Belgian policy for ART may impact global action

Submitted by Shelby D Burns Thu 12/05/2013

Reading A new study from Belgium shows that if governments legislate to restrict the numbers of embryos transferred during fertility treatment, but combine it with a policy of providing six cycles of assisted reproduction technology (ART), there is no negative impact on pregnancy and delivery rates. There is, however, a greatly reduced risk of multiple births which has been associated with higher risk for mother and babies. The Belgian policy works Belgium introduced these government policies in July 2003. The research investigated delivery rates three years before and after the policy was enacted. They found no statistically significant difference in the probability of a woman giving birth after the legislation came in to force. The cumulative delivery rate (CDR) after six ART cycles or within 36 months of starting treatment was 60.8% for women treated after July 2003 and 65.6% before. Multiple pregnancy rates dropped by half. Implications for government provided ART “Our study is the first to calculate the cumulative delivery rate in a real-life scenario for up to six cycles or 36 months over a period of three years before and after the implementation of the Belgian legislation limiting the number of embryos transferred. It shows that ART can be made reimbursable for those who need it if governments couple reimbursement to an embryo transfer policy with the aim of maintaining high delivery rates and reducing multiple pregnancy rates, the main complication of ART treatment,” said Dr. Karen Peeraer, adjunct head of clinic at Leuven University Fertility Center, Belgium, who led the research. Implications for public policy worldwide “The results of our paper have implications for public health policies worldwide with respect to quality, safety, regulation and financial control of treatment with ART. From a public health point of view the ‘Belgian model’ can now be considered by other government for application worldwide,” concluded the report.

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