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Unmet Parenthood Goals, Health-Related Quality of Life and Apparent Irrationality: Understanding the Value of Treatments for Infertility

Skedgel, C., Cubi-Molla, P., Mott, D. , Gameiro, S., Boivin, J., Al-Janabi, H., Brazier, J., Markert, M., Andersson, F. & Jofre-Bonet, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-2055-2166 (2023). Unmet Parenthood Goals, Health-Related Quality of Life and Apparent Irrationality: Understanding the Value of Treatments for Infertility. PharmacoEconomics - Open, 7(3), pp. 337-344. doi: 10.1007/s41669-023-00402-5


An increasing number of prospective parents are experiencing infertility along with associated negative impacts on mental health and life satisfaction that can extend across a network of individuals and family members. Assistive reproductive technologies (ART) can help prospective parents achieve their parenthood goals but, like any health technology, they must demonstrate acceptable 'value for money' to qualify for public funding. We argue that current approaches to understanding the value of ART, including quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gains based on changes in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and, more often, cost per live birth, are too narrow to capture the full impact of unmet parenthood goals and ART. We see a fundamental disconnect between measures of HRQOL and broader measures of wellbeing associated with met and unmet parenthood goals. We also suggest that simple concepts such as 'patient' and 'carer' are of limited applicability in the context of ART, where 'spillovers' extend across a wide network of individuals, and the person receiving treatment is often not the infertile individual. Consideration of individual and societal wellbeing beyond HRQOL is necessary to understand the full range of negative impacts associated with unmet parenthood goals and the corresponding positive impacts of successful ART. We suggest moving towards a wellbeing perspective on value to achieve a fuller understanding of value and promote cross-sector allocative efficiency.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits any non-commercial use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http:// creat iveco mmons. org/ licen ses/ by- nc/4. 0/.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Economics
SWORD Depositor:
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