In order to realize your dream of becoming a parent, you may have to enlist the help of a fertility doctor. Don’t just head to the nearest clinic, though. You should perform thorough research so you know a doctor’s rate of success before you make a commitment. Here are a few statistics you need to pay attention to.
Live Birth Rate/Transfer
This is perhaps the single most important statistic to look at if you’re considering in-vitro fertilization (IVF). This indicates the percentage of live births that resulted from embryo transfers. You may hear it said that a clinic should have at least an 80 percent success rate, but that is an exaggeration. Even the best fertility clinics have a rate that hovers around 70 percent.
Be sure to pay attention to not only the percentage of live births, but also the total number of transfers the clinic has performed. A 70 percent success rate for a clinic that has performed only a hundred transfers is not necessarily more impressive than a 65 percent success rate for a clinic that has performed over a thousand transfers.
Also look for information on the ages of a clinic’s past patients. Success rates tend to be higher for women under 35. If you are past that age, look at live birth rates for women in your age group.
This statistic indicates the average number of embryos that are transferred during a cycle. Transferring multiple embryos at a time can increase a clinic’s pregnancy rate, but caution is in order. More pregnancies for a clinic does not necessarily mean more live births. The goal with any fertility treatment is to deliver a single, full-term healthy baby.
Some clinics in Europe have stopped transferring multiple embryos altogether because transferring more than one increases the odds of multiple births, which are harder on mothers and make it more difficult for a pregnancy to go to full-term.
The average embryo/transfer rate for most clinics in the U.S. is between one and two.
Fresh Cycles and Banking Cycles
Look for data on the number of fresh cycle transfers and banking cycle transfers for a clinic. Fresh cycle transfers use an embryo that was recently created, whereas banking cycle transfers use a frozen embryo. The type of transfer that is right for you will depend on your personal circumstances. In general, fresh transfers have a higher success rate than frozen ones, so if a clinic has performed substantially more frozen transfers than fresh ones, this could skew the overall live birth rate.
IUI Success Rate
If you are not yet ready to try IVF, look at a clinic’s statistics for other types of fertility treatments. Intrauterine insemination (IUI), for example, is another common method women use to get pregnant. If you’re considering trying it before you move onto IVF, keep in mind that the national average success rate for live births with IUI is 43 percent. Any clinic with a higher number may be worthy of your trust.
Choosing a doctor to help you become pregnant is a big decision. Do your research beforehand, so you can settle on a doctor who stands out from the pack.