Economic evaluation studies in reproductive medicine: a systematic review of methodologic quality

Although quality standards have been set for economic studies, there is considerable room for improvement in such studies in reproductive medicine.


Lobke M. Moolenaar, M.D., Sylvia M.C. Vijgen, M.Sc., Peter Hompes, M.D., Ph.D., Fulco van der Veen, M.D., Ph.D., Ben Willem J. Mol, M.D., Ph.D., Brent C. Opmeer, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 6, Pages 1689-1694.e1, May 2013



To evaluate the methodological quality of economic analyses published in the field of reproductive medicine.


Systematic review.


Centres for reproductive care.


Infertility patients.


We performed a Medline search to identify economic evaluation studies in reproductive medicine. We included studies that concerned interventions, evaluated costs and effects and were published in a journal on reproductive medicine, gynaecology or a major general journal from 1997 through May 2011.

Main Outcome Measures:

Number of quality criteria adhered.


Our search revealed 5,519 articles of which 85 met our inclusion criteria. Seventy seven (91%) of the economic analyses were on treatment, 6 (7%) on diagnosis and 2 (2%) on screening. The mean number of quality criteria adhered to was 20 out of 30 items, whereas only one article met all 30 criteria. The mean number of criteria adhered to was higher if at least one of the authors was from a methodological or health economics department (mean 23(n= 30) vs mean 20 (n=55). The most common limitations of published economic evaluation studies were in methodology or presentation of incremental analyses, sensitivity analyses, and discounting.


Economic analyses published in the last 15 years in the field of reproductive medicine seldom adhere to all recommended methodological standards. A large majority of these publications evaluated treatments rather than diagnostic interventions.

Read the full text at:

Please sign in or register for FREE

Your Fertility and Sterility Dialog login information is not the same as your ASRM or EES credentials. Users must create a separate account to comment or interact on the Dialog.