He said: "Normally, the cost calculations of assisted reproduction are limited to the cost of the treatment cycle alone. However, it seems clear to me that it is equally important to count the costs of hospitalisation, delivery according to the method of delivery, and neonatal care. This gives a much better view of the reality.
"The resulting figures show that multiple pregnancies have a very important economic impact, which should be considered together with the medical risks. Moreover, this study did not analyse the long-term costs, relating to cerebral palsy and handicaps that are much more frequent in multiple birth babies than in singletons. These figures reinforce the necessity of preventing their occurrence with an adapted policy on ART and stimulation regimen in other fertility treatments.
"Research shows that for healthy women, under the age of 40, who are ovulating normally, single embryo transfer, maybe over more than one cycle, achieves a similar pregnancy rate as transferring two or more embryos in one cycle and with far fewer risks to the mothers and babies. With older women, or those with more problems, this is not necessarily the case. However, the money that is saved by avoiding the higher costs of multiple pregnancies in these younger women could be used instead to increase the numbers of cycles offered to women and enable more ART children to be born."
Dr de Mouzon, a specialist in pub
Contact: Mary Rice
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology