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infertile couplesAs their van rumbled away from the McDonald’s, onto the Arizona road and toward Mexico a mile away, the Kowalskis wondered if the family they’d long envisioned having would finally become real.

Jennifer Benito-Kowalski and Steve Kowalski had traveled 950 miles from their San Carlos home. A clinic just over the border would be the latest stop in a journey three years in the making: the quest to get pregnant.

Natural conception hadn’t happened, fertility treatments had failed and the doctors were out of ideas. At 38, Benito-Kowalski worried she’d never be a mother.

Ultimately, the Kowalskis would pay a surrogate in India to carry their child, who is due in May. But that decision was months away.

In 2011, the couple turned to the Alan E. Beer Center for Reproductive Immunology and Genetics, a Los Gatos clinic with an international reputation for curing frustrated, vulnerable women of infertility.

But the clinic’s methods involve experimental therapies that outside studies have concluded do not work and that insurers often do not cover. One therapy, in which a woman is repeatedly injected with her partner’s blood cells, has been prohibited in the United States for more than a decade. That hasn’t stopped Beer’s doctors from directing hundreds of patients to clinics outside the country to have it done – and pay thousands of out-of-pocket dollars. Read full article.

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