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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Speculating on In-Vitro Fertilization and In-Vitro Maturation

University of the People

July 2018 

It has been said that children are the biggest blessings in life.  Sometimes, their arrival is meticulously planned and other times they come as a complete surprise.  However, some people are not as blessed as others.  According to the Office on Women's Health, about 10% of women between the ages 15-44 have difficulties in conceiving ("Infertility," 2018).  However, advances in health sciences and technology are giving would-be parents a fighting chance.

In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) and In-vitro Maturation (IVM) are among the most popular alternatives people utilize in order to get pregnant.  The IVF cycle is as follows: hormonal stimulation, egg removal, fertilization, and embryo transfer (Winer, n.d.).  IVM is similar to IVF except for the hormonal stimulation injections (Winer, n.d.).  Although alike, one of the biggest differences between the two is the price.

It is certainly difficult to put how different individuals value having children.  This, in itself, is very personal and may depend on numerous factors such as lifestyle choice, age, incomes, and, in some circumstances, culture.  Seeing as this procedure is a service, then what the IVM procedure sells is time: a shorter procedure to get pregnant and conceive means being a parent to a child sooner and for longer and it is hard to put a price on time with loved ones.  Other factors such as less pain and relatively lower costs compared to IVF also have some attributes of time.  Less pain is derived from not having to inject hormones into the body for 30 days and lower costs can be attributed to the ratio of how much was spent on the procedure and how much the person had to work in order to afford it.  Still, the IVM procedure needs to be priced and companies such as Medi-Cult are likely aiming to penetrate the market by offering lower costs.

IVF companies are probably pricing the procedure at a premium as well as using a psychological model of pricing.  The psychological factor is the driving force behind the premium price being charged for IVF.  After all, being able to create a family, as mentioned earlier, is something that is really difficult to put a price on so in this case, IVF procedures charge more.  What the psychological factor does is that increases the demand by creating a feeling of better value and offering something unique; your genetic offspring.  In contrast, being slightly newer than IVF, IVM is trying to enter a market where IVF has become widely used.

IVM is trying to penetrate the assisted reproductive technology (ART) market by highlighting the fact that consumers would see a significant reduction of the price compared to the high price of IVF.  It is due to the fact that IVM doesn't require the $3,000 hormonal treatments that are required when undergoing IVF (Winer, n.d.).  Not having to go through the discomfort of hormonal shots is also an added benefit when it comes to marketing IVM over IVF.  However, IVM's shortcomings should also be considered.

One significant drawback from IVM instead of IVF is the procedure's success rates; a cycle of IVF has a success rate of 40% as compared to IVM's 32% ("In-Vitro Maturation," 2017).  For some, the 8% might not be a strong enough factor shy away from IVM, but for others, they might not care so much about the cost but more so in a successful conception.  Let's not forget to take into account the human nature of wanting to nurture.

Currently, an IVM cycle costs anywhere between $5,000 to $7,000 while an IVF cycle is around $15 - 20,000 ("In-Vitro Maturation," 2017).  Pending the release of clinical trials for the new and improved IVM procedure, pricing for the IVM procedures could go one of two ways.  If the new IVM procedures have a success rate that is greater than or equal to that of IVF, then the new procedure should be priced higher than IVF but keep the IVM total cost below the total cost of one cycle of IVF.  To put an actual figure on it, $8-10,000 just for the procedure should still keep the total cost down.  This makes it so that the new IVM treatment is premiumized and therefore seen as more valuable for both being as or more successful than a time costly and more inconvenient IVF treatment.  One thing that could occur in this scenario is that different procedures might be studied and further developed.  On the other hand, should the trials not show promising results, then keeping just the procedure's price the same would maintain the status quo.

The aforementioned is mostly hypothetical.  In the end, there is so much more going on beyond the price.  While starting a family is a priority for many, a person's health should take precedent before prices.

Reference:

Infertility. (2018). Retrieved July 21, 2018, from https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/infertility

Winer, R. (n.d.). Customer-Oriented Pricing Exercise. Retrieved July 21, 2018, from https://my.uopeople.edu/pluginfile.php/296761/mod_book/chapter/158953/Medi Cult Case Study - Unit 4.pdf

In Vitro Maturation: IVM. (2017). Retrieved July 21, 2018, from http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/ivm-in-vitro-maturation/

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