Thursday, July 06, 2006


This is the first I have seen such an argument for state funding for IVF. The UK's National Health Services (NHS) has been debating the necessity for, and amount of, state funding for IVF. At a conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology held in Prague, Professor Bill Ledger, of the University of Sheffield gives an argument for considering the return on investment (ROI) for the state. The argument goes that NHS will spend 13,000 pounds on average for every live birth through IVF. But over its lifetime that IVF baby will contribute a net 147,138 pounds in taxes, and will have paid for itself by age 31. And that does not take into consideration wealth created in the private sector. An additional consideration for the UK is the aging of the population and need for more young people to enter the economy.

I found this concept of IVF ROI interesting and sort of amusing. For the people who want a baby this is the farthest thing from their minds. Indeed, they have enormous expenses to look forward to in raising the child if IVF is successful for them. But from the point of view of the state every birth is a good birth, as long as it means a contribution to the tax base. In some places that might not be the case if the prospects for employment aren't so good.


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