Be a Data-Driven, Informed IVF Patient
Kaylen Silverberg, MD, was consulted by Forbes to help patients make informed decisions about IVF
One of the goals of Texas Fertility Center is to help patients make informed decisions about fertility treatment. To further this goal, Kaylen Silverberg, MD, from our Austin fertility center spoke to Forbes contributor David Sable. The result of this conversation was an article about how to be a data-driven and informed IVF patient.
There are several considerations that IVF patients should take into account before selecting a fertility center
Our Austin fertility center team tells patients that it’s important to understand what is and is not normal in the field of reproductive medicine. In addition to understanding the norms in the field, here are some other important considerations to help you become an educated IVF patient.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, provides data about assisted reproductive technology (ART) success rates from around the country. This information includes statistics such as how many patients entered treatment and how many had a live birth. You can compare these statistics provided by fertility centers on either the CDC (www.cdc.gov) or SART (www.sart.org) websites.
- If one of the fertility centers you are considering falls outside the norm when it comes to a certain set of statistics, you should feel comfortable calling and asking them why their results are so different. There could be many explanations for this, such as a change in laboratory procedures, the presence of a research study that requires a change in the program’s protocols, or even a change in the way data are collected and presented. For 2013-16, a change in the way data are reported by both the CDC and SART will have a significant effect on the pregnancy rates reported by many programs that do a lot of preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). As these cycles (which have very high pregnancy rates) are excluded, programs that do a lot of PGT will appear to have much lower pregnancy and delivery rates.
- Maternal age has a significant impact on fertility outcomes, so ask fertility centers if they keep information that analyzes results by maternal age to show how many IVF cycles were performed and the outcome of those cycles.
- Ask fertility clinics what percentage of their patients experienced failed IVF cycles elsewhere. This information can tell you if a clinic rejects tough cases to inflate its numbers.
- Some centers advise patients to do multiple retrieval cycles and then bank embryos that develop to the blastocyst stage. Once several cycles’ worth of embryos have been banked, they undergo preimplantation genetic testing and then the best embryo(s) from the entire batch is transferred. Being able to choose the best embryo from 2-3 stimulation cycles – and then report results as though all of the embryos came from one cycle – artificially inflates both pregnancy rates and the cost of doing IVF. Programs that follow such procedures often tout their high success rates without being up front about how those results were achieved.
- The CDC does not report on the cost of IVF, so you will have to ask individual fertility centers for cost information. All IVF patients deserve to understand the financial side of IVF BEFORE they choose to participate.
Texas Fertility Center strives for transparency in all aspects of IVF treatment
From success rates to costs, our Austin fertility center team believes in transparency and clarity. Our fertility specialists want patients to make an informed decision about IVF and the other fertility treatments provided by our fertility center.
We know that the decision to bring home a baby through IVF is a big one, and Texas Fertility Center wants to make this decision as easy as possible.
If you would like more information about IVF or any other fertility treatment at Texas Fertility Center, please contact us today.
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