Background: Conventional ovarian stimulation and the transfer of two embryos in IVF exhibits an inherent high probability of multiple pregnancies, resulting in high costs. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of a mild compared with a conventional strategy for IVF. Methods: Four hundred and four patients were randomly assigned to undergo either mild ovarian stimulation/GnRH antagonist co-treatment combined with single embryo transfer, or standard stimulation/GnRH agonist long protocol and the transfer of two embryos. The main outcome measures are total costs of treatment within a 12 months period after randomization, and the relationship between total costs and proportion of cumulative pregnancies resulting in term live birth within 1 year of randomization. Results: Despite a significantly increased average number of IVF cycles (2.3 versus 1.7; P<0.001), lower average total costs over a 12-month period (8333 versus e10 745; P=0.006) were observed using the mild strategy. This was mainly due to higher costs of the obstetric and post-natal period for the standard strategy, related to multiple pregnancies. The costs per pregnancy leading to term live birth were e19 156 in the mild strategy and e24 038 in the standard. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of the standard strategy compared with the mild strategy was e185 000 per extra pregnancy leading to term live birth. Conclusions: Despite an increased mean number of IVF cycles within 1 year, from an economic perspective, the mild treatment strategy is more advantageous per term live birth. It is unlikely, over a wide range of society's willingness-to-pay, that the standard treatment strategy is cost-effective, compared with the mild strategy.
- EMC NIHES-02-65-01