BACKGROUND: Approximately 1 in 7 couples experience subfertility, many of whom have lifestyles that negatively affect fertility, such as poor nutrition, low physical activity, obesity, smoking, or alcohol consumption. Reducing lifestyle risk factors prior to pregnancy or assisted reproductive technology treatment contributes to the improvement of reproductive health, but cost-implications are unknown. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to evaluate reproductive, maternal pregnancy, and birth outcomes, as well as the costs of pre-conception lifestyle intervention programs in subfertile couples and obese women undergoing assisted reproductive technology. METHODS: Using a hypothetical model based on quantitative parameters from published literature and expert opinion, we evaluated the following lifestyle intervention programs: (1) Smarter Pregnancy, an online tool; (2) LIFEstyle, which provides outpatient support for obese women; (3) concurrent use of both Smarter Pregnancy and LIFEstyle for obese women; (4) smoking cessation in men; and (5) a mindfulness mental health support program using group therapy sessions. The model population was based on data from the Netherlands. RESULTS: All model-based analyses of the lifestyle interventions showed a reduction in the number of in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or intrauterine insemination treatments required to achieve pregnancy and successful birth for couples in the Netherlands. Smarter Pregnancy was modeled to have the largest increase in spontaneous pregnancy rate (13.0%) and the largest absolute reduction in potential assisted reproductive technology treatments. Among obese subfertile women, LIFEstyle was modeled to show a reduction in the occurrence of gestational diabetes, maternal hypertensive pregnancy complications, and preterm births by 4.4%, 3.8%, and 3.0%, respectively, per couple. Modeled cost savings per couple per year were €41 (US $48.66), €360 (US $427.23), €513 (US $608.80), €586 (US $695.43), and €1163 (US $1380.18) for smoking cessation, mindfulness, Smarter Pregnancy, combined Smarter Pregnancy AND LIFEstyle, and LIFEstyle interventions, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Although we modeled the potential impact on reproductive outcomes and costs of fertility treatment rather than collecting real-world data, our model suggests that of the lifestyle interventions for encouraging healthier behaviors, all are likely to be cost effective and appear to have positive effects on reproductive, maternal pregnancy, and birth outcomes. Further real-world data are required to determine the cost-effectiveness of pre-conception lifestyle interventions, including mobile apps and web-based tools that help improve lifestyle, and their effects on reproductive health. We believe that further implementation of the lifestyle app Smarter Pregnancy designed for subfertile couples seeking assistance to become pregnant is likely to be cost-effective and would allow reproductive health outcomes to be collected.

fertility, periconception, pregnancy chance, Smarter Pregnancy, cost-effectiveness, nutrition, obesity, IVF treatment, mobile and web-based lifestyle apps,
JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Steegers-Theunissen, R.P.M, Hoek, A, Groen, H.J.M, Bos, A. (Annelies), van den Dool, G. (Grada), Schoonenberg, M, … Laven, J.S.E. (2020). Pre-Conception Interventions for Subfertile Couples Undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technology Treatment: Modeling Analysis. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 8(11). doi:10.2196/19570