169037 Access to fertility preservation for cancer patients

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jessica E. Jacobs, MPH , Fertile Hope, New York, NY
Lindsay Nohr Beck, BA , Fertile Hope, New York, NY
Haley Justice, MPH , Public Health, Lance Armstrong Foundation, Austin, TX
Joyce Reinecke, JD , Fertile Hope, New York, NY
Sharing Hope is the only national fertility preservation financial assistance program for cancer patients. Cost of preservation can be prohibitive due to timing, lack of insurance coverage, and cost of cancer treatments. The goal of Sharing Hope is to increase access to embryo/egg and sperm freezing. This evaluation will determine geographic and financial impact of the program.

Participating centers provide reduced fee freezing services. In addition, a pharmaceutical company donates medications for one IVF cycle for women.

From September 2004 through September 2007, 374 patients were approved. Between Year 1 and Year 3, approved patients grew by 239%. Participants resided in 33 different states: majority from New York (19%), California (17%), and Texas (11%). Average savings per female was $3,019 for embryo freezing and $1,942 for egg freezing. Using wholesale acquisition cost of the fertility medications, which may not be representative of actual purchase price, each approved female patient may have saved an additional $3,778. Average savings per male was $452 for sperm freezing.

The growth of Sharing Hope demonstrates high demand for financial assistance for fertility preservation. Approval of patients across the country shows the national impact of the program. As more oncology healthcare professionals refer patients to Sharing Hope and as more centers join on, the program will continue to grow. The total savings for the program was approximately $1,211,141. Cost savings for patients compared to the full price are significant. The ability to access fertility preservation has the potential to increase survivors' quality of life.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the burden of cancer-related infertility. 2. Identify the need for financial assistance for fertility preservation. 3. Analyze the value of non-profit/for-profit collaboration for financial assistance programs.

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: have provided educational information and support to people affected by cancer for more than 3 years, have authored/presented on the aftereffects of cancer treatment and have served as project manager for the partnership between Fertile Hope and the Lance Armstrong Foundation for 3 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.