Global Utilization of Fertility Services in Developed Nations

Friday, 28 July 2017

Jamie R. Kanehl, BSN
Rainbow Pediatric Center, Jacksonville, FL, USA

Purpose: To identify factors that lead to discrepancies of utilization of artificial reproductive technology (ART) worldwide and understand the impacts liberal and strict country regulations have on cross border care and overall reproductive health and infertility rates.

Methods: A literature search for global infertility, assistive reproductive technology and cross border care was completed. Data from the search was gathered and analyzed. Visual graphs for 18 different countries were created to help visualize the differences in number of ART cycles, pregnancy rates and ART utilization based on population. Laws and regulations of each country were researched. Regulations in each country were compared with rates of ART utilization, and ingoing and outgoing cross border care.

Results: Regulations and laws for ART varied worldwide such as regulations dependent on marital status, age of woman, age of man, and sexual orientation. Countries with liberal regulations in which they do not impose as many strict regulations such as age limits typically have higher incoming cross border care and higher utilization of ART. Countries with strict regulations that impose requirements such as heterosexual marriage typically have higher outgoing cross border care and lower ART utilization. However, some countries such as the United Kingdom have liberal regulations but still have high outgoing cross border care rates likely due to their long wait lists and lack of appropriate access to care. Other countries such have Ireland do not have public access to ART and therefore have no regulations or public financing in place and very low utilization of ART.

Conclusion: The growing phenomenon of cross border reproductive care highlights the problem with infertility throughout the world. Restrictive laws, lack of public financing and wait lists all contribute to patients seeking legal, more affordable and better medical care in other countries. The utilization of ART has not met the growth in technology for infertility treatment and poses a threat to the population of infertile persons. The data should continue to be examined to fully determine the factors contributing to the increase in this form of medical tourism to further help the utilization of ART.