Every year, fertility clinics report the success rates for their in vitro fertilization cycles to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC Assisted Reproductive Technology Report isn’t necessarily meant to be a resource for comparing clinics, but it does give people an idea of what goes on in each clinic’s IVF labs. The reports are not all that easy to interpret, so it is important that you understand what exactly you are reading if you are using them to make an opinion about clinics that you are interested in.
Here are 5 things that will help you understand the information that these reports are meant to convey.
Success rates will differ between clinics because:
- the clinic may treat different types of patients based on their age, diagnosis, and length of fertility
- the clinic may focus on one or many different types of treatment
- the clinic may have it’s own unique types of treatment practices
If a clinic decides to help more patients that have complicated diagnoses, their success rates will consequently not be as high. This does not necessarily mean that their process is not a good one, it just means that they choose to help more people who already have a lower chance for success.
The CDC’s report gives the following information from each clinic:
- the number of treatment cycles that they provided each year
- the types of treatment they provide
- the percentages of each diagnosis made
- the number of cycles done with fresh embryos vs. frozen
- the number of live birth rates according to age group
- the average number of embryos transferred
- the services the clinic provides and whether or not they treat single women
Success rates based on the diagnosis are not provided.
While it is true that the clinic’s reports tell you how many patients there are with certain diagnoses, they do not actually provide you with whether or not your individual fertility issue has a chance of getting treated by the clinic.
Fertility clinics with multiple locations will report their data as one collective practice.
This can be misleading when it comes to judging an individual clinic. When it is getting clumped together with the business’s multiple locations, the details may not necessarily be defining the individual clinic that you are interested in. Each fertility center has it’s own defining characteristics that you will want to consider as you do your research. A practice will have multiple physicians with their own specialities and interests which tend to make each clinic unique.
Do not rely solely on success rates for choosing a clinic because:
- they do not fully reflect the differences in the patients going to these clinics
- they do not show that some clinics choose to treat certain patients while not treating others
- they do not reflect your personal circumstance and what your individual experience and outcome will turn out to be
Look At The Bigger Picture
It is tempting to read the success rates for a clinic and immediately form an opinion, but they are not actually providing you with the full picture here. Everyone has individual needs and their overall results will be different based on their unique condition. Success rates are one tool that can help you weigh your options and make your choice, but there are many other important factors that you will want to take into consideration.
You should absolutely visit a clinic before judging whether or not it is the right fit for you. Remember that you will be spending a lot of time there, so you should make sure that it really is the right environment for you and that you know that the doctors are the type individuals that you feel you can truly depend on.