Research question: Does delaying IVF for 6 months in couples with unexplained infertility, compared with immediate IVF treatment, decrease the cost of IVF without compromising success rates?
Design: Decision modelling was used to evaluate the cost and outcomes of immediate IVF versus delayed IVF for a cohort of women aged <40 years suffering unexplained infertility. Australian data and costs were used in the analysis. For different age groups, three scenarios were tested where 10%, 50% and 90% of couples with unexplained infertility delayed IVF for 6 months if they had a good prognosis for natural conception. The study included a total of 8781 couples aged <40 years, diagnosed with unexplained infertility and who had IVF in 2013.
Results: The studied couples underwent 27,648 fresh and frozen embryo transfers, for an estimated total cost of $141 million. Potential out-of-pocket cost savings if 90% of couples delayed IVF ranged from $4.7 to $12.2 million, with Medicare cost savings of up to $15.1 million. The impact on the total pregnancy and live birth rates after 18 months was minimal.
Conclusions: In couples with unexplained infertility and a good prognosis for natural conception, delaying IVF for 6 months could substantially decrease out-of-pocket costs without compromising pregnancy and live birth rates over an 18-month period.
- Costs and cost analysis
- Decision trees
- IVF, Live birth
- Unexplained infertility