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Hidden Fees?


Given the state of the economy, there’s been a lot of cost-saving infertility treatment news lately. In fact, we’ve blogged about it. So it came as a surprise to learn that some clinics are charging for a service you don’t use, or charging for what should be a free service.

I just published our latest Dollars & Sense column—a really great rundown of options for purchasing fertility medications, and the pros and cons of each. While I am aware that some clinics have in-house pharmacies, I was shocked to learn that at some clinics if you don’t use the service, you’re charged a fee. That’s right, as much as $250 to use the pharmacy of your choice!

And, I recently learned about other fees related to medications that a clinic might charge: disposal of syringes and sharps. In case you haven’t used injectable meds, here’s the deal. The clinic gives you a biohazard container, or you use another heavy container, to store your used needles and sharps. And then, when full, or when you’re done with a cycle, you drop it off at the clinic where they dispose of it properly with the other medical waste they dispose of. But some clinics are now charging to dispose of it for you. Come on, they’re disposing of this type of waste anyway!

At a time when patients are trying to determine if they can afford treatment and looking at alternatives to treatment, I’m stunned that clinics can justify charging for such things (particularly a service you don’t use).

Moral of the story? When shopping around for the right clinic and the right doctor (which I hope all patients do), make sure to get a rundown of all fees.

Jennifer A. Redmond

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