February 8, 2008 / 9:32 PM / 12 years ago

Cost of fertility treatment calculated

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The cost of giving birth using assisted reproduction technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) exceeds $100,000 when the probability of a live birth falls below 15 percent, suggest results of a new cost analysis.

“Couples who are considering fertility treatments need the best information possible,” study chief Dr. James H. Segars of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, told Reuters Health. “Our paper provides estimates of the potential costs of infertility treatments.”

These estimates “provide important information that couples and their physicians can use in deciding whether to consider using the woman’s own eggs versus other options, such as donor eggs or adoption,” Segars concluded.

Segars and colleagues calculated the probability of a live birth following assisted reproduction technologies based on the age of the women and levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), a surrogate measure of ovarian reserve, and calculated the cost of a live birth.

The formula was derived from 1,238 first assisted reproductive cycles among women attending the researchers’ IVF clinics.

The cost of a live birth “rose exponentially at lower probabilities of live birth,” Segars said. As a woman’s predicted delivery rate falls below 10 percent, the cost per live birth “greatly exceeds the cost of a live birth following the use of donor oocytes (eggs),” he added.

The cost of IVF using donor eggs ranges from $15,000 to $25,000. The delivery rate per donor egg is approximately 51 percent at Segars’ clinic, making the cost approximately $30,000 to $49,000 per live birth.

“This information is vital for patient counseling,” Segars said.

SOURCE: Fertility and Sterility, January 2008.

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