The willingness to pay for in vitro fertilization-related information and its attributes: a cross-sectional study in Israel

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Market failure is defined by the departure from a Pareto-optimal equilibrium, in which no individuals could be made better off without making some other individual or individuals’ worse off. In health care there are many causes of market failure which weaken the efficiency of the health management system. Among these are incomplete information and information asymmetry between information providers and consumers. There is scant extant literature on the empirical valuation of health related information. The objective of this study is to measure the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment-related information and its attributes, and to analyse the factors affecting WTP, because of the apparent problems in providing information and the absence of specific guidelines for Israeli health care providers regarding IVF-related information, caused by limited time and resources, making it difficult for medical providers to interact adequately with IVF patients. There is a need for changes in government and health care policy in order to deal with these market failures. The study employed contingent valuation (CV) using the WTP technique as the method of economic evaluation. This method shows stated individual preferences as derived from direct responses to hypothetical questions. The empirical results are based on surveys of two Israeli population groups: patients undergoing IVF treatments in public health units and the general public. IVF patients and the general public value IVF-related information and reveal a positive WTP for it. The average WTP for IVF-related information amongst IVF patients is US$437.02, whereas for the general public it is US$546.56. In the Israeli health market, IVF-related information is not fully circulated by providers to their patients, although this information is valued by IVF patients and the general public. The market and policy failures present in the health care market in Israel should be addressed. The failure of the Israeli health care market to supply adequate IVF-related information constitutes the basis for rationalizing government intervention in market allocations of health goods and services. Administrators must recognize the necessity of providing information with respect to treatment options, treatment cycle success rates, possible side effects, clinical processes treatment costs, etc., since it is an important factor in the individual’s utility function. Government intervention should include direct and indirect regulations. The study addresses some of the biases commonly associated with CV methodology—the existence of embedding effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-83
Number of pages28
JournalHealth Services and Outcomes Research Methodology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Contingent valuation (CV)
  • Embedding effects
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Information valuation
  • Willingness-to-pay (WTP)


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