Q: Who determines the “Success Rates” of a Fertility Clinic?
By federal law, all certified IVF laboratories are required to submit IVF success rate data on an annual basis to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC publishes IVF success rates for individual clinics that are members of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) as well non-member clinics or providers.
Q: Why is the CDC report three years old and SART is two years old?
Before the success rates based on live births can be calculated, every ART pregnancy must be followed up on to determine if a live birth occurred. Therefore the soonest that clinics can report is the year AFTER the ART treatment was initiated. Based upon this, the cycles performed in 2009 could not be reported until October 2010. From there each fertility center enters their data for the CDC, the data is compiled and the analysts conduct comprehensive investigations into the numbers reported by every clinic. The CDC reviews the reports and then they are submitted for printing and published. SART data is not verified by a third party agency which is why it can be released sooner.
Q: Is every clinic included in this report?
Roughly 441 fertility clinics that provided information that could be verified are included in the report. However some clinics are not represented as they were not in business in 2009 or they did not report as required.
Q: How are fertility center success rates verified?
Clinics must submit their data for analysis and clinics’ medical directors must verify by signature that the tabulated success rates are accurate. Then an independent statistical survey research organization, Westat, conducts an in-house review and contacts the clinics if corrections are necessary. Once the data is verified, a quality control process called validation begins. A selection of clinics are visited by a Westat Validation Team to review medical data of a sample of the of the clinics’ ART cycles. The submitted data is compared to the data on-site for consistency. Validation helps ensure that clinics are submitting accurate information and to help identify any systemic problems that could cause the data collection to be inconsistent or incomplete. CDC staff members participate as observers in some of the visits.
Q: Why are the statistics in the CDC report different from those published by SART?
- Some of the reporting clinics are not SART members and are not counted in the SART data
- Clinics missing the CDC data deadline but being included in the SART report
- Different statical methods applied to the data by SART
Note: A comparison of clinical success rates may not be meaningful because patient medical characteristics and treatment approaches vary from clinic to clinic.