Increasingly couples are travelling overseas to access assisted reproductive technology, known as cross border reproductive care, although the incidence, pregnancy outcomes and healthcare costs are unknown.
To determine obstetric and neonatal outcomes for multiple pregnancies conceived through fertility treatment overseas, and estimate cost of these pregnancies to the health system.
Materials and methods
Retrospective study of women receiving care for a multiple gestation between July 2013 and June 2015 at Western Australia’s sole tertiary obstetric hospital, where conception was by overseas fertility treatment. Obstetric and neonatal outcomes were recorded and cost estimates calculated.
Of 11 710 births, 422 were multiple pregnancies. Thirty‐seven pregnancies were conceived with fertility treatment, with 11 (29.7%) conceived overseas. Median antenatal clinic attendances, ultrasound examinations, and fetal assessments for the overseas fertility cases were six, 10, and nine, respectively. The gestational age at delivery ranged from 30 to 38 weeks (median 34 + 1). Median neonatal admission duration was 18 days (range 0–47). Cost for obstetric care was estimated between $170 000 and $216 000, and cost of neonatal care was estimated as $810 000, giving a combined total cost of between $980 000 and $1 026 000.
At the sole tertiary obstetric centre in WA, approximately one‐third of all multiple pregnancies conceived with fertility treatment resulted from treatment overseas. The Australian healthcare cost for these 11 women and their infants exceeded $1 000 000. This study suggests that overseas fertility treatment has a significant health‐related cost to the mother and infant, and the local healthcare system.