Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA) and their guarantee

I’d like to share with you some more information about RBA. (See also my post Frozen donor eggs: initial findings.)

DH and I have spent the past couple of weeks going cross-eyed looking at RBA’s guarantee program–both the outline and the actual contract.

This is what it appears to entail:

  • $30,000
  • Up to 5 regular egg bank (EB) cycles. (Including, I believe, 6 mature eggs per cycle. But I have to double-check this.)
  • Up to 5 FET cycles, if any frozen embryos result from EB cycle.
  • FETs must be done prior to initiating a new EB cycle with a new donor.
  • Embryo freezing and storage during the course of the program.
  • Program must be completed within 2 years.
  • Patients can drop out and the EB Board can remove a patient. If the Board removes a patient, the patient ends up paying only $3,000 per cycle, no matter how many cycles she has completed up to that point. If the patient drops out, she pays only $3,000 per completed cycle—unless she has made it through only 1 cycle, in which case, she pays $16,500 for that 1 completed cycle. Bizarre, but we’ve checked and double-checked the figures and the math.
  • If at the end of 5 cycles the patient has no live birth, she is refunded the full amount, minus 3K per cycle. In other words, she gets half of her money back.

I am going to call the clinic with some follow-up questions to clarify a few points, but that’s the basic story. In the meantime, I would LOVE to hear from you if you, or someone you know, has any information or experiences to share about this clinic, this guarantee program, or frozen donor egg cycling in general.

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  1. Getting caught up on your experience at CCRM and your research on frozen eggs. I did not do any research on frozen eggs. We ‘interviewed’ three clinics for DE IVF – the University of Iowa (where we are cycling) Advanced Fertility in Chicago (which we loved in our phone consult) and Center for Human Reproduction in NY (which we did not love in our phone consult). We ended up looking for available donors in Chicago and Iowa and our chosen donor was available to cycle in Iowa, so that’s where we are.

    We chose DE IVF because my husband has healthy sperm and we preferred him to be genetically related to out child. For this reason, we did not look into Embryo adoption. DE IVF costs a fortune. There is no two ways about it. I feel very lucky to be able to do it. Dr Sherbahns DE/IVF guarantee is expensive, but I believe it to be a very good deal. If you chose a young, well-screened donor, you have a good chance of having enough embryos for multiple cycles (or siblings!)

    So, my point is that I have not looked into frozen eggs. But I think you are looking for thoughts/feedback, so here would be my questions/ things to ask the clinic.

    – When and how were the eggs frozen? ( freezing eggs is not considered experimental now. but what about when these eggs were frozen? did they use vitrification?
    – What will you know about the donor? Will you get the same level of details as you would with a chosen egg donor for a fresh cycle?
    – What about the legalities? We signed a contract with our donor, and she relinquished her rights. Will you be able to do the same with someone who donated years ago?
    – Will you know if they are a proven donor or mom themselves? Are their eggs split into batches?
    – If you have a failed cycle, will you use the same donor next time? different? can you chose?
    – Are you guaranteed a certain number of blasts?
    – 5 regular cycles, plus fresh is a lot. But, how many can you actually get done in 2 years? (Especially if you have to go to Atlanta every time…?)
    – What is two years run out and they have some of your embryos? Will you lose them? Pay to store them till you do another FET?
    -Where will you do the transfers?

    I know that is a lot – sorry if it is overwhelming. But I am really glad you found my blog!

    • This is extremely helpful—I had not thought to ask about when the eggs were frozen and if all the eggs in the bank were frozen using the same vitrification technique. I am almost positive that they’ve all been vitrified, but it would still be good to know exactly when they were vitrified, and to ask if there is any risk of selecting eggs that were frozen using an outdated/little-practiced (at that time) technique.

      I have not been thinking much about the legalities—and need to.

      They will let me know the donor’s previous pregnancy outcomes, but I’m not sure if they’ll let me know if she is a mom or not. The information they will give me is 22 pages long and contains the usual info., including childhood photos (and they will compare my adult photo to hers).

      One thing I am not sure of with the guarantee program is whether or not they will allow me to do a DET (double embryo transfer), if I prefer (which I do, at least at this point, I do). I also don’t know if they have any statistics about the probability of my having frozen embryos for future siblings.

      No, you don’t lose your embryos after the program—you can store them, for a fee, and pay I believe $4,000 to do another frozen embryo transfer in the future.

      That’s a good point about doing 5 in 2 years—it really does seem like that would be impossible. But RBA says most patients think of the 5 cycle (10 transfer) guarantee as an insurance policy. I do know that they have had 60 patients enrolled in the program to date, and not one patient has had to go through all 5 and be refunded—they got pregnant somewhere along the way. (I’m sure some dropped out for one reason or another, too, but I’m not sure how many.)

      If you have a failed cycle, first you go to any frozen embryos, and then you go to a new egg-bank cycle. I suppose if your donor has more eggs, you can go with her again, or you can go with an altogether new donor (which I’d most likely prefer to do). The eggs are generally split into lots of 6—but you can choose a donor who has, say, only 4 eggs.

      So great of you to help me brainstorm! Yay! Thank you for the feedback. Sometimes I feel like I’m in my little canoe, all alone, with one little oar, and the waves are choppy…thanks for joining me.

  2. Wow, this is an incredibly informative post! So helpful. I know you made your choice, but that $16,500 number is interesting because that’s what my fresh DE IVF cost with a donor retrieval (not frozen eggs, I don’t have that option at my clinic). Must be an industry standard…

  3. Chrissy Devine

     /  November 6, 2015

    I am so glad to find this information here. I am living in Australia and looking into travelling to the US for donor egg treatment in the near future. The DE process in Australia is very difficult. I have researched a few fertility clinics in the US, and RBA seems to be the stand out clinic for us. Particularly because of their frozen egg bank guarantee package. It would be so much easier for us to do a frozen egg cycles due to the logistics of living overseas. And the guarantee would give us extra peace of mind too. We can arrange all the pre-screening tests in Aus. My husband and I will travel to the US for two weeks for our first cycle, and they can freeze his sperm in case for any future cycles. If we are not successful first go then I can fly back by myself for future embryo transfers. The guarantee package is $28,000 US or approx. $40,000 AU. Our biggest concern is that it is a lot of money to be sending to some far off place overseas. I have done some online research and they seem to have very good reviews. I can’t find anything negative about them. I would be so grateful for any information on RBA. Thank you so much. Chrissy.


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