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In this chapter, the evidence and use of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) add-ons in the UK is explored. In addition, the stance of professional and regulatory bodies is described. The term ‘add-on’ has been coined to describe the additional ‘extras’ to a routine or intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycle that are commonly offered to those undergoing treatment with the aim of improving livebirth rates. A summary of the highest quality available evidence for the following add-ons is presented: endometrial scratching; time-lapse imaging; assisted hatching; preimplantation genetic testing (PGT-A); endometrial receptivity array; GM-CSF containing culture media; Embryo Glue (hyaluronic acid); artificial egg activation with calcium ionophore; intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection (IMSI); physiological intracytoplasmic sperm injection (PICSI); sperm DNA test; and reproductive immunology procedures. There remains a paucity of evidence to support the routine use of add-ons based on the available randomised controlled trial and systematic review evidence. This is particularly important given that most patients pay additional fees to utilise add-ons. In order for patients to receive high- quality care in IVF clinics, clinicians must be prepared to discuss the relevant evidence regarding efficacy and safety of the specific add-on being considered.
Objective: To assess the impact of endometrial ablation on the utilization of hysterectomy in U.S. women with benign uterine conditions.
Methods: Data are from the State Inpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Databases of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project for six states, 1990–97. Women who underwent hysterectomy (ICD-9-CM codes 68.3, 68.4, 68.5, 68.51, 68.59, 68.9) and endometrial ablation (68.23, 69.29) and had benign uterine conditions (ICD-9-CM code 218.0 and CCS groupings 47, 171, 173, 175, 176, 215) were extracted. Comparative rates, length of stay, total charges, age, payer, hospital, and teaching status of the hospital are reported.
Results: The rates of hysterectomy decreased in three states: Colorado (37% decrease; 33 per 10,000 women in 1990 to 21 per 10,000 in 1997), Maryland (18% decrease; 17/10,000 in 1990 to 14/10,000 in 1997), and New Jersey (11% decrease; 9/10,000 to 8/10,000); were static in two states (Connecticut and New York) and increased in one state, Wisconsin (11% increase; 19/10,000 in 1994 to 21/10,000 in 1997). The rates for endometrial ablation increased in all states. The ratio of hysterectomy rates to endometrial ablation rates fell in each state across the 7 years. In two states (New York and New Jersey) the rate of endometrial ablation was equivalent to the rate of hysterectomies by 1997. The total combined rate for hysterectomy and endometrial ablation for women with benign uterine conditions for each state increased by more than 10%, with the exception of Maryland, which had an increase of only 5%, and Colorado, which had a decline of 23%.
Conclusions: In the six states studied, the diffusion of endometrial ablation has had a varying impact on hysterectomy rates among women with benign uterine conditions. However, endometrial ablation is used as an additive medical technology rather than a substitute.
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