Cost-effectiveness of fertility diagnosis and treatment in women of different BMI groups

Globally, an increasing number of women are now either overweight or obese. Obesity increases the risk of infertility and the availability of fertility treatment is subject to access criteria based on female body mass index (BMI). However, no study has evaluated the direct health service costs for infertility management from diagnosis through to treatment leading to live birth or discontinuation across different BMI categories. This project uses routinely collected data on all women referred from primary care for fertility treatment in a defined geographical area to explore the total cumulative cost and cost per live birth of investigating and treating infertility in women in different BMI groups. Clinical outcomes including spontaneous and treatment associated pregnancies and live-birth were also compared across the groups. The effect of BMI on clinical effectiveness and cost was ascertained.

Outcome and Translation

This study was useful for planning and identifying potential strategies for improving the efficiency of fertility services and contributed to the existing evidence base on cost-effectiveness of fertility services in women of different BMI categories.

HERU researchers involved in this research project: Graham Scotland

External collaborators: S Pandey, S Bhattacharya (Other Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen) and S Wordsworth (University of Oxford)


Pandey, S., McLernon, D. J., Scotland, G., Mollison, J., Wordsworth, S. and Bhattacharya, S. (2014) 'Cost of fertility treatment and live birth outcome in women of different ages and BMI', Human Reproduction, 29(10), 2199-2211.