eggs (with the stated goal being a live birth) as performed in Europe, North America, India and Malaysia with an expected outcome – live birth:

IVF Refund Guarantee program using donor eggs, with live birth as the stated goal – example cost

CountryIVF Refund Guarantee program
using donor egg
Spain€18,000
Czech Republic€16,000
Greece€16,000
Cyprus€16,500
Portugal€16,500
Georgia€12,000
Mexico€16,500
Nicaragua€16,000
India€17,000
Malaysia€20,000
United Kingdom€24,000
USA€45,000

As you can see, the United States and the UK are definitely the most expensive destinations for such a treatment; for this reason, a lot of American and British patients choose to sign up for IVF Guarantee programs in Mexico or Europe.

Who pays for the IVF Shared Risk program?

If we take a closer look at the financial model upon which IVF Guarantee programs are based, we can quickly come to a conclusion that it’s a simple Shared Risk solution – which makes the name “Shared Risk IVF” the most apt, although rarely used due to marketing reasons.

What this means in practice is that patients who quickly achieve success in their treatment finance the treatment of those who need more time. They also cover the risk of the clinic offering such a treatment. This isn’t bad at all – as long as you as a patient are fully informed of all the aspects (both positive and negative) by both the clinic and the external company offering such programs.

I’m interested in an IVF Guarantee program – where to start?

If you’re interested in signing up for an IVF Guarantee program and are aware of the costs associated with such treatment, fill out the form below – and get to know if it’s really an option for you. Our consultants will contact you and discuss further steps.

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About the Author

Aleksander Wiecki

Aleksander Wiecki

Aleksander is a marketer, patient’s experience manager and advocate of transparency and truth of IVF treatment. He has strong expertise and background in IVF industry including IVF clinics, Genetic Laboratories and IVF patients. Aleksander strongly believes that there is a gap between IVF Patients and IVF clinics. The gap where patients may fall for the most common IVF treatment traps. That’s why patients need help and support they don’t get from IVF clinics at this stage. The support which comes from an objective, trustworthy and reliable source. Aleksander is a regular guest on ESHRE annual meetings, Fertility Show in London, Fertility Forum, IMTJ - Medical Travel Summit and Fertility Exhibitions and conferences around the world. LinkedIn >>>