Cross-border reproductive care: Market forces in action or market failure? An economic perspective

Mark Connolly*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    From an economist's perspective, cross-border reproductive care (CBRC) reflects a global market economy bringing together the needs of patients and skills of doctors at an agreed price. From this perspective CBRC is neither wrong nor right, rather it reflects rational economic behaviour of couples to maximize their wellbeing. The major economic criticism of CBRC relates to the costs and risks of multiple pregnancies, as couples paying out-of-pocket may have more embryos transferred than is desirable to optimize their chances of having a live birth. This criticism is valid, suggesting a need to communicate the hidden costs of failing to adequately fund fertility services. However, under some circumstances health authorities may be willing to bear these additional costs if the savings from not providing fertility services are sufficiently large enough to warrant a no-funding policy. Because infertility is often viewed as a low health priority, the likelihood of CBRC persisting is real, particularly as many health services adjust to the challenges of ageing populations and decreased public financing. To counter funding challenges, there is a need to communicate the medical benefits of assisted reproduction and the economic benefits that these children will offer in an era of austerity and ageing populations. (C) 2011, Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)817-819
    Number of pages3
    JournalReproductive Biomedicine Online
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Dec-2011


    • cross-border care
    • economic
    • fertility
    • medical tourism
    • supplier-induced demand

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