Early last year, we started getting inundated with inquiries about a certain Fertility Clinic in Victoria Island that was running an IVF promo. When we heard how much a cycle would cost under this promo, we were quite amazed, because it was at least 50% to 75% less than the price of some other clinics. It was easy to see why this would be so attractive to many. But we were apprehensive.
You see, when we were conducting our first ranking of Nigerian clinics, we visited a lot of them in the Lagos area, this one inclusive. And we were impressed with neither the facility nor the doctors on ground. Add that to the fact that we are yet to hear of a single success story from this clinic, it was obvious why it didn’t rank high with us at all. It still doesn’t. And we told our members so. Yes, the price was attractive, but no, we couldn’t endorse the clinic. This was around March last year.
You can imagine our shock when for the rest of the year, we kept on getting inquiries about this same hospital, and this same IVF promo. Haba! Promos and freebies every day?! And it just convinced me all the more that the offer was nothing but a ploy to attract patients, as they have nothing else that will! No success rates, no precedent, no favourable word-of-mouth referrals…nothing!
As if other ‘up and coming’ clinics got wind of this strategy, we have suddenly started hearing about similar promotions from unknown places, both in and out of Lagos. The modus operandi is always the same. Rock bottom prices and lofty promises. And the outcome has almost always been the same. Unsuccessful.
I’m going to digress and delve into a small analogy. In February last year, the batteries of my inverter went flat and it was time to replace them. I contacted the guy I have been using for years, and when I got his quote, I screamed! It was a lot more than what I’d paid about 18 months before, and he explained that it was mainly due to FOREX movement. Let’s call his quote NGN x. Angered, I went looking for an alternative, and found some random guy who gave me a quote of NGN y, almost half what my regular guy had quoted and even less than what I’d paid 18 months before. Ehn?! All I could see was the money I was going to save, and without further ado, proceeded to go with the new guy. Well, it turns out he sold me refurbished batteries that went flat before the year ran out, so rather than last me the usual 18 months, these batteries barely lasted me 7. I thought I was saving NGN x-y, but I ended up losing NGN y!
A few people have said to me, “Nicole, we don’t have N1.5m – N2m to spend in these other clinics you highly recommend. We’ve decided to use this clinic because paying N750k with their promo will be so much easier for us.” And my answer to them is always the same. N750k might seem small compared to what some other clinics charge for an IVF cycle, but it is a lot of money to throw away!
There are several factors that should count when choosing your clinic. In our opinion, the first and foremost should be the pedigree of the doctor, which should also go hand in hand with the clinic’s historical success rate. And don’t measure success rate by how many children you see in an album perched on a coffee table in their reception, or from pictures on the wall. As much as possible, try to get information from people who have used these clinics. Thank God for Google. All you have to do is run a search, and you’ll be amazed about what you’ll find. Ask a lot of questions. While price is also an important consideration, it can’t be your deciding factor. If not, you might end up choosing Okafor, Jegede & Sons Clinic, all because they are offering a ‘giveaway’ price of N500k. It’s a giveaway alright…you are just giving away your money!
Please note that we’re not saying any clinic that offers promotions is up to no good. That would be incorrect. We know a lot of clinics that, from time to time, offer discounted prices, and this is very normal. But at least, they have the reputation and antecedence to back this up. A few reputable clinics here in Lagos offer these periodic discounts, and one of them once even offered free frozen transfers following a failed cycle (they don’t anymore though). These are all perfectly fine. What matters is that you do your detailed research to confirm that the clinic is more than just its offer of you spending less money, and has a lot more substance.
And trust your instincts. We tend to discount something as simple as how we feel when we walk into a clinic for the first time…the kind of vibe we get. You really shouldn’t. In addition to confirming the quality of care and treatment the clinic is offering, and yes, the price, listen to your heart. If you don’t feel right about a certain place, even if the treatment will be free, my dear, run as fast as you can away from that joint! Yes, you might appear unreasonable if you can’t really articulate why you don’t quite like so and so clinic, but its better to be safe than sorry. Trust me. I know. I’ve been there. If I’d listened to my gut when I walked into the clinic where I had my failed cycle, it would be a different story today. But I have told that story like a million times already, so I won’t belabour it again.
Whatever the case, whether it’s from an unknown clinic or a reputable one, make sure you evaluate any offer of a promo or discount with a very discerning eye, and under a microscope! Please, please and please….read the small print! A lot of people just think “Yay! A discount!”, and sign up before they realise they have entered one chance! One of our members signed up with one of these unknown clinics, and paid the N750k for a cycle. God being so merciful, she got pregnant naturally, before the cycle began. She thought she would qualify for a partial refund at least, but when she approached the hospital, was told it was a completely non-refundable fee. N750k got, just like that! Another case happened with one of the very reputable Abuja clinics, which once had a ‘promo’ (if you can call it that), wherein you paid N5m to fund 3 cycles. I guess they were working under the premise that the first 2 would fail. Someone I know got pregnant after the first cycle, but alas, there was to be no refund of any kind, for the 2 cycles she didn’t have to utilise. So, she ended up spending in excess of N3m what a standard cycle would have cost her. She didn’t read the fine print.
Bottom line, don’t take these promos at face value. Look very well before you leap. Ask loads of questions. That’s why communities like ours are here. That’s why a few of us who have been through the journey have chosen to give back, to help other women avoid making some of the mistakes we did.
Baby dust to all!
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here.