Last December, I met a couple who had just relocated to Austin from Boston, where they had undergone an in vitro fertilization cycle but did not conceive. Since Massachusetts is a state with mandated coverage for fertility treatment, the procedures had cost the couple very little of their own money. The male partner, being concerned with having to pay out of pocket in Texas since his new insurance provided no coverage, was very adamant in having me explain all of the costs associated with an IVF cycle at TFC. “As the consumer, I want to know we’re getting our money’s worth,” he said. I then told him all about our state-of-the-art laboratory facility, our experienced and technically advanced embryologists, the research we have generated from our scientific studies, our exemplary pregnancy rates, and so on. I could tell he wasn’t quite convinced. However, he and his wife made plans to start a cycle with us after the first of the year.
Yesterday, I had a message to call him. The embryo transfer had taken place just days earlier, so we are still in the waiting phase. When I called him back, he said, “I just want to tell you that it was worth all that we paid for, and more.” When I asked him to elaborate, he told me that the one thing that they had not experienced in Boston and never expected from an IVF clinic was to be treated as an individual couple with their own team focused specifically on their success. “We saw you [our doctor] for every sonogram, spoke to our very own nurse each time we had a question, and had the egg harvest on a weekend where you weren’t on call, but came in to do the procedure for us anyway. Then, the embryologist came and sat with us before the embryo transfer to describe the development of our ‘babies’, and show us what had happened to every single egg. The day after the transfer, he called us again to tell us that we have an embryo they could freeze. The whole experience has been so personal, and no matter what happens, we will always remember how much everyone cared.”
So, I was educated by my patient. My take-home messages from him are: 1) patients expect the facility to be good and the staff to be competent, but being treated well and with concern and compassion is just as important, and 2) sometimes you really do get what you pay for. Thank you and good luck, former Bostonians! You know who you are.