Financial security through IVF insurance coverage increases chance of having baby

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A new study has established a direct link between in vitro fertilization (IVF) insurance coverage and chances of having a baby suggesting that the financial security provided by the insurance coverage boosts chances of having a baby.

The study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis states that this increase in chances of having baby has a financial reason rather than a medical. The high cost of even a single IVF procedure effectively prohibits a woman from going for second treatment if the first attempt has failed. The study and its findings are published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, a single IVF treatment costs anywhere between $12,000 to $17,000 with the success rate being more than 40 percent for women under age 35 to about 15 percent for women over age 40.

For the study researchers at the University examined data from 1,572 women who sought IVF treatment from 2001 to 2010 at Washington University’s Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center. Of the women included in the study, 875 (56 per cent) had insurance for IVF and 697 (44 per cent) paid for the procedure themselves. Researchers found that 70 percent of women with insurance returned for a second IVF treatment if the initial treatment was unsuccessful.

Researchers found that for women with IVF coverage, the average likelihood of giving birth after up to four attempts was 59 per cent, or 515 births. This compared with 51 per cent, or 350 births, for women without such coverage – a difference that is statistically significant.

Scientists point out that the two groups were medically similar after controlling for factors such as age. Those with an insurance were more likely to come back and try again if they were initially unsuccessful. Given that they had the ability to try more times, they had a higher chance of giving birth.

While there are limitations of the study, scientists say that their findings reveal a critical role that insurance plays in determining whether a woman with fertility issues ultimately will have a baby.