Fertility Success Rates
IVF statistics and how to choose your fertility center
At the Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine (FIRM), we are fortunate to have an exceptional team of experienced doctors and scientists with access to a world-class, state-of-the-ART (assisted reproductive technologies) laboratory where collaborative efforts have helped build many families.
Our physicians provide years of experience and clinical expertise. Our laboratory director, Dr. Meintjes, has more than 25 years of experience in reproductive physiology and embryo biotechnology and has applied this knowledge over the years to the benefit of many patients. Dr. Meintjes is frequently invited to speak in countries around the world to assist clinics in developing better laboratory techniques and quality management that will enable them to improve their own embryo culture conditions and improve the chances of pregnancy for their patients.
FIRM has some of the best IVF success rates in the United States. As required by law, we report our rates annually to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and these results are also made available to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART). You can view our most recent success report below.
The truth about IVF success rates
IVF success rates can be easily manipulated to enhance a particular program’s public image and are often confusing and misleading. Therefore, non-validated IVF statistics provide little meaningful guidance for a patient hoping to achieve a pregnancy with IVF. Statisticians and experts in reproductive technology have acknowledged this, but the public does not generally understand the disparities frequently observed in non-validated statistics. For this reason, patients should only trust data as reported by the CDC or SART that has been verified and reported in a standard format that allows for meaningful comparisons.
Even with this said, it is important to realize that success rates are population statistics, meaning they reflect data from a select population or group of people. A patient treated with IVF is not a percentage statistic, because when all is said and done she will be 100 percent pregnant or 100 percent not pregnant. Each couple is unique with a distinct medical history that affects their chances of having a baby.
Often, the difference between a program with excellent statistics and one with good statistics is in the prognosis mix of patients who present for treatment, and in the clinic’s criteria for who they will allow to try IVF. Program statistics can be enhanced by excluding or even wait-listing individuals who have had previous failed cycles, are of advanced maternal age, or are poor responders. Furthermore, statistics can be improved by encouraging IVF early on for younger, good-prognosis patients.
When comparing pregnancy rates, one should emphasize singleton live births rather than pregnancies or overall births, as singleton births are the strongest link with a healthy baby – the ultimate goal of infertility treatment. Implantation rate (the chance of each embryo transferred to implant) is also a good parameter to look at, as the transfer of multiple embryos may initially result in higher pregnancy rates, albeit with more complications, due to multiple pregnancies and fewer healthy live births because of a high rate of premature deliveries.
FIRM’s approach to IVF
At the Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine, we are confident in our high-quality clinical and excellent laboratory capabilities. Our goal is to help as many couples as possible achieve the dream of a healthy baby.
Consequently, we should offer treatment to a patient with all the tools at our disposal, even if that patient does not necessarily have the highest chance to achieve success. As long as patients have a realistic and true expectation of their chances, we are obligated to offer them an opportunity. Therefore, we do not exclude patients from treatment for fear of affecting our statistics.
We consider it our responsibility to fully inform the couple of their prognosis, based on the clinical information and experience that we have, and then allow the patient to decide to pursue treatment or not. We “never say never.” Remarkably, sometimes the couple with a very poor prognosis ends up achieving a successful pregnancy.
Sometimes, the medical, financial and psychological risks associated with IVF far outweigh the possibility of a successful outcome. When treatment is objectively futile, it is our responsibility to discourage further treatment and to encourage the couple to move on to the next step, such as embryo donation or the use of donor eggs if appropriate.
Elective single embryo transfer (eSET)
The Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine emphasizes elective single embryo transfer (eSET), which is when, by choice, only one embryo is placed in the womb at a time. A twin pregnancy is extremely risky with approximately 50 percent of twin pregnancies resulting in the premature birth of the babies. Premature birth is a leading cause of still births, cerebral palsy, lower birth weight and developmental problems, such as malformations, poor eyesight and even learning disabilities.
With the improved culture techniques and cutting-edge technology at the Institute, pregnancy rates after the initial transfer of one fresh embryo, and the later transfer of one frozen, are significantly higher compared with transferring two fresh embryos at the same time. Furthermore, when transferring only one embryo, the chance for an uncomplicated pregnancy and the resultant birth of a healthy baby is increased significantly.
Choosing your fertility center
So how does one choose a fertility center? Because of the inherent issues with comparing programs based simply on success rates, a better approach might be to take the following steps:
- Make sure that you are comfortable with and trust your physician. The treatment of infertility is stressful, emotionally demanding and a successful outcome is usually the end-result of a journey together.
- Interview with more than one program during your initial consult.
- Verify that your infertility treatment team has the experience and track record. An accredited IVF laboratory and nationally reported data are good places to start.
- Ensure that your physician and infertility-treatment team spend personal time with you. Each couple is unique and individualized treatment is essential to ensure a successful outcome.
- A personal recommendation from a friend or another patient is invaluable.
- Do not allow your healthcare plan to choose your doctor or treatment facility. Fight for your right to choose and insist on alternatives. Insurance companies frequently encourage infertility treatments at the facility with the best contracts for them. Undergoing treatment at some of these facilities may invariably result in lower success rates due to a lack of resources and cutting-edge technology. Cheaper is not better when it comes to your infertility treatment.
- Avoid obvious economic bargains, shared risk programs and gimmicks.