BACKGROUND: The increase in use and costs of assisted reproductive therapies including in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has led to debate over public funding. A decision analytic model was designed to estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness of IVF by additional treatment programmes and maternal age.
METHODS: Data from the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproductive Database were used to estimate incremental effects (live birth and other pregnancy outcomes) and costs for cohorts of women attempting up to three treatment programmes. A treatment programme included one fresh cycle and a variable number of frozen cycles dependent on maternal age.
RESULTS: The incremental cost per live birth ranged from AU dollars 27 373 and AU dollars 31 986 for women aged 30-33 on their first and third programmes to AU dollars 130 951 and AU dollars 187 515 for 42-45-year-old women on their first and second attempts. Overall, these trends were not affected by inclusions of costs associated with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or multiple births.
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that cost per live birth from IVF increases with maternal age and treatment programme number and indicates that maternal age has the much greater effect. This evidence may help decisionmakers target the use of IVF services conditional on societal willingness to pay for live births and equity considerations.