Understanding the YourIVFSuccess website
IVF success rates. Many think they’re controversial and complicated and some would prefer they didn’t exist at all. Not us. We think they’re essential and, once you know how to read them, fairly straightforward. For close to a decade now we’ve been campaigning for patients to be given access to simple, easy to understand live birth rates so they can make informed decisions about their fertility treatment and which IVF clinic they go to.
That’s why we are over the moon excited about the launch of the Australian Government’s new YourIVFSuccess website. We welcome it. We encourage you to check it out and we say if you’ve got questions, ask away.
What is the YourIVFSuccess website?
So, what is it? Well, the new Federal Government funded YourIVFSuccess website, was created to give people thinking about fertility treatment an independent source of information about the IVF process, success rates and the IVF clinics available in Australia. The website contains:
- a section which explains what’s involved in IVF and the different types of fertility treatment;
- a tool to help you estimate your chance of having a baby using IVF (based on the average of all clinics); and
- a directory of all Australian IVF clinics which includes the services they provide, the types of patients they treat, and their IVF success rates compared to the national average.
So far, so good.
The IVF Success Estimator tool is a great concept and will give people a general idea of their chance of having a baby. But just keep in mind that the estimator is only designed for women who need IVF and also, it can’t give you a personalised result. It will just tell you the average chance of people with the same set of characteristics that you entered (age, reason for infertility etc). It also won’t recommend specific IVF clinics for you.
Getting down to the success rates graphs, that’s what we’re all here for right? Well, at first glance it can seem a bit complex. There are quite a few different graphs to consider and if you’re just starting out with your IVF research then some of the terms can seem a bit odd. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you decipher the IVF success data and get the info you need.
Understanding IVF success rates
First up, let’s run through what each of the graphs (they call them measures) talk about and how to read them.
This shows live births per complete egg retrieval cycle. It includes the chance of a live birth in all patients having an IVF cycle (the drugs to grow eggs, the egg collection and maybe a fresh embryo transfer) plus all the frozen cycles following on from that stimulated cycle.
This is the same as Measure 1 but only includes people having their first ever egg retrieval (egg collection or OPU). It again shows live births per IVF cycle, including all the frozen cycles following on from that stimulated cycle.
This is the chance of success per IVF attempt when an embryo transfer procedure was undertaken or planned. The embryo or embryos that were replaced might have been fresh (in the same cycle as the egg collection) or frozen-thawed (in a frozen cycle), or had come from thawed eggs that were previously frozen (in an egg warm-transfer cycle). Attempts when no eggs were collected (in a fresh cycle) or attempts when embryos failed to thaw (in a frozen cycle) are included in the statistics.
This shows the chance of a live birth from each individual fresh or frozen embryo that was transferred. Not only does this Measure reflect the chance of a birth for any one embryo transferred, this measure is guarding against the transfer of too many embryos in any one attempt (given that even twins have higher complication rates than single babies). For example, a clinic that undertakes mostly single embryo transfers that lead to a live birth will have a higher success rate in this measure than a clinic that undertakes a lot of double embryo transfers, because it measures “live birth” – not “number of babies actually born”.
You will be able to find far more detailed explanations of these Measures on the YourIVFSuccess website.
Each of the Measures were chosen to examine different ways of looking at the performance of a clinic, given that different units undertake different treatments. For example, some units never undertake a fresh embryo transfer; others have different approaches to genetic testing of embryos, and some might be reporting a higher proportion of double embryo transfers. Which one to focus on can depend what you want to know and where you are in your IVF journey.
However, if you want to best assess the overall chance of success, Measures 2 and 1 are the most useful. If you have never had IVF before, Measure 2 relates directly to you. It is also the clearest measure of success. But if a unit also has high results for Measure 1, this implies that not only “first timers” are doing well, but so are those who didn’t succeed first time, as well as those who came across from another clinic for a second opinion.
It’s also important to note that a particular clinic may still attract a younger age group which can impact success rates - as generally, the lower the age of patients the clinic treats and the earlier they see them, the better the success rates.
Wondering what the little vertical lines mean on each graph? It’s the prediction range. If the national average success rate falls within the predicted range of the clinic success rate, then the clinic is considered to be consistent with the national rate. If the lower part of the prediction line is above the national average, this suggests that the clinic is going very well.
Another thing to keep an eye on is the fact that the number of procedures a clinic completes has an impact on the prediction range. Clinics that do large amounts of cycles generally have a smaller predication range than clinics that do smaller amounts of cycles.
Did you notice the 10-year range in the first age bracket and wonder what the heck? Surely a 24-year-old has a better chance than a 34-year-old and you can’t just lump them in together? Well you’re partly right. Your Genea Fertility Specialist can show you success rates broken down into smaller age brackets for our clinics. But the age brackets on the YourIVFSuccess website are designed that way so that you can accurately compare all clinics. Breaking down the data into smaller brackets could mean that some clinics will not have enough patients to provide meaningful comparisons.
We hope this information has helped you decipher the new YourIVFSuccess website. If you have more questions, then you can speak with your Fertility Specialist about it or get in touch with Genea’s Fertility Advisor.
Now after all of that, you may be wondering what else you need to consider when choosing a fertility clinic?
Why don’t you check out the booklet we created to help you? These are the 12 questions past patients have said are important to ask. It’s an expert checklist to make you sound like a pro when you’re choosing a fertility clinic! Download a Guide to comparing fertility clinics.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is a Genea Group blog and as such information may not be relevant for all clinics. We advise that you consult clinics directly for further information.