Should government fund assisted reproductive techniques? A study using willingness to pay
During recent years there has been a growth in the use of assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) across Europe, America and Australia. This has resulted in debates about whether health insurance should cover this procedure. This study used the closed-ended (CE) willingness to pay (WTP) technique to establish the value the infertile place on in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment in Scotland. The intention is to consider the use of the economic instrument of WTP for informing the debate on the public provision of IVF. Assuming that the value of the service outweighs the cost, public provision should be encouraged. The responses suggested that users of the service have a mean WTP of over £5000 for an attempt at IVF. This compares with an average government expenditure of £2700. The internal validity of the CE WTP was also shown, with income being positively related to WTP. It is concluded that the CE WTP technique is potentially a useful tool for policy makers in considering the public provision of IVF services, and that further work is needed to establish the reliability and external validity of the technique.