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Researcher say that ICSI may be over-used in some countries
Date:7/9/2008

o IVF for indications other than those for severe male infertility."

As ICSI is a more complicated procedure than IVF, it is also more expensive. Different studies have reported that ICSI is between 10% and 30% more expensive than IVF.

Prof Nyboe Andersen said: "Huge differences in the rates of ICSI and IVF exist between countries, but we don't know why this should be. The Nordic countries, The Netherlands and the UK used ICSI to a low extent (40-44%); Austria, Belgium and Germany used it much more frequently (68.5-73%); and the southern European countries, such as Greece, Italy and Spain, used ICSI the most frequently (66-81%).

"It would appear that some countries are using ICSI excessively compared to IVF, despite the lack of medical evidence that it is beneficial to patients. As ICSI does not give higher pregnancy rates than IVF in couples where the infertility is not caused by male factors, and as it is more expensive, infertile couples and society may benefit from a less frequent use of ICSI in some of these countries."

Prof Nyboe Andersen said that one possible explanation for the increase in ICSI might be because doctors felt under pressure to show couples that they had tried every available procedure, including the most advanced, to achieve a pregnancy. "This is understandable, but except in cases of male factor infertility, ICSI is unnecessarily complicated and more expensive."

This is the ninth year that the ESHRE consortium has reported data on ART in Europe and in this time the number of cycles has more than doubled. Thirty countries contributed data for 2005, with 14 giving complete data from all their clinics. In 2005 there were 419 037 cycles of ART performed in Europe a 14% increase on 2004 when 367 056 cycles were reported.

France (71 278), Germany (53 378), the UK (41 911), Spain (41 680) and Italy (34 541) perform the most number of cycles. In addition to the figures for IVF and ICSI, there
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
34-932-308-810
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
Source:Eurekalert

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