New research presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Scientific Congress in October quantified the heavy financial burden that endometriosis puts on patients.
Using insurance claims, data analysts associated with the pharmaceutical company AbbVie examined the costs faced by women with endometriosis. The costs varied depending on the treatment modality. Surgical patients faced higher costs than those who did not require surgical treatments. Of the surgical procedures examined, those which needed an ovary removed (oophorectomy) faced greater costs than those who had laparoscopy or laparotomy procedures without oophorectomy. The same relationship, higher costs for surgical patients, was also found for indirect costs such as short term disability and absence from work. With total costs for patients having oophorectomy exceeding $34,000, it is clear that endometriosis places a high cost burden on patients, payers and the economy in general.
And this does not take into account the more indirect costs involved in trying to conceive. Many endometriosis patients, even those with a minimal amount of the disease struggle with infertility. Some of the patients with minimal or mild endometriosis may conceive with conventional infertility treatment involving fertility drugs and intrauterine insemination. Some, and those with more severe forms of the disease will require IVF.
The good news is that the success rates for patients with endometriosis can now be equal to those without the condition. The success rates for endometriosis sufferers used to be lower. What has made the difference is only transferring embryos in a cycle in which the ovaries do not produce eggs. A natural cycle seems to have some effect on implantation so I am recommending only transfers in a frozen embryo cycle for patients with endometriosis. Advances in freezing techniques through vitrification has helped make this policy even more successful.
So the financial “cost” of endometriosis is not limited the the immediate treatment as outlined in the study, but the “high cost” of endometriosis also includes the additional costs of fertility evaluation and treatment.