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How Important Are IVF Success Rates When Choosing Your Fertility Clinic?

January 21, 2013

It may seem as though success rates are the most influential factor when choosing a fertility clinic. While in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates are important, they are only one part of the bigger picture. The CDC requires fertility clinics to report their data according to specific guidelines, however, success rates can be affected by a number of variables.

John Payne, M.D. of Piedmont Reproductive Endocrinology Group in Asheville, North Carolina says success rates can serve as a starting point to give the patient an idea of the clinic’s areas of expertise, though there are several other aspects to consider. “The CDC and SART data is not meant to be compared clinic to clinic, but that is what patients do. It gives them an idea of the number of transfers, various age groups, donor egg cycles, and live births. It also tells the patient if the lab is technically sound,” he says. To get the most accurate idea of a fertility clinic’s success, Dr. Payne suggests asking about their donor egg success rates. Donors are typically young, healthy women so successful donor egg pregnancies can serve as baseline data where other cycles may have a wide range of diagnoses and variables that impact pregnancy rates.

Because the CDC report takes 3 years to compile, the most up-to-date information on clinic success rates should come directly from the fertility doctors and treatment staff. Factors like age or diagnosis cut offs, number of cycles conducted at the clinic, and number of cancelled cycles could cause success rates to vary.

“Success rates are only as good as what the clinic reports, though the CDC has guidelines for fertility clinics to follow on reporting. You just hope that all of the clinics are being honest. Some clinics might cherry pick a patient based on age or diagnosis. Other clinics will allow the patient to cycle and cancel the patient’s cycle appropriately,” Payne states. For some patients, it is that very opportunity to cycle using their own eggs after they’ve been turned down or unsuccessful with another fertility clinic that helps them choose the fertility clinic that is a better fit for their needs.

Many patients do not have infertility insurance coverage and have limited finances for multiple fertility treatment cycles. It is no surprise, then, that fertility treatment costs rank among the top considerations when choosing a fertility clinic. Patients search for the greatest value with the least expense. In the case of IVF, they look for higher success rates with a lower per-cycle fee and financing options that make sense for their course of treatment, like shared risk plans. Moreover, patients should consider the reputation of the practice, testimonials of former patients, and feeling comfortable with the fertility treatment staff.

When it comes to starting out on the path of infertility treatment, Dr. Payne acknowledges how difficult it can be for a patient to take these factors into consideration and decide among hundreds of fertility clinics across the country.

To alleviate the confusion and make strides toward selecting a fertility clinic, he recommends patients consult a reliable resource for researching fertility clinics: “Fertility Authority is a good resource. The internet is full of information and it is hard to know what’s valid and what’s not.” Fertility Authority’s Patient Care Coordinators can match fertility patients to a reputable clinic based on the criteria that is most important to the patient.

You can contact Fertility Authority's Patient Care Coordinators by filling out the Contact Fertility Doctors Near Me Form or by calling 1-855-955-BABY (2229).

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