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Higher levels of public reimbursement positively influence national birth rates and reduce unmet needs in subfertile populations
Date:7/2/2012

Istanbul, 2 July 2012: The state funding of fertility treatment through public reimbursement policies has a direct influence on national birth rates. Lower levels of reimbursement are correlated with higher unmet needs for treatment, while more generous reimbursement policies increase access to treatment and may even make a measurable contribution to national birth rates.

The findings come from a study reported here today at the annual meeting of ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology). The results, says health economist Dr Mark Connolly from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, reflect the wide variety of reimbursement policies throughout Europe and come at a time when many national and local authorities have made plans to cut back their IVF funding as a cost-cutting initiative.(1)

Dr Connolly and colleagues quantified the reimbursement policies of 23 European countries, using an index score ranging from 0 to 18; the higher index scores indicated fuller state funding/reimbursement for treatment. The countries with the most generous funding policies were Belgium, France and Slovenia (with scores between 14 and 18); those with the least generous were the UK, Russia and Ireland (all with scores under 3).

These index scores were then correlated with treatment practice and outcomes in each of the 23 countries. Results first showed a significant relationship between the level of reimbursement and the annual contribution of assisted reproduction (ART) births to national birth numbers. " This finding," said Dr Connolly, "has important policy implications for national authorities concerned about ageing populations and interested in policies for influencing national birth rates. Although the influence on birth rates is small, the relationship is positive and provides an opportunity to compare with other policies implemented by local and national governments to influence birth rates."(2)

Results also
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Contact: Christine Bauquis
christine@eshre.eu
32-499-258-046
European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
Source:Eurekalert

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