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Leah Rocketto

Fertility Clinics Raffle Off IVF Treatments

PUBLISHED ON 10/25/2012

To try to get pregnant, couples dealing with infertility may try to increase their odds for conception by changing their lifestyle or taking extra vitamins. Some, however, have started turning to lady luck hoping to win a free IVF treatment.

Recently, fertility clinics across that country have held contests that offer one major prize: the chance to have a baby. Using promotion like random drawings, charity runs and essay competitions, these treatment centers have been able to give infertile couples the chance at a family.

Part of the motivation is altruistic. With fertility treatments costing up to $25,000, a free round of IVF could, for some, be the difference between having a baby and not. For example, Jessica Upham, who won an embryo implant from Long Island IVF, a clinic in Melville, New York.

“I feel inadequate that I can’t provide this to my husband the natural way,” Upham told the The New York Times. She says the prize is, “a wonderful opportunity that I wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Still, it can partially be a publicity stunt.

“I hesitate to use the word 'marketing,' but we wanted to get our name out there,” Robin Musiak, the executive director of Reproductive Health Specialists, a Pittsburgh clinic that's conducted several raffles, told The New York Times. “It worked really well.”

However, not everyone in the industry shares Robin’s thoughts. Some believe these winners should be based on need not luck. As of now, no centers screen for financial need or insurance that might cover the procedure, so someone who can't afford IVF could easily lose out to someone who can. To some, there's also a morality issue. Pamela Madsen, a founder and former executive director of the American Fertility Association does not understand how it is “against the law to raffle off a puppy, but people are allowed to raffle off the opportunity to have a baby.”

But as long as doctors are willing to offer their service, raffles for free IVF treatment (and ultimately a family) will continue to be an option.

Do you think it’s right to raffle off IVF treatments?

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