FTC Announces Settlement With DC-Area "Infertility Specialist,"
Who Agrees to Pay Up to $250,000 in Consumer Redress
FTC News Release
May 18, 1989
The Federal Trade Commission announced that Dr Cecil B. Jacobson, who ran the Reproductive Genetic Center, Ltd., in Vienna, VA, has agreed to settle charges that he misrepresented the likelihood that his patients would become pregnant as a result of his treatments and that women who underwent his infertility treatments had, in fact, become pregnant. Jacobson agreed to pay up to $250,000 in consumer redress and also agreed to a permanent injunction forbidding future misrepresentations relating to his infertility practice, under a consent decree approved by a federal court today.
The Commission filed its complaint against Jacobson in January, charging that he gave women repeated injections of a hormone which is known to cause positive pregnancy readings on urinary pregnancy tests when there is, in fact, no pregnancy. According to the complaint, Jacobson then told the women they were pregnant and said that sonograms or ultrasound tests confirmed this. Jacobson would eventually tell the women that the pregnancies had terminated and that the fetuses had been "resorbed" or absorbed back into the woman's body, the Commission alleged.
Under the injunction, Jacobson agreed not to falsely represent:
- the likelihood of success of getting pregnant or having a baby as a result of his treatments;
- the past success rate of pregnancies or live births as a result of his infertility treatment services;
- that a woman is pregnant;
- that any examinations or tests indicate a pregnancy;
- that a pregnancy has terminated; and
- that an embryo or fetus has "resorbed" or otherwise disappeared.
In addition, Jacobson agreed not to represent the likelihood of success as a result of his treatments, unless he could substantiate that representation.
Jacobson agreed to pay $250,000 to the FTC within 10 days, for the FTC staff to use in making redress payments to certain of Jacobson's former patients. The FTC staff estimates that the process for determining which patients are eligible to receive redress will take approximately six months.
The consent decree was approved by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division.
- Civil Action No. 89-0078-A (Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division). FTC File No. 882-3203.
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