Presentation Authors: Jonathan A Seaman*, Omaha, NE, James M Dupree, Ann Arbor, MI, Christopher M. Deibert, Omaha, NE
Introduction: Health care prices are often opaque to both providers and patients, while prices of non-health care services are displayed prominently across the internet. It can be very difficult to find health care prices online. Male infertility care is rarely covered by insurance so providers often develop cash prices to assist their patients. The transparency of these prices to patients is unknown. Herein, we describe what patients can find when searching for male fertility health care prices online.
Methods: Membership of the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction and Society for Male Reproduction and Urology were searched to identify US based clinical providers. We then used Google search engine (location = Omaha, NE) to search the Internet for websites associated with these clinical providers and extracted data including practice type, infertility services provided, associated surgical prices, and success rates. Specifically, websites were reviewed for information on any infertility care, vasectomy, vasectomy reversal, varicocele, sperm retrieval, or microTESE.
Results: 132 infertility providers were identified and 119 websites were reviewed. 43% (n=51) are in private practice. 9% (n=11) have personal, not institutional websites. Most sites include: whether provider offers male infertility care (83%), vasectomy reversal (68%) or vasectomy (66%). Sperm retrieval or microTESE are infrequently described (39% and 21%). 89% of sites contain no price information for male fertility care. Of those that do, mean vasectomy reversal costs were $7,500 (range $5,000 to $12,500) and vasectomy were $1,235 (range $590 to %2,500). Success rates are most frequently described for vasectomy reversal (22%).
Conclusions: Prices and success rates for male fertility care are uncommonly listed on websites for US male fertility providers. Reasons for this may include institutional requirements that prevent publishing the costs or provider preferences. Until more fertility services are included in health insurance coverage, transparent pricing and success rates assist patients in decision making regarding their fertility care.
Source of Funding: none, though JMD receives grant support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.