HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than seven million women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 have used infertility services.1 Many couples require advanced treatment for infertility and turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF). While IVF can help these couples, there is no guarantee of success. Some IVF methods increase the chances of multiple births and associated health risks.
To improve couples’ chances at conception and increase safety for moms and babies, Aetna (NYSE: AET) created an Institutes of Excellence® (IOE) network for infertility services. The health care facilities in Aetna’s IOE networks provide specialized clinical services for complex or rare conditions. The clinics in the IOE for infertility services have demonstrated infertility care expertise and safety. Aetna selected clinics for the IOE based on clinical information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as Aetna’s own claims information.
“Infertility services are extremely personal and are often complex. We are helping to create better outcomes for many families dealing with infertility by recognizing clinics that meet high medical standards and have a successful record of treatment,” says James D. Cross, M.D., head of National Medical Policy and Operations at Aetna. “With this new network, women have access to doctors and clinics that can improve their chances for healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.”
Members whose plans include benefits for infertility will not only have access to some of the top-performing infertility clinics through the IOE network, but they also will have access to the National Infertility Unit (NIU), a dedicated clinical team from Aetna. The team includes a full-time medical director and nurse consultants who have extensive experience with infertility care. Aetna’s clinical team works closely with the selected infertility clinics to help coordinate all of the member's clinical care. Aetna members can find IOE network clinics through Aetna’s DocFind® online provider directory or through their Aetna care team.
Promoting Safer Pregnancies
All clinics in Aetna’s IOE network for infertility services offer Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET). Research shows that transferring one embryo at a time results in dramatically lower rates of twins and multiple babies.
“Starting with the eSET method of embryo transfers may be a good option for women who are under 35 and have not failed an IVF cycle,” says Joanne Armstrong, M.D., an Ob-Gyn, senior medical director and head of Women's Health at Aetna. “This approach strikes the right balance between success and safety, giving women the opportunity to have a family while also reducing the risk of multiple babies.”
Carrying multiple babies brings greater health risks for both mother and her babies, including:
- Increased chances of premature birth and C-section delivery
- Higher rates of admission to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU)
- More medical care needed in the first year of life and beyond
Two cycles using single embryo transfer - one fresh and one frozen – results in similar rates of successful births as a traditional cycle using two or more embryos. However, the number of multiple births is reduced with the eSET approach. Aetna members who try eSET but are unsuccessful may choose an additional frozen embryo cycle using a single embryo. The procedure will be covered by Aetna and will not count against the member’s IVF benefit limit. Aetna included this eSET benefit in all fully-insured plans with IVF coverage. Self-insured plan sponsors have the option to offer this benefit to their covered employees as well.
Information for Patients and Families
Aetna also provides information to members to help them make informed decisions on infertility services. Aetna funded a video series developed in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that provides actionable information about conception and infertility treatment. The videos provide critical, evidence-based information regarding:
- Wellness and preconception tips
- Clinical outcomes for infertility care providers compiled by the CDC
- Benefits of eSET
- Questions patients can discuss with their doctors
The videos are available online at aetnainfertilitycare.com.
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services and health information technology services. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.