Philadelphia radio station Q102 is touting its latest giveaway: a baby.
That’s just to get your attention. The freebie is actually an in-vitro fertilization cycle at Abington Reproductive Medicine, as morning show host Elvis Duran explained on the air.
IVF, in which human eggs are fertilized in a lab dish, is no guarantee of a baby, especially for women in their 40s, but it is expensive. A single try costs an average of $20,000.
To win the prize, entrants have to submit a one-minute video and be chosen by Q102′s panel of judges.
IVF contests are nothing new — Q102 parent company iHeartMedia has used the promotion in other markets — and are not without ethical controversy. Critics say the giveaways exploit vulnerable, desperate people for the sake of marketing. Proponents say infertile couples get a chance at parenthood that they otherwise couldn’t afford. (Though 10 percent of couples have trouble conceiving, health insurance generally doesn’t cover such high-tech help.)
Jared Fallon, program director for Q102, said in a news release, “My wife and I have first-hand experience with IVF, so we fully understand what an incredible opportunity this is.”
The contest, which began on Valentine’s Day, will have a winner on April Fool’s Day.
Some IVF giveaways are not as free or fabulous as they seem, as the health information website Verywell Health cautions. But Abington Reproductive Medicine infertility specialist Larry Barmat said this one is for real.
“No false advertising,” said Barmat, whose group practice does about 500 IVF cycles a year. “Zero out-of-pocket costs.”