Aggregated News

Amy Hobgood feeds her twin daughters Adrienne, left, and Laura at their home outside Boston. Hobgood, 41, had spent eight years trying to become pregnant; the strain on her marriage led to divorce. She turned to Dr. Ernest Zeringue's clinic in Davis, Calif., after she was single, drawn by the price and the prospect of pristine embryos. She and her former husband are now getting back together. (Dominic Chavez, For The Times / October 29, 2012)
Dr. Ernest Zeringue was looking for a niche in the cutthroat industry of fertility treatments.

He seized on price, a huge obstacle for many patients, and in late 2010 began advertising a deal at his Davis, Calif., clinic unheard of anywhere else: Pregnancy for $9,800 or your money back.

That's about half the price for in vitro fertilization at many other clinics, which do not include money-back guarantees. Typically, insurance coverage is limited and patients pay again and again until they give birth — or give up.

Those patients use their own eggs and sperm — or carefully select donors when necessary — and the two are combined in a petri dish to create a batch of embryos. Usually one or two are then transferred to the womb. Any embryos left over are the property of the customers.

Zeringue sharply cuts costs by creating a single batch of embryos from one egg donor and one sperm donor, then divvying it up among several patients. The clinic, not the customer, controls the embryos, typically making babies for three or four patients...