University of Houston Law Center professor examines $3 billion fertility industry
Internet marketing stresses 'miracle' of birth over costs and success rates
HOUSTON, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Infertility is big business in the United States. Couples eager to conceive feed a growing, largely unregulated fertility industry that grosses more than $3 billion a year. Professor Jim Hawkins of the University of Houston Law Center undertook the first empirical study of how fertility clinics market themselves on the Internet - what they emphasize and what they leave unsaid.
It might be assumed that would-be parents involved in the often lengthy and always costly process of assisted conception would be most interested in success rates and cost. But Hawkins found only 56 percent of the 372 clinics with websites posted their success rate on their "Home" or "About" pages and only 55 percent of them made any mention of price. "The fact that clinics do not list prices really increases the costs people face when they search for the best clinic," he said. "Patients have to call the clinics or even visit to get pricing information. Coupled with the fact that clinics bundle the treatments they provide into packages differently, it makes price comparisons very difficult."
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