To evaluate the relationship between competition among fertility clinics and assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment outcomes, particularly multiple births.
Using clinic-level data from 1995 to 2001, we examined the relationship between competition and clinic-level ART outcomes and practice patterns.
National database registry.
Clinics performing ART.
The number of clinics within a 20-mile (32.19-km) radius of a given clinic.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):
Clinic-level births, singleton births, and multiple births per ART cycle; multiple births per ART birth; average number of embryos transferred per cycle; and the proportion of cycles for women under age 35 years.
The number of competing clinics is not strongly associated with ART birth and multiple birth rates. Relative to clinics with no competitors, the rate of multiple births per cycle is lower (-0.03 percentage points) only for clinics with more than 15 competitors. Embryo transfer practices are not statistically significantly associated with the number of competitors. Clinic-level competition is strongly associated with patient mix. The proportion of cycles for patients under 35 years old is 6.4 percentage points lower for clinics with more than 15 competitors than for those with no competitors.
Competition among fertility clinics does not appear to increase rates of multiple births from ART by promoting more aggressive embryo transfer decisions.