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Impact of comprehensive state insurance mandates on in vitro fertilization utilization, embryo transfer practices, and outcomes in the United States

Published:March 10, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2022.03.003

      Background

      Previous studies have demonstrated that state mandated coverage of in vitro fertilization may be associated with increased utilization, fewer embryos per transfer, and lower multiple birth rates, but also lower overall live birth rates. Given new legislation and the delay between enactment and effect, a revisit of this analysis is warranted.

      Objective

      This study aimed to characterize the current impact of comprehensive state in vitro fertilization insurance mandates on in vitro fertilization utilization, live birth rates, multiple birth rates, and embryo transfer practices.

      Study Design

      We conducted a retrospective cohort study of in vitro fertilization cycles reported by the 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Assisted Reproductive Technology Fertility Clinic Success Rates Report in the United States. In vitro fertilization cycles were stratified according to state mandate as follows: comprehensive (providing coverage for in vitro fertilization with minimal restrictions) and noncomprehensive. The United States census estimates for 2018 were used to calculate the number of reproductive-aged women in each state. Outcomes of interest (stratified by state mandate status) included utilization rate of in vitro fertilization per 1000 women aged 25 to 44 years, live birth rate, multiple birth rate, number of embryo transfer procedures (overall and subdivided by fresh vs frozen cycles), and percentage of transfers performed with frozen embryos. Additional subanalyzes were performed with stratification of outcomes by patient age group.

      Results

      In 2018, 134,997 in vitro fertilization cycles from 456 clinics were reported. Six states had comprehensive mandates; 32,029 and 102,968 cycles were performed in states with and without comprehensive in vitro fertilization mandates, respectively. In vitro fertilization utilization in states with comprehensive mandates was 132% higher than in noncomprehensive states after age adjustment; increased utilization was observed regardless of age stratification. Live birth rate per cycle was significantly higher in states with comprehensive mandates (35.4% vs 33.4%; P<.001), especially among older age groups. Multiple birth rate as a percentage of all births was significantly lower in states with comprehensive mandates (10.2% vs 13.8%; P<.001), especially among younger patients. Mean number of embryos per transfer was significantly lower in states with comprehensive mandates (1.30 vs 1.36; P<.001). Significantly fewer frozen transfers were performed as a percentage of all embryo transfers in states with comprehensive mandates (66.1% vs 76.3%; P<.001). Among fresh embryo transfers, significantly fewer embryos were transferred in comprehensive states among all patients (1.55 vs 1.67; P<.001).

      Conclusion

      Comprehensive state mandated insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization services is associated with greater utilization of these services, fewer embryos per transfer, fewer frozen embryo transfers, lower multiple birth rates, and higher live birth rates. These findings have important public health implications for reproductive-aged individuals in the United States and present notable opportunities for research on access to fertility care.

      Key words

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