Ivf treatment may not be cost-effective for some couples

Around 20 hospitals are launching an investigation into whether ivf fertility treatment is cost effective.

Medical staff are concerned many couples with a good chance of becoming pregnant spontaneously are seeking fertility treatment. The cost of their treatment means genuinely infertile couples are not receiving enough ivf treatments to become pregnant.

The hospitals and internet agency Virtual Affairs are setting up an online test to track the chances of a natural pregnancy. It will include the mother’s age, the amount of movement in the sperm and how long the couple has been trying for a baby.

If the chance of a natural pregnancy is above 30%, ivf treatment will be postponed. Couples with a lower percentage chance will be given ivf. Earlier research by the Amsterdam medical centre showed that for couples with a 30% to 40% chance 25% were pregnant within six months.

Doctors estimate that each year 3,000 inseminations at €800 each and 1,700 ivf treatments at €3,000 each are given to couples with a reasonable chance of getting pregnant.

Ben Willem Mol, professor of gynaecology at the AMC, told the Volkskrant: ‘If we get some of the group beginning on the process to wait six months, we will save money which can be used to help infertile couples until it is no longer medically sensible.’

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