Trying to have a baby through assisted reproductive technology (ART) requires a significant investment of time, money, emotion and effort.
Some factors are related to the patients themselves, such as their age, egg supply and the cause of their infertility.
Other factors are related to the training and experience of the ART clinic and laboratory professionals, the quality of services they provide and specialization in various treatments that attract particular types of patients.
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) has developed the SART IVF Predictor Calculator which uses a mathematical model to predict an individual patient’s success outcomes.
You simply input your age, cause of infertility, height, body weight, and egg supply as measured by a blood test called an AMH. This calculator will give you the likelihood of your having a baby over one or more cycles of treatment.
Publicly available data about fertility clinic success rates is inherently complex, and attempting to simplify the data may not tell patients the true story of their own likelihood of success at any given clinic. Therefore, comparing one clinic’s success rates to another won’t provide a true “apples to apples” comparison.
In addition to actual live births, there are many factors that can increase or decrease a clinic’s success rates, such as:
Willingness to accept patients with a low chance of success. A clinic can decide not to accept poor prognosis patients, artificially inflating their live birth success rate. At CARE Fertility, we feel ethically compelled to counsel our patients about their success outcome, and no matter what the prognosis, let them decide if they want to go ahead with treatment.
Participation in clinical trials. CARE Fertility actively participates in pharmaceutical sponsored trials of investigational new drugs for IVF despite the risk of a lower chance of success. We do this so patients can have treatment that they otherwise may not be able to afford.
When a clinic decides whether or not to report a cycle. Some clinics wait to see how a patient responds and don’t report the cycle until they know it’s going well. CARE Fertility believes reporting should start when the patient begins treatment, before knowing whether the cycle is going well or poorly. This commitment to very high prospective reporting earned us the Platinum designation from the quality assurance and validation committees at SART.
Risk of multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, or greater). Some clinics transfer more embryos at once to improve their chance of success per transfer, but that also increases the chance of high-risk multiple pregnancies. CARE Fertility is proactive in limiting the numbers of embryos transferred, and therefore has a low multiple pregnancy risk. Although transferring fewer embryos at once may lead to a lower chance of pregnancy in the initial cycle, this strategy allows for more embryos to be cryopreserved (frozen) and transferred later. At CARE Fertility, we pride ourselves on the high number of pregnancies achieved with cryopreservation.
SART designates certain clinics as having Gold or Platinum status for meeting certain Quality Assurance metrics.
Even the most unbiased reports and statistics will not necessarily reflect your chance of pregnancy. Your physician can best estimate your chances of success after talking with you and learning about your medical history.
For more information on the complexity of reported data and predicting outcomes, see “Public reporting of assisted reproductive technology cycle outcomes is not simple,” by Dr. Kevin Doody, published in Fertility and Sterility, the official journal from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).