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Interpreting SART IVF Success Rate Data
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) data for 2010 were posted online in early February. These data are submitted by fertility clinics yearly to SART. It is incumbent on each participating fertility clinic to submit accurate numbers representing the clinic’s assisted reproductive technology (ART) rates. I glanced at several fertility clinics’ data and was reminded that although sometimes helpful, it is important to interpret these numbers with the following reminders:
- In some states, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is mandated to be covered by insurance companies, which could affect IVF outcomes.
- Just because one fertility clinic has superstar numbers, it does not necessarily mean that it is “better” than the next fertility clinic, although it might be. Read the numbers knowing that some fertility clinics attract patients who have a higher chance of pregnancy. For instance women under age 35 generally have a higher rate of conceiving than those who 35 and older. Another example is that different diagnoses will often have different pregnancy rates, for instance young women with straightforward tubal factor would generally have a higher pregnancy rate with IVF than those with diminished ovarian reserve. A different scenario is that certain patients will have the financial resources to choose to have costly additional therapies such as genetic testing of embryos, which could affect pregnancy rates.
- Other factors such as when the first ultrasound is performed can affect reported pregnancy results.
- As is true with all data bases whether labs, the Social Security Administration or credit bureaus, the numbers may contain errors. If certain numbers seem out of line with other fertility clinics, I advise that you call the fertility clinic to verify those numbers.
As I have written before, not all fertility clinics accept all patients. On the other hand, some fertility clinics think that women who are not ideal candidates but wish to try IVF should be allowed to do so without feeling pushed into therapies like third party eggs. Read the numbers, knowing that there are both obvious and more subtle variables that can affect outcomes.
Remain open-minded and steadfast and you too will likely become a parent. And above all, be loving and gentle with yourself.