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What are your chances of success with fertility treatments?
Many fertility clinics offer their fertility success rates to patients looking for this type of treatments. Any patient would choose the clinic with the highest numbers, but are you sure you know how to read those numbers? What does 80% success rate with IVF really means? Are you looking at the clinic's success rates overall or at those related to a specific age or maybe procedure or maybe the number of healthy babies born?
As you can see there are many questions that you should ask to be sure that you completely understand what the given numbers really show. Before comparing success rates make sure that the numbers have been verified by an independent association or organization such as the The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority in the UK or the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology in the US.
What are the success rates?
Overall, success rates show the number of treatments carried out by the clinic in a particular year and the number of pregnancies or live births that were born as a result. Some of the more popular ways to measure success rates are live birth rates or clinical pregnancy per treatment cycles, per implantation rate, per egg collected or per embryo transfer.
Live birth data refers to the number of live births resulted after the fertility procedures. Unfortunately collection of this type of data is quite slow, as all live births have to be followed up and registered. The numbers of live birth reflect several factors, such as the number of eggs transferred, fertilization rates, the success of the embryo transfer technique and the quality of embryos.
A pregnancy is considered clinical in about 7 weeks when the heart of the fetus can be seen at the ultra sound. The clinical pregnancy success rate offers more recent data from the fertility clinic compared to the live birth data. But, this data does not also show how many of these clinical pregnancies resulted in live births.
This type of data shows the number of the cycles for hormonal stimulation of the ovaries that have been started, without considering whether these cycles were cancelled before the egg retrieval.
This data refers to the number of egg collections performed, and also include the women for whom the eggs were collected but the embryo transfer has not been done.
These numbers include all embryo transfers performed (both fresh and frozen), without including the embryo transfer cancellations. You should know that these numbers are not always the best to be taken into consideration as some clinics choose to transfer multiple embryos to assure the success of the pregnancy. Transferring for example four embryos at once increases the success rate for conception, but also puts the woman and babies at risk.
Besides this type of data some clinics also provide more in depth statistics such as success rates per infertility treatment, fertility problem or age range.
Comparing success rates per treatment and age
If you already know what fertility treatment or treatments you need, than you can look at the success rates for that specific procedure. Keep in mind that some procedures are easier to perform and with a higher success rate compared to others. For example clinics who perform IVF on younger women, will have better success rates compared with those who have as patients women over 40 years old with one or several miscarriages and a longer period of infertility.
Another example are clinics which have a high IVF success rate, which does mean that the pregnancy was successfully carried to the term. The best thing to do is to ask for data specific to your age, medical condition and treatment you need.
Statistics are not enough, also ask these questions
Sometimes statistics of success rates can be quite vague. What you can do is contact the clinic and ask them specific questions that you have and which will help you know if that respective clinic is what you are looking for or not.
1.What is the fertility success rate for my age?
2. How many cycles do you conduct per year?
3. What is the number of embryos you transfer and what is the chance of multiple birth?
4.What is the success rate for my infertility problem?
Why it is not good to rely solely on the success rate number?
Comparing success rates among clinics is only for your own peace of mind. Thinking that choosing the best fertility clinic out there can help you think positively and this really helps with the final outcome. But you also have to think that those numbers are from other people and they do not guarantee that your procedure will be successful too.
These numbers do not reflect the difference in patients or the fact that maybe the clinics only chose to treat a certain category of patients. Statistics also do not reflect your circumstances and all the factors that could affect your treatment's success.
Comparing success rate should be one of the many other factors that will help you make up your mind upon a certain fertility clinic. Your success also highly depends on the doctor you choose and the procedures he performs. No matter what you decision would be, make sure you do a thorough research upon all aspects before taking a final decision.
PlacidWay can help you find out more about how to choose the best fertility clinic for you, according to your needs.
2015-12-15 / Updated on: 2021-01-08