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Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago

Fertility, IVF and Egg Donation

IVF Success Rates and Excuses Fertility Clinics Use for their Low Pregnancy Rates

by on Jun.28, 2009, under IVF Clinic Success Rates

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Couples with infertility often need IVF to get pregnant.What should they know about IVF clinic success rates?

  • An interesting and unusual aspect of IVF is that there is a definitive outcome for each procedure.
  • When an IVF cycle is done there is a baby born from it – or there is not. Therefore, keeping track of (and comparing) IVF live birth success rates is very straightforward.
  • Medical treatments in general rarely have such “black and white” outcomes.
  • Another unique aspect of IVF is that (in the US) all IVF clinics are required by federal law to report their in vitro fertilization success rates annually to the government. The CDC, a US government agency produces a report called the “Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report” detailing IVF success rates for all individual clinics.
  • This report is commonly called the CDC IVF success rate report. It is released to the public on the web every year (usually in December or January).
  • Another useful report, the SART report (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology), is very similar to the CDC report – and it is released about a year earlier. However, clinics are not required by law to report to SART – so some clinics are not listed there.
  • These 2 annual reports allow consumers to view and compare IVF success rates for reputable fertility clinics.

Common excuses used by fertility clinics with low success rates:

  • “We take a lot of very difficult cases that clinics with high success rates turn away”
  • “We take women with high FSH levels that will have low IVF success rates”
  • “We have a high percentage of cases that have failed IVF multiple times”

What is wrong with these excuses?

  • Few fertility clinics would turn away a significant number of couples because they are “difficult” cases with a low chance for success. Couples with fertility issues are savvy and would complain to their OB/GYN doctor, to their friends, etc.  The word would get out, and it would damage the clinic’s reputation.
  • Also, most docs in this field believe in doing their best for every couple – regardless of their FSH level, etc. The goal is not to artificially “pump up” their own clinic’s success rates by excluding difficult cases.
  • Patients that fail IVF and realize they have more significant fertility issues are the ones most likely to do internet research and compare IVF success rates.
  • After failing IVF and then comparing success rates of numerous clinics, they are unlikely to choose a clinic with below average success rates for their next IVF cycle.
  • The more IVF failures, the more motivation to seek a clinic with better success rates, even if it requires more travel.

Learn about what to do after failing an IVF cycle

2008 IVF success rates

Why do some IVF clinics have higher success rates?

  • Why do some restaurants serve better food than others?
  • Why are some models of cars more reliable than others?
  • Because the work is done with precision and high quality control standards.  
  • Expert and precise maintenance of quality control during the ovarian stimulation process, in the IVF laboratory, and during embryo transfer will maximize IVF success.
  • We can’t do much (just good ovarian stimulation) to change the raw materials (eggs and sperm).
  • However, we can work hard to expertly culture, select and transfer the best embryos.
  • There are not any secrets involved in high quality IVF.
  • It is not about patient selection.
  • Some clinics work harder – and do better at getting it right.

How to improve success rates of IVF?

  • Utilize the excellent resources on the CDC and SART websites.
    • Study in vitro fertilization success rates for fertility clinics in your area.
  • You probably will have a better chance for success at a clinic with a high success rate.
  • _______________________________________________________________________________

A comparison of clinic success rates may not be meaningful because patient medical characteristics, treatment approaches and entrance criteria for ART may vary from clinic to clinic.
Richard Sherbahn MD

Richard Sherbahn, MD is a fertility doctor practicing in the Chicago, Illinois area. Connect with me on Google+

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Welcome to the
Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago

Richard Sherbahn, MD is a Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist.

Dr. Sherbahn founded the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago in 1997.

He will post regularly about fertility issues.

Dr. Richard Sherbahn
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