Understanding success rates
How to use IVF success rates to find the right IVF center
The days where IVF laboratories had their top secrets are long gone. Today, IVF has improved pregnancy rates in many ways for the average patient. Over the 30 years since the first IVF baby was born, IVF has improved national pregnancy rates, as reported from all over the world, along with our own success rates.
When you are trying to select an IVF center for your treatment, there are a few things to keep in mind. You should focus on the success of donor cycles, these are the cases with a good prognosis that can tell you more about the efficiency of quality control in the IVF process.
Look at the center’s IVF success rates in their egg donor programs
Pregnancy rates in the egg donor program are typically not influenced by patient selection. If a fertility center has good IVF pregnancy rates in its egg donor program, the center is more likely to have good skills in IVF techniques and processes.
When you ask the center about their pregnancy rates, you should ask them about the pregnancy rates of normal patients and those of the donor cycle separately to decrease the selection bias from those patients with a good prognosis. Some fertility centers might have 90% donor cycles and 10% patient cycles, which can make their success higher than other centers who have only 10% of donor cycles. In order for the success rate to be made quite clear, the donor and the patient cycle outcomes should be calculated separately. The pregnancy rate should be calculated individually according to each woman’s age.
Egg donation programs as a measure of quality. Egg donor cycles are much less affected by IVF centers’ patient selection, because most egg donors are comparable to each other, unlike infertility patients. All IVF centers with anegg donor program recruit donors who are young and have normal ovarian reserve. If all centers are treating a mostly uniform population (egg donors in this case), their outcomes should be a relatively good measure of their skills in IVF. IVF success rates in egg donor cycles, at least to some degree, allow comparisons between IVF centers. A program with excellent egg donor pregnancy rates must be doing something right. Good IVF pregnancy rates cannot be achieved unless the center’s clinical and laboratory divisions function well, and this is reflected in each center’s success in egg donor cycles.
How to calculate IVF success rates
IVF success rates are essentially the pregnancy rates after IVF. There are several ways to calculate IVF success rates, but all IVF success rates are calculated by dividing the number of favorable results (number of live births, for example) by the number of procedures performed (number of embryo transfers, for example). Even in a single IVF center, IVF success rates can vary depending on how the end point is determined, and which procedure is used as a base.
One of the most important determinants of statistical success is the characteristic of the individual couple that is treated. For example, if a fertility clinic excludes or denies treatment for older women, their statistics reflect treatments in a group of patients who are younger than patients of other fertility clinics. Success rates also depend on the willingness of the professional team to work with a couple to reach their goals. Some fertility clinics cancel treatment cycles frequently or move couples into egg donation or surrogacy quickly. These techniques can have a favorable impact on success rates, but may not reflect a shared approach by the clinical team to reach the goals of each couple.
Ask the center how many embryos they usually transfer to the patient and the multiple pregnancy rates If they transfer, on average, more than two embryos and the chance of multiple pregnancy is higher than 50%, this means they transfer more than two embryos to increase success but the chances of complications will also be higher.
IVF cycles that took place in the current calendar year will be released in the national data report two years later to account for births that occur as a result of treatment in that time.
Fertility clinics vary widely in the number of cycles performed, specialty areas and access to advanced techniques and equipment. Not all IVF centers are the same. We recommend having a conversation with your fertility specialist about the best treatment options for your particular case.
Success rate categories and definitions
Donor cycle: female patients who used donor eggs instead of their own.
Female patient aged 35 or less: this category shows the best success rates with IVF because it is composed of the healthiest group of patients.
Female aged 35–37: this category shows favorable success rates but the success rate is lower than that of patients who are 35 years old or younger.
Female aged 38–40: this category has a dramatically decreased success rate because the general ovarian condition is low.
Female aged 41 or more: this category comprises patients with the worst prognosis and with the lowest chance of success because they have limited ovarian reserve.
Implantation rate means the positive hCG is more than 100 mIU/ml 14 days after embryo transfer. This measure is usually of less worth than other parameters.
Clinical pregnancy rate means a positive ultrasound showing that there is evidence of pregnancy with a live baby.
Live birth rate: The percentage of babies born from the total number of IVF cycles. Live birth rate per embryo transfer means the percentage of babies born per embryo transfer.