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Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib: Chapter 28: No More “Jon and Kate” Casualties

By David Kreiner, MD

August 23rd, 2013 at 5:12 pm

 

Welcome to the Journey to the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Twenty-Eight: No More “Jon and Kate” Casualties. You, the listener, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here: http://podcast.longislandivf.com/?p=136

No More “Jon and Kate” Casualties

 

A few years ago when I wrote this chapter, the Jon and Kate makes eight story was still hot in the press.  It brought to the national limelight the potentially tragic risk of the high order multiple pregnancy for women undergoing fertility therapy.  It is one I was all too familiar with from my early days in the field, during the mid-1980′s when the success with IVF was poor and we consequently ran into occasional high order multiple pregnancies with transfer of four or more embryos or with the alternative gonadotropin injection treatment with intrauterine insemination (IUI).

 

Today, IVF is an efficient process that, combined with the ability to cryopreserve excess embryos, allows us to avoid almost all high order multiple pregnancies.  In fact the IVF triplet pregnancy rate for Long Island IVF docs has been under 1% for several years now.  There has not been a quadruplet pregnancy in over 20 years.  Such a claim cannot be made for gonadotropin injection/IUI therapy where as many eggs that ovulate may implant.

 

You may ask then why would we provide a service that is both less successful and more risky and was the reason Jon and Kate made eight.

 

Not surprisingly, the impetus for this unfortunate treatment choice is financial.  Insurance companies, looking to minimize their cost, refuse to cover fertility treatment unless they are forced to do so.  In New York State, there is a law that requires insurance companies based in NY State that cover companies with over 50 employees that is not an HMO to cover IUI.  The insurance companies battled in Albany to prevent a mandate to cover IVF as has been passed in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Illinois among a few others.  As a result, many patients are covered for IUI but not IVF.  This short-sighted policy ignores the costs that the insurance companies, and ultimately society, incurs as a result of high order multiple pregnancies, hospital and long-term care for the babies.

 

The answer is simple.  Encourage patients to practice safer, more effective fertility.  This can be accomplished with insurance coverage for IVF, wider use of minimal stimulation IVF especially the younger patients who have had great success with it and minimizing the number of embryos transferred. 

 

At Long Island IVF we encourage single embryo transfer by eliminating the cost of cryopreservation and embryo storage for one year for patients who transfer one fresh embryo.  In addition, we offer those patients up to three frozen embryo transfers for the price of one within a year of their retrieval or until they have a live birth.

 

It is my sincere wish that the government can step in to enforce a policy that will never again allow for the possibility of another Jon and Kate debacle.

 

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Was this helpful in answering your questions about multiple pregnancies, IVF, IUI, and Micro-IVF?

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