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20-06-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Assisted reproductive technologies are economically profitable

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: The typical total cost of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) represents just 0.25 percent of a country’s total national healthcare expenditure, say researchers.

Furthermore, the net tax revenue expected from an IVF-conceived child vastly outweighs the cost of IVF treatment, at approximately €127,000 (US $155,400) versus €15,000 (US $18,400) in 2005 in the UK.

This generates an eight-fold return on investment for governments, say Mark Connolly (University of Groningen, The Netherlands) and colleagues.

The team reviewed the global costs and consequences of ART with regard to direct and indirect costs, and economic drivers of ART use.

The USA carried out the most ART procedures, but had the lowest use rate per million among all developed countries. The researchers believe this is down to ART costing more in the USA than any northern European country or Japan.

The financial burden on individuals in countries without subsidization also creates an incentive to achieve pregnancies in the fewest ART cycles possible, say Connolly et al.

This can result in the transfer of multiple embryos and the increased cost of caring for multiple births, which the researchers note “can exceed the cost of ART treatment itself.”

They conclude: “It makes clinical as well as economic sense to provide affordable treatment to those who need it.”

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy