THERE are 55 million American women of childbearing age (15 to 44 years), of whom about 30 million use some form of contraception, including sterilization. Approximately 10% have the opposite problem—difficulty in conceiving—and annually about 1 million couples seek medical advice or treatment for infertility. Each year approximately 6 million women learn that they are pregnant. One fourth of the pregnancies end with an induced abortion, and another 15% of these confirmed conceptions end in miscarriage or stillbirth. Over 3.6 million infants are delivered, of whom about 40,000 die within a year of birth. Nearly all of the infants receive some medical care and a small percentage receive a great deal.
Currently there is considerable controversy about "high-tech" obstetrical methods, costly neonatal intensive care, and other reproduction-related expenditures, but there is little solid information available about these health services from an economic perspective. What fraction of total health care spending
Fuchs VR, Perreault L. Expenditures for Reproduction-Related Health Care. JAMA. 1986;255(1):76-81. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370010082029