Source: Forbes – February 28, 2015
Dr. David Sable, a Forbes columnist and retired reproductive endocrinologist, recently wrote about the trends that he believes will define the future of in vitro fertilization (IVF). In his column, he wrote that genetic testing will help prevent disease, procedures will be standardized, and potential cost reductions in IVF treatment will significantly change fertility centers as we know them today. As decision-making for care increasingly shifts to insurance companies and as social scheduling services like ZocDoc become more popular, centers will respond by creating partnerships and mergers to maintain brand quality.
The fertility technology used in the centers will see a great leap forward as well. Techniques used today like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) will be replaced with treatments to create egg precursor cells in women with poor ovarian reserve and quality. Other techniques, such as mitochondrial donation, will help prevent mitochondrial diseases from passing from parent to child. With these new techniques, he believes the need for egg donation will disappear as women increasingly use their own eggs to build their family.
While automation and efficiencies of operations are important to lower costs, human interaction between patients and their caregivers will always receive the highest priority.
In this new environment, it will be important for patients to research centers with the latest treatment options and highest success rates. Sable said this is already happening, and has led to what he refers to as medical tourism—patients traveling to other countries outside the United States to bypass its high regulatory barriers. Overall, he hopes that advancements in fertility care will become “safer, more efficient, and less costly.”
From Our Expert, Dr. Ronald Feinberg
“The future of IVF is big and bright, but fertility care will still need to remain private and personal to be successful.”
In general, I agree with many of Dr. Sable’s points. However, one aspect of our specialty that I believe will continue to be paramount will be the patient-physician relationship and the very private and personalized nature of reproductive therapies. While automation and efficiencies of operations are important to lower costs, human interaction between patients and their caregivers will always receive the highest priority.
The overall costs of IVF therapy are actually much less expensive than 20 years ago, taking into account general healthcare inflation and the marked improvement in IVF success. As our specialty responds to the clear need for healthy, singleton pregnancies, the indirect costs of IVF, such as in the care of multiple gestations, will drop dramatically. Employers and insurers are beginning to realize how safe and effective IVF can be, especially if we perform single embryo transfer.
The tools that use sophisticated and accurate molecular DNA testing are rapidly improving. When centers use current methods such as pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS), success rates with a single embryo transfer can often be improved 100 to 300%, especially in patients who are over 34 years old. Miscarriage rates are much lower when PGS is employed. As a maturing technology, DNA testing will prove to be a very important cost-effective adjunct to IVF treatment.
RADfertility’s physicians and professional staff closely evaluate every new reproductive technology, and try to make evidence-based decisions when we consider adopting new advances. To that end, we have very successfully incorporated PGS, the EmbryoScope® incubator, egg cryopreservation and banking, and fertility preservation.
One of our major goals at RADfertility is to help society understand that the right to build a family through effective and safe reproductive therapies should be a high priority in the U.S., and should be available to all who could benefit.
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"I feel so lucky to have found RADfertility. I tried two other clinics before I expanded my search and found RADfertility. I drive an hour each way to go to them but I don’t regret a thing. They are so caring and so professional. Every time I message them they respond quickly. Every time I see them they have a friendly smile and warm welcome. They explain everything so well and I never feel lost in the process as I did elsewhere. They also took the time to figure out what was wrong. Other clinics threw up their hands, said 'I don’t know' and pushed me to try IVF."
"Dr. Feinberg and the entire staff at RADfertility are absolutely amazing. The receptionists, coordinators, nurses, and lab staff are compassionate, caring, and straight forward. I’ve had a 12-year infertility journey and I’ve tried other clinics but RADfertility was the only one I felt at ease with. They answered any questions that I had and were there any time I needed them. My coordinator, Amy, was the absolute best and always had my back. Dr. Feinberg’s dedication to his patients is incredible. You are not just a number there, you are a person with individualized needs and care."
"My journey with RADfertility and Dr. McGuirk started when my husband and I were trying to conceive and were having difficulty. We went to RADfertility, where we met Dr. McGuirk. I always say she changed my life and 'fixed' me. Dr. McGuirk is always learning more about endometriosis and how to help her patients. She’s brilliant and truly cares for you! I’m eternally grateful to her and everyone at RADfertility for their unwavering support, love, and care."
"Every step of our journey was tailored to us. We were treated so respectfully. Every detail was clearly explained and we felt so comfortable. Rhonda Wright was a Godsend and inspiring. I highly recommend this place! I cried when my weekly appointments were done and I 'graduated.'"
"The day I met Dr. Neithardt I knew she was the perfect doctor for me. Dr. Neithardt was so compassionate every step of the way. She held my hand, she hugged away tears, and continued to give me hope. There are not enough 'thank you's' in the world for Dr. Neithardt and the whole RADfertility team who will forever have a special place in my heart."
"RADfertility's staff has heart and provided me with exceptional health care. I knew I was in good hands and felt like we were in this together. The doctors and nursing staff always answered all of my questions and provided thorough information about all of my options. I am so fortunate and appreciative of the care that I received at RADfertility. They go above and beyond."
"I cannot begin to explain how wonderful RADfertility is. We were frustrated with trying to start a family and it not working for us. The entire team of doctors and nurses made us feel comfortable and hopeful that we would be parents. We experienced so many ups and downs but we never felt like we were on our IVF journey alone, we had our RADfertility team every step of the way. If you're looking for a supportive team on the IVF journey, look no further. RADfertility is the absolute best."
"Dr. Schillings always kept us informed and never gave up on us. She always explained our options and risks with each procedure. She called us personally when there were any issues or sensitive subjects to cover. Dr. Schillings was the first doctor that had answers for us and wanted to help us have our miracle baby!"
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