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Health Highlights: Oct. 17, 2007

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Egg Freezing Shouldn't Be Offered to Healthy Women, Experts Say

Egg freezing shouldn't be marketed or offered to healthy women who want to delay having children until later in life, says a joint statement issued Tuesday by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies.

The statement said the procedure is still too experimental and healthy women seeking egg freezing should receive counseling that clearly explains the many downsides of the procedure, including the fact that only two to four percent of frozen eggs produce a live birth, theCanadian Pressreported.

Experts are worried that healthy women who want to freeze eggs so they can have children later in life may not have an accurate idea of the low success rates, said Dr. Marc Fritz, chair of the committee that prepared the policy statement.

He also noted that the science of egg freezing is still new and little is known about whether babies born from frozen eggs are healthy, both at birth and over the long term, theCPreported.

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Average Cost of Having a Baby in U.S. now $7,600

The average cost of having a baby in the United States has now topped $7,600, according to the latestNews and Numberssummary from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The cost, in 2004 dollars, includes payments for prenatal office visits, prescription medicines, hospital childbirth, and other services.

Among the other findings in the summary:

Women with private insurance and those with Medicaid had about the same average costs ($2,000) for prenatal care. However, inpatient delivery costs for those with private insurance averaged $6,520, compared with $4,577 for those on Medicaid.Privately insured women paid about eight percent of their total expenses out of pocket (about $600 for a woman with an average level of expenses), while women on Medicaid paid about one percent out of pocket. About 23 percent of all women had some prescription drug expenses associated with their pregnancy. The median amount of the expenses was $640. About three-quarters of all prescription drug expenses were for nutritional products such as prenatal vitamins.


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