Patients choosing an IVF clinic often turn to fertility clinic IVF success rates published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART). But with rapid changes in IVF practices, patients have to be wary of fertility clinic success data, warns Rhonda Levy, Founder and CEO of consulting firm Empowered IVF™ in her Fertility Authority blog, "It is Virtually Impossible to Interpret Fertility Clinic Success Rates."
Levy notes that fertility clinic IVF success rate data has always proved to be a “double-edged sword.” Though patients benefit from having some benchmark by which to select a fertility clinic, “competition for patients has motivated some clinics to engage in practices that put a positive spin on their IVF success rates to attract market share, such as denying IVF to poor prognosis patients,” writes Levy. And now, advancements in IVF treatment—in particular, the use of embryo banking and pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS)—make fertility clinic IVF success rate data even harder to interpret, she writes.
Why is that? Take embryo banking, a process by which a woman who doesn’t produce many eggs per cycle undergoes multiple ovarian stimulation cycles to produce and bank enough frozen embryos for PGS, which is a procedure that screens embryos for aneuploidy and other chromosomal abnormalities. SART reporting does not show the IVF stimulation cycles performed to produce eggs for embryo banking when reporting IVF success rates. Since patients who pursue embryo banking usually have lower prospects, this reporting method can make a clinic’s success rate look better, notes Levy. Meanwhile, clinics that avoid PGS, in part because of its high cost to consumers, may end up reporting lower success rates. Though the American Society for Reproductive Medicine is discussing new clinic success rate reporting criteria to reflect current practices, the proposed changes also raise many similar questions, writes Levy.
Given today’s unclear fertility clinic success rate data, patients may want to gauge their potential IVF success without depending on just the SART or CDC data. Univfy® IVF Prediction Tests* provide patients with their personalized chance of IVF success based on their unique reproductive profiles. Univfy IVF Prediction Tests take into account factors in addition to age, such as your ovarian reserve, body mass index (BMI), and medical and fertility history, to give your personalized results. Although it’s useful for patients to look at fertility clinic IVF success rates, the first step is to know your personalized probability for IVF success, and then to use this information to make the most out of your fertility consultation when choosing your IVF clinic.
To read Rhonda Levy’s article, please click here.