Preterm deliveries that result from multiple pregnancies associated with assisted reproductive technologies in the USA: a cost analysis

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Jun;23(3):168-73. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e32834551cd.


Purpose of review: Simultaneous transfer of multiple embryos in an assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycle results in a high rate of multiple pregnancy. Besides the medical complications associated with multiple pregnancy, the financial burden of the resultant preterm infants is also substantial. The current review evaluates the costs associated with the care of preterm infants that are born as a result of ART-associated multiple pregnancies.

Recent findings: In 2006, 30% of all ART live births were multiple infant deliveries in the USA. This resulted in 48% of all ART neonates being the product of a multiple infant delivery. In the same year, 62% of ART twins and 97% of ART triplets were delivered preterm, corresponding to approximately 17 000 infants. The Board of Health Sciences Policy has estimated the mean cost of each preterm infant to be US$ 51 600. Therefore, the financial burden of ART-associated preterm deliveries is estimated to be approximately US$ 1 billion annually. This figure has remained essentially unchanged between 2001 and 2006, despite decreasing number of embryos transferred, due to increasing total number of ART cycles performed.

Summary: Preterm deliveries that result from ART-associated multiple pregnancies add a substantial burden to overall US healthcare expenditure annually. Policies limiting the number of embryos transferred should be considered with a perspective to increase elective single embryo transfers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Multiple*
  • Premature Birth / economics*
  • Premature Birth / therapy
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / economics*