While the costs of MAR treatment represent a substantial proportion of a patient’s annual disposable income, MAR typically represents less than 0.25% of total national healthcare expenditure. By comparison, obesity accounts for 10% and 2-4% of total health care spending in the US and Europe respectively.
MAR treatments elicit significant medical, reproductive and economic influence in developed countries with 3.5 million children estimated to have been born worldwide since 1978. These children make up a substantial proportion of national births with up to 4.1% in Denmark and 3.3% in Belgium. In the US, Europe, and Oceania over 600,000 treatment cycles resulted in 120,000 children being born in 2005.The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Task Force on ‘Reproduction and Society’ reviewed the economics of MAR to evaluate the benefits of funding of MAR for society and to inform policy makers on effective, safe and equitable financing of MAR. Dr. Mark Connolly and colleagues who published this review paper in the journal Human Reproduction Update based their findings on key epidemiological and economic studies.
Public funding of MAR ranges from virtually no subsidisation in the US to funding of a limited number of cycles based on female age in most European countries. Many politicians have justified limited funding with the view that infertility is a socially constructed need rather than a medical disorder. ‘The few studies we found on financial access to treatment suggest that affordability is a powerful determinant of whether couples will pursue treatment,’ recalls Dr. Connolly. The cost (as percentage of an individual’s annual disposable income) of a single fresh MAR cycle can range from 50% in the US to 20% in the UK and the Nordic countries. After government subsidies the costs in the US remained unchanged, but fell to 12% in the UK and in Scandinavia.So far very few studies exist that have evaluated MAR children in terms of fiscal implications, and although an 8-fold ROI for any government is quite substantial, the ESHRE Task Force calls for caution ‘these results need to be applied in a policy framework and in the broad context of other governmental policies. The creation of a child leads to increased government expenses in the short-term, and the ROI in future taxes is not received until more than 30 years later once these children enter the workforce.’
Please acknowledge Human Reproduction Update as a source in any articles. For more information please contact Hanna Hanssen, Communications Manager for ESHRE, Tel: + 32 (0)2 269 09 69, firstname.lastname@example.org .
ESHRE was founded in 1985 with a mission is to promote the understanding of reproductive science and medicine. It does this through facilitating research and the dissemination of research findings in human reproduction and embryology to the general public, scientists, clinicians, patient associations and key policy makers across Europe. Human Reproduction and Human Reproduction Update are monthly journals of ESHRE, and are published by Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press.
Hanna Hanssen | EurekAlert!
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