The valuation of prenatal life in economic evaluations of perinatal interventions.
Simon J., Petrou S., Gray A.
Perinatal interventions delivered during the prenatal period have the potential to directly impact prenatal life. The decision on when to begin 'counting' the life of an infant in the calculus has received little attention in previous economic evaluations of perinatal interventions. We illustrate, using data from a recent trial-based economic evaluation of magnesium sulphate given to women with pre-eclampsia to prevent eclampsia, how different definitions of when human life commences can have a significant impact upon cost-effectiveness estimates based on composite outcome measures such as life years or quality-adjusted life years gained or disability-adjusted life years averted. Further, we suggest ways in which methods in this area can be improved.