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Effects of Increased Access to Infertility Treatment on Infant and Child Health Outcomes: Evidence from Health Insurance Mandate

  • Marianne P. Bitler

This paper examines the association between use of infertility treatment and infant and child health outcomes. Infertility treatment makes conception possible for many couples who otherwise would have been unable to reproduce. Many treatments also increase the chance of having a multiple birth, typically a more risky pregnancy. State insurance mandates compelling insurers to cover or offer to cover infertility treatment induce variation across states over time in access to subsidized infertility treatment. Using birth certificate data, this paper finds the infertility mandates are associated with a statistically significant 10 percent increase in twin births among older mothers. Twin pregnancies are typically more dangerous (and costly) than singleton pregnancies. Thus, even if the only effect of the mandates is to increase twin births, they have likely had a negative effect on infant health. For twins born to older mothers, the mandates are also associated with small but statistically significant negative effects on birth weight, gestation, and the 5-minute Apgar score. Effects for singletons born to older mothers are smaller in magnitude but still negative. Using Census data, the paper finds more mixed evidence about longer term effects of the mandates on child health. The findings for twin birth outcomes suggest that positive effects of investment by older mothers in their pregnancies are outweighed by negative impacts of either the infertility treatments themselves or by the selection into pregnancy of women with reduced fecundity.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/2006/RAND_WR330.pdf
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Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 330.

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Length: 76 pages
Date of creation: May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:330
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  1. John J. Donohue, III & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Further Evidence that Legalized Abortion Lowered Crime: A Reply to Joyce," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  2. Donohue, John J. & Levitt, Steven D., 2000. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt00p599hk, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  3. Ted Joyce, 2004. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  4. Schmidt Lucie, 2005. "Effects of Infertility Insurance Mandates on Fertility," Labor and Demography 0511014, EconWPA.
  5. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine, 2007. "Abortion Legalization and Life-Cycle Fertility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
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  9. Michael Grossman & Theodore J. Joyce, 1991. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birthweight Production Functions in New York City," NBER Working Papers 2746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Abortion Legalization And Child Living Circumstances: Who Is The ''Marginal Child''?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 263-291, February.
  11. Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 177-83, May.
  12. Rosemary Hyson & Janet Currie, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 245-250, May.
  13. Cutler David M. & Meara Ellen, 2000. "The Technology of Birth: Is It Worth It?," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-37, January.
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