Economic aspects of infertility care: a challenge for researchers and clinicians

ESHRE Capri Workshop Group
October 2015
Human Reproduction;Oct2015, Vol. 30 Issue 10, p2243
Academic Journal
journal article
Infertility care has improved remarkably over the last few decades and has received growing attention from health care providers. Several treatments, including expensive options such as Assisted Reproductive Techniques, are now widely available for routine clinical use. In most cases, adoption of these treatments has occurred without robust cost-effective analyses. IVF for unexplained infertility and ICSI in the absence of semen abnormalities are two examples of this gradual technology creep. More in-depth economic analyses in the field of infertility are undoubtedly warranted. However, performing these analyses is challenging because infertility care poses a number of unique challenges. Studies of cost-effectiveness are open to criticism because there is a lack of consensus about the outcomes of choice and the appropriate perspective. The use of quality adjusted life years (QALYs) to allow comparisons with other clinical conditions is also controversial because the value associated with infertility care cannot be easily captured in QALYs. Moreover, their use triggers the crucial question of whose QALYs merit consideration-an individual's, a couple's or a child's. In conclusion, economic analysis in infertility represents a peculiar but crucial challenge. If management of infertility is to become an integral part of publicly or privately funded health care systems worldwide, better quality data and a shared vision about the costs and benefits of infertility treatments are needed.


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