Economic costs of infertility care for patients in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review protocol

Purity Njagi*, Wim Groot, Jelena Arsenijevic, Silke Dyer, Gitau Mburu, James Kiarie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

5 Citations (Web of Science)


Introduction Infertility, a condition of the reproductive system, affects millions of individuals and couples worldwide. Despite infertility treatment's existence, it is largely unavailable and inaccessible in low/middle-income countries (LMICs) due to the prohibitive costs compounded by an absence of financing. Previous systematic reviews have shown that there is scanty information in LMICs on out-of-pocket (OOP) payments for infertility treatment. This protocol outlines the methodological approach and analytical process to appraise the extent of economic burden due to payments for infertility care services in LMICs. Method and analysis Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses approach, we will primarily search for articles indexed in PubMed, Web of Science, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, EconLit and PsycINFO databases. Grey literature from relevant organisations' virtual libraries shall also be searched. Backward and forward searches on the articles selected will also be done. Quantitative studies on infertility treatment costs from LMICs across the world regions within the last 20 years will be considered. The primary outcome of interest shall include OOP payments, catastrophic health expenditure and direct costs for infertility services. Conversely, informal payments and indirect costs related to infertility treatments shall be considered as secondary outcomes. Integrated quality Criteria for Review Of Multiple Study designs will be used to assess the quality of the studies included in the review. Meta-analysis shall be considered if sufficient studies identified are homogenous in characteristics. Also, the review shall analyse the average cost of infertility treatment against the respective countries' economic indicators like gross domestic product per capita if data permit. Ethics and dissemination Research and ethics approval will not be required given this will be a review of published articles on the subject. The findings shall be disseminated through publication in a peer-reviewed journal and presentation to the WHO and its partners. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020199312.

Original languageEnglish
Article number042951
Number of pages6
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • reproductive medicine
  • subfertility
  • health economics
  • IVF

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