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Fertility, IVF and Egg Donation
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have both recently released their 2016 IVF success rate reports and published them online. These reports, which are released annually, allow anyone to investigate either IVF or egg donation success rates using fresh or frozen embryos at almost any clinic in the United States.
Federal law requires that all US in vitro fertilization centers submit their data annually so that it can be published for review by people who are considering in vitro fertilization treatments. Almost all clinics report their data to the government although a small percentage refuse to report it. When the federal government passed a law requiring annual submission of the data they probably assumed that doctors would comply and they did not make a specific punishment for not following the law. The fertility clinics that do not report probably do not want the public to see their success rate data. That is not a good signal about their success rates. I suggest staying away from any fertility clinic that does not report their data to the government.
The Society for assisted reproductive technology (SART) is an organization that the majority of fertility programs are members of. However, membership is voluntary and not all clinics are SART members. Therefore, is not required by law to report IVF data to SART but it is required to report to CDC.
The SART and CDC reports are useful tools for potential consumers of in vitro fertilization, egg donation and surrogacy services because they allow comparison of outcomes at different programs. The reports can be utilized to investigate fertility clinics in terms of their success rates, multiple pregnancy rates, treatment volumes within different age groups and within different treatment options such as using own eggs, using fresh donor eggs or using frozen donor eggs.
The SART site allows you to pull up individual programs results and you can apply various filters to the data if desired. These filters can be useful. For example, you can put a filter on the data to see only those cycles that used PGD or PGS preimplantation genetic screening, etc..
Link to SART site
The CDC site allows you to download a spreadsheet with every program’s data. This could be a somewhat overwhelming method to use – depending on how much familiarity one has with spreadsheets. Also, unfortunately the column headings in the spreadsheet are not intuitive so you need to use the “Clinic Table Dictionary” to find out what the column headings in the sheet mean. Otherwise, most of them will not make sense.
Link to CDC site
However, the spreadsheet format is powerful in that it allows a convenient way of sorting the data to list clinics in order. For example, you could choose to sort on “live birth rate per embryo transfer”, or “live birth rate per cycle”, etc.. With 463 clinics’ data in one spreadsheet it is big – but it could be cut down to the local clinics that someone might want to compare, for example.
Consumers of in vitro fertilization, egg donation, and surrogacy services should utilize these reports before choosing a clinic so they know how successful that program is as compared to other options. People that live in larger cities will usually have several fertility clinics nearby as an option to go to.
Obviously, some people might only have one fertility clinic within a hundred miles of their home. In such a case it may not be as important to compare success rates. However, some couples will travel to another state to have the IVF or egg donation services performed. We have many couples every year that travel from distant states and even from other countries to have their fertility treatments with us.
We are proud that our success rates for 2016 are well above national averages. Our success rates have been higher than average every year for the past 20 years in a row. Superior quality control throughout the entire program is the main factor allowing some clinics to have success rates substantially above average. On the other hand, poor quality control will drag success rates down. Common quality control issues involve problems with ovarian stimulation regimens, the IVF procedures (egg retrieval and embryo transfer) and the laboratory embryo culture systems.
The CDC spreadsheet does not show national averages and so that data cannot readily be compared to this CDC report national averages. Later in the year, the CDC puts out another report for the same year of data which is more comprehensive and includes charts that drill down into certain aspects of the data and also includes national averages. However, that part of the report has not yet been released by the CDC. Below are some charts utilizing the SART data on national averages and our program’s SART data showing comparisons.
There is also a page on our website that discusses how to utilize and understand the SART and CDC report data.
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.
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