NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– For some couples desperate to have a baby, there is almost nothing they wouldn’t try.
That includes women putting themselves in danger, taking fertility medications found on the black market.
“My husband and I started to try in March 2012 and it was not easy,” patient Kimberly Genco told CBS2, holding back tears.
Her raw emotion says it all. The couple’s struggle with infertility took a huge and costly toll, CBS2’s Kristine Johnson reported.
“With insurance and what it cost my husband and I out of pocket, was almost $100,000,” Genco said.
But working with Dr. Thomas Molinaro, of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, Genco had a baby girl 19 months ago and is now pregnant with her second child.
“Afterwards, they’re left with a surplus of medications that they either want to give to somebody else or perhaps sell,” Molinaro explained.
That however, is illegal, and doctors are against the practice. Genco properly disposed of her unused medications, but CBS2 found that many women do not.
They are buying and selling the drugs in a robust resale online.
“Unfortunately, as a patient, you don’t know what you’re getting,” Molinaro said.
Online message boards offer a black market pharmacy of infertility drugs, often at a fraction of the price. There is always the risk of improper storage, expired medications, and outright scams, not to mention medications without proper supervision.
“It could lead to problems with her ovaries, electrolyte abnormalities, blood clots, cardiac arrhythmias, and dehydration,” Molinaro said.
CBS2 spoke to one woman who has both bought and sold medications online. She says she spent tens of thosuands on the medications. She knew too well the emotional and financial struggle others were facing and did what she thought was right.
“I try to be as informative as I can when selling my meds. I try tp get a background story. I try to see, where are you in your cycle, how are you doing with it,” the seller explained.
She’s asking for a fraction of what she paid, and using the money on other fertility supplements.
But many medical officials say looking on the black market is just not worth the risk.
“It’s still technically an inappropriate and illegal thing to do,” Dr. Drew Tortoriello, Sher Fertility Institute of New York medical director, told CBS2. “They’re going to have to find a way to make it work with us, such that we can do things by the book.”
Doctors add that even with the high cost of fertility medications, drug companies and fertility specialists will always try to work with patients to help keep costs down.