Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marketing loans for fertility treatments raises ethical concerns

Date:
December 9, 2013
Source:
The Hastings Center
Summary:
An increase in the number of lenders specializing in loans for fertility treatments enables more people to afford the treatments, but it also raises ethical concerns. Among the concerns, doctors are marketing the loans to their patients, and some of these doctors have financial ties to specific lenders. The commentary calls for assessment and oversight of the practice.

The emergence of "fertility loans" is a response to the high cost of many fertility procedures, including in vitro fertilization and the use of donor gametes. Cost is the main obstacle to obtaining assisted reproduction in the United States, according to the commentary, because many patients have insufficient, if any, insurance coverage.
Credit: © Bill / Fotolia

An increase in the number of lenders specializing in loans for fertility treatments enables more people to afford the treatments, but it also raises ethical concerns, concludes a commentary in the Hastings Center Report. Among the concerns, doctors are marketing the loans to their patients, and some of these doctors have financial ties to specific lenders. The commentary calls for assessment and oversight of the practice.

Related Articles


The emergence of "fertility loans" is a response to the high cost of many fertility procedures, including in vitro fertilization and the use of donor gametes. Cost is the main obstacle to obtaining assisted reproduction in the United States, according to the commentary, because many patients have insufficient, if any, insurance coverage.

"In facilitating the process to obtain credit and, in some instances, benefiting financially through equity ownership in private lending firms, participating physicians declare this a 'win-win situation' with no clear conflict of interest," writes the author, Alisa Von Hagel, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. But she disputes this view.

While taking out loans to help pay for medical procedures is not uncommon in the United States, Von Hagel writes that "given the emotional and psychological vulnerability of patients seeking fertility treatments, it has unique implications for this population."

There is no law or regulation that assures that patients receive complete information about their financing, and physicians and clinics are not required to disclose their financial ties to lenders. "For individuals or couples willing to do whatever it takes to produce a child, the availability and promotion of these loans may encourage interventions that hold little chance at success, exacerbating the anguish of infertility," writes Von Hagel. "The question thus arises whether this better serves to enhance the reproductive autonomy of patients or the profit margins of fertility clinics and physicians."

Aside from the risk to patient care, Von Hagel says that marketing fertility loans poses ethical risks to the medical profession, potentially weakening patients' trust in fertility specialists. "Failing to evaluate and respond to the ethical concerns created by the loans may lead to a decline in the public's estimation of this medical field, particularly if apparent abuses of patient trust emerge," she writes.

Von Hagel says that the consequences of doctors marketing fertility loans are unknown, but she recommends that a board such as the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine review the practice and the financial ties between doctors and lenders. "Assessment and oversight of this practice need not be an overtly paternalistic effort to deprive patients of decision-making authority," she concludes. "Rather, it should contain an honest evaluation of the loans and their genuine benefit."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Hastings Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alisa von Hagel. Banking on Infertility: Medical Ethics and the Marketing of Fertility Loans. Hastings Center Report, December 2013

Cite This Page:

The Hastings Center. "Marketing loans for fertility treatments raises ethical concerns." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209132516.htm>.
The Hastings Center. (2013, December 9). Marketing loans for fertility treatments raises ethical concerns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209132516.htm
The Hastings Center. "Marketing loans for fertility treatments raises ethical concerns." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209132516.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins