Is the public supportive and willing to pay for a national assistive reproductive therapies programme? Results from a multicountry survey

Chris Skedgel, Eleanor Ralphs, Elaine Finn, Jennifer A. Whitty, Marie Markert, Carl Samuelson

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Objectives: To understand attitudes towards infertility and willingness to pay (WTP) towards a publicly funded national assistive reproductive therapies (ART) programme.

Design: Attitudes survey with dichotomous and open-ended WTP questions.

Setting: Online survey administered in the USA, UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and China.

Participants: 7945 respondents, analysed by country. Nordic respondents were pooled into a regionally representative sample.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: Primary outcome measures were proportion of sample agreeing with different infertility-related and ART-related value statements and supporting a monthly contribution to fund a national ART programme, expressed in local currency. Secondary outcome measure was maximum WTP.

Results: Across the nationally representative samples, 75.5% of all respondents agreed with infertility as a medical condition and 82.3% and 83.7% with ART eligibility for anyone who has difficulty having a baby or a medical problem preventing them from having a baby, respectively. 56.4% of respondents supported a defined monthly contribution and 73.9% supported at least some additional contribution to fund a national ART programme. Overall, converting to euros, median maximum WTP was €3.00 and mean was €15.47 (95% CI 14.23 to 16.72) per month. Maximum WTP was highest in China and the USA and lowest in the European samples.

Conclusions: This large, multicountry survey extends our understanding of public attitudes towards infertility and fertility treatment beyond Europe. It finds evidence that a majority of the public in all sampled countries/regions views infertility as a treatable medical condition and supports the idea that all infertile individuals should have access to treatments that improve the chance of conception. There was also strong agreement with the idea that the desire for children is a basic human need. WTP questions showed that a majority of respondents supported a monthly contribution to fund a national ART programme, although there is some evidence of an acquiescence bias that may overstate support among specific samples.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere044986
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2021

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