In 2015, over 1,300 couples elected to participate in our Shared Risk 100% Refund Program because of the opportunity to lock in a fixed cost for up to six in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment cycles and receive a 100% refund if they don’t take home a baby. Shady Grove Fertility first introduced the Shared Risk program nearly 22 years ago with a simple guarantee: take home a baby or receive 100% of your money. (Note: Some exclusions may apply, please talk with your financial counselor to learn more.)
We actually created our Shared Risk 100% Refund Program for IVF in response to a patient’s tearful frustration. She told us that, after having paid for an unsuccessful IVF cycle elsewhere, another failed attempt would financially devastate she and her husband and preclude them from then adopting a baby. They could not risk gambling their adoption money on the possibility of another unsuccessful IVF cycle. Therefore, they were not going to try again using the traditional fee-for-service option despite good odds of success. Our response was to develop the innovative refund option for qualifying patients.
Over the years, many patients have thought the program was too good to be true, but with 10,000 new families and counting, the program continues to grow and provide men and women with a financial safety net when considering fertility treatment. Today, about 82 percent of our Shared Risk 100% Refund Program participants will go on to take home a baby.
Am I eligible for the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program?
The Shared Risk 100% Refund Program is available for patients either through our autologous program, meaning the female partner will be using her own eggs, or our Donor Egg Program, for those women using donor eggs. Each of these treatment options has their own set of eligibility criteria. We estimate that nearly 70 percent of patients in our practice who are using their own eggs would meet the qualifications for the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program.
Autologous Shared Risk Eligibility Requirements
- Woman must be under age 39
- No available insurance benefits or the patient has elected to waive any available benefits
- Physician approval—this is mainly based on the ovarian reserve assessment and a mock embryo transfer to look at the anatomy of the uterus
Donor Egg Treatment Shared Risk Eligibility Requirements
- Woman must be under age 50 and 11 months
- No available insurance benefits or the patient has elected to waive any available benefits
- Physician approval—this is mainly based on the anatomy of the uterus as seen during the mock embryo transfer and the ability for the uterus to develop a thick lining as seen in a mock cycle paired with estrogen medication
If you are an international or out-of-state patient, you may also participate in these programs. Depending on your situation, we can make arrangements to coordinate your care with your local physician or fertility center. Typically, we only require patients to come to our centers at few critical points during your cycle.
What fees are covered in the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program?
Couples choosing this plan may attempt up to six IVF cycles—with your own or donated eggs—for a flat fee. When you take a baby home from the hospital, our center has earned its fee. In the event the attempts are unsuccessful, we will refund 100 percent of the fee (some exclusions may apply). As well, you may withdraw from the program at any time during treatment and receive a refund.
The Shared Risk 100% Refund Program includes:
- Six cycles of IVF or donor egg treatment including monitoring and blood pregnancy tests
- Assisted hatching during insemination
- Embryo freezing and the first year of storage once you have completed the program by either taking home a baby or receiving a refund
- Unlimited frozen embryo transfers (FETs) resulting from the fresh IVF or donor egg cycles
- All laboratory and medical services from the start of stimulation medication through the blood pregnancy test
Some costs not included in this program are: normal pre-screening tests, medication, surgeries not related to IVF, or recruitment or purchase fees for donor sperm or donor egg.
Can I add services to the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program?
Yes. Depending on your diagnosis, you may choose to add additional services to the basic Shared Risk 100% Refund Program to address your specific needs. For an additional fee, optional services such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) are available.
What is ICSI?
Your doctor may recommend ICSI as part of your IVF procedure to treat many causes of infertility, especially when there is a problem with the sperm, such as low motility (movement) or a low sperm count. ICSI is especially useful in cases where the sperm cannot penetrate the egg, or if the sperm are abnormally shaped. It is a process in which an embryologist (a specialist in egg fertilization) injects a single sperm into the cytoplasm (center) of each egg. ICSI is commonly used in cases of male factor infertility and/or diminished egg quality.
What is pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS)?
PGS is a state-of-the-art procedure used in conjunction with IVF to select embryos free of chromosomal abnormalities. Embryos found to be chromosomally abnormal can interfere with embryo implantation, result in pregnancy loss, or in the birth of a child with physical problems, a developmental delay, or a developmental disability. PGS improves the likelihood of a successful pregnancy and birth for two distinctly different groups of patients: couples with infertility related to recurrent miscarriage or previously unsuccessful IVF cycles and couples who are at risk for chromosomally abnormal embryos. Your physician may recommend PGS when there is a possibility, indicated by your medical history or advanced maternal age, that your embryos could be affected by a chromosomal abnormality.
Shared Risk 100% Refund Program for Frozen Embryo Transfers (FETs)
The Shared Risk 100% Refund Program for Frozen Embryo Transfers is open to couples with remaining frozen embryos from a previous fresh treatment cycle. Many of the patients who participate in this program will have frozen embryos as a result of a previous fresh IVF cycle covered by their insurance, that was paid out-of-pocket, or from a completed Shared Risk 100% Refund Program.
For a flat fee, this program, similar to the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program for IVF or Donor Egg, allows approved patients unlimited FET treatment cycles while in the program, for as many frozen embryos as that patient may have available at the time she enters the program. In terms of program completion, a patient has the following possible outcomes: she will have a successful pregnancy and delivery; she will withdraw from the program at any time and receive a full refund; or she will use all of the embryos that are available without conceiving and receive a full refund as well.
- We are only able to consider patients who have embryos cryopreserved using the vitrification method at a Shady Grove Fertility laboratory.
- We are only able to consider blastocyst-stage embryos that meet our standard criteria for cryopreservation.
- Embryos must have been cryopreserved before the woman turned 39 or the embryos must have been created with donor eggs that meet SGF standards.
- No available insurance benefits or the patient has elected to waive any available benefits.
- Physician approval—this is mainly based on normal uterine cavity and good reproductive history.
Shared Risk 100% Refund Program vs. the Multi-Cycle Discount Program
Some patients contemplating the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program may also consider our Multi-Cycle Discount Program for IVF. In Shady Grove Fertility’s Multi-Cycle Discount Program, the patient pays one flat fee that includes all cycle monitoring, up to two fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, cryopreservation, the first year of embryo storage, and unlimited FETs.
There are two main differences between these two programs. The first difference is when SGF considers the cycle complete. In the Multi-Cycle Discount Program, SGF considers the cycle complete when the patient reaches the egg retrieval. In our Multi-Cycle Discount Program, if no embryos result (due to a lack of fertilization), the patient will not get the opportunity to repeat the cycle; whereas in the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program, we consider the cycle complete at the point of embryo transfer. Should a patient have her eggs retrieved and have nothing to transfer (as a result of poor or no fertilization), she will get to repeat the cycle again.
The second difference is the guarantee. The Multi-Cycle Discount Program may make sense for patients who do not meet the qualifications for the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program; however, it is important to understand that the Multi-Cycle Discount Program does not offer a guarantee of outcome in the form of taking home a baby or a 100 percent refund.
If you have questions regarding the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program or would like to schedule a new patient appointment, please call our New Patient Center at 877-971-7755 or click to schedule an appointment.
Editors Note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of May 2016.