Expanding insurance coverage for a type of in vitro
fertilization known as elective single-embryo transfer could lead to improved
health outcomes and lower health care costs, according to a newly published
study that included researchers from the University of Colorado School of
study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, offers a national
survey of outcomes for 263,375 in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles in the
United States and finds that elective single-embryo transfer leads to fewer
study covers nearly a decade of national data and shows that elective
single-embryo transfer is more likely with insurance coverage for infertility
treatment and most often results in the ideal pregnancy outcome – a single,
full-term baby of normal birth weight.
hope that this report will help inform the ongoing discussion regarding optimal
assisted reproductive technology treatments,” said Alex J. Polotsky, MD, MS,
associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado
School of Medicine and the senior author of the article.
the transfer of multiple embryos with IVF was performed to maximize pregnancy
rates, but frequently the practice resulted in twins, triplets and other
multiple gestations. IVF with multiple embryos often can lead to complications
caused by premature birth.
this study, researchers evaluated factors associated with using elective
single-embryo transfer and pregnancy outcomes from 2004 through 2012. The study
encompassed analyses of cycle outcomes in women less than 38 years old.
the use of elective single-embryo transfer has increased dramatically,
researchers found it is more likely in states with infertility treatment
insurance coverage. About 48 percent of all procedures occurred in the six
states with the greatest use of assisted reproductive treatments. Of those
states, three (Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey) have the most
comprehensive insurance mandates.
findings suggest that in circumstances with less financial risk (i.e. out of
pocket expense), patients and their clinicians may be more willing to use
elective single-embryo transfer,” the authors write. “More importantly, this
observation demonstrates the possible large-scale influence of healthcare costs
on medical practice.”
Polotsky, seven authors are listed on the article. The study was supported by
the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development, the National Institutes of Health, the Clinical Research Training
Program at Duke University, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.