Many people in need of fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization are sometimes hesitant to start the journey. They may worry about the odds of achieving the birth of a healthy child. There are sources, however, that exist strictly for the recording and reporting of the success rates of modern reproductive medicine. The way that fertility centers report their data has recently changed.
How were in vitro fertilization successes reported?
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compile annual reports of in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates for almost every US fertility center. Thru 2013, these reports were accurate in some statistics but flawed in others. The success rates per transfer were accurate, but the success rates per cycle start or per egg retrieval were inaccurate because many successful cycles were counted as failures. For example, any cycle in which the embryos were frozen, and the decision to freeze all embryos was made after the cycle started, were counted as failed fresh embryo cycles.
At many centers, the degree of this downward bias was minor, but our center froze far more embryos than most fertility centers. By 2013, the freezing of all embryos was, by far, our most common treatment.
How has IVF Success Reporting Changed?
For reporting year 2014, SART has tried to remedy this bias by “linking” the thawed embryo transfer cycle to the egg retrieval cycle that produced the embryos, and counting successes or failures based on the first transfer attempt, whether fresh or frozen. This was not an easy transition, but it makes sense and better represents current practice. The CDC plans to follow SART’s lead in the years to come but will report 2014 the old way.
Why does this Change Matter?
The only remaining issue with the new SART report is that it will take one extra year to finalize, and a “preliminary report” is published in the interim. The success rates on the preliminary report continue to be biased low, especially for clinics that freeze most of their embryos. Specifically, when submitting our annual data for reporting year 2014, we were asked to mark cycles for “deferred” reporting if those cycles that we expected to have a live birth with the first transfer in 2015. We deferred many cycles with pregnant patients, but per instructions, we did not defer cycles for which there could be no transfer (e.g. no genetically normal embryos to transfer) or for which the first transfer did not result in a viable, ongoing pregnancy.
In other words, the deferred cycles were mostly successes, and these successes will not be counted at all until the final close out, and will not appear in a SART report until early 2017. At that time, the downward bias in the success rates will be fully addressed.
For more information about our IVF procedures and our success rates, visit our website. We want to give you the most information in order to make you feel more comfortable about the odds in favor of starting your family. Feel free to stop by or call us at (702) 254- 1777 if you have questions or if you are ready to schedule an appointment today.