IVF Success Rates: What Do They Mean?

Our medical director, Dr. Sonya Kashyap, responses to the National Post article published on June 22, 2014: The fertility clinic guessing game: Canadians have no way to find out success rates of pricey IVF treatments.

In 2013, Genesis Fertility Centre became the first and only clinic in Canada to have independently verified success rates. Our success rates are some of the best in North America due to our attention to detail, dedication and consistency. We also have introduced the newest and advanced technologies, such as egg and embryo vitrification; comprehensive chromosomal screening; and trophectoderm biopsy which are among the services we provide that can assist with increasing the chance of conception.

I believe we have a responsibility to make the process as transparent as possible for patients. This includes reporting success rates in terms of a denominator, be it cycle started or embryo transfer, and also in terms of differentiating between biochemical, clinical and live birth rates. In addition, we see the importance of identifying separate categories for success rates per frozen embryo versus those which are screened for chromosomal abnormalities.

While under the guidance of my fellowship director at Cornell University, we saw failed cases and some of the most difficult cases from all over the world. We learned not only how to treat the straightforward cases, but to find solutions to the most difficult cases, resulting in some of the highest success rates.

We were taught the importance of knowing your own data and being transparent with your patients. As a former CIHR scientist with a Masters in epidemiology, providing accurate representation of the data to women is important to me.

In the U.S., reporting is mandatory, audited and identifiable. In Canada, reporting is voluntary, de-identified and unaudited. Websites may contain only biochemical pregnancy rates making it virtually impossible for patients to know what they are getting.

At Genesis, we choose to report per embryo transfer. Our motto is that it only takes one good egg and as long as a patient understands the statistics.

We also ensure validity by having a third party audit the results. Results can be reported according to prognostic markers such as age; anti-mullerian hormone levels; treatment attempt number; or other marker sod ovarian reserve.

All too often, fertility patients receive misinformation about their chances to conceive. This is not only from success rates that may be hard to delineate, but from media stories that might not contain the whole fertility journey of the patients featured. After all, some of their struggles might be kept private for personal reasons. These information “gaps” or assumptions made by the readers could create misconceptions for the public.

Whatever the numbers are, good or bad, patients have the right to know the honest success rates and to then be able to make an informed choice. As a member of the medical community, I believe it’s our duty to make the process transparent.

After all, for an industry that generates substantial revenue in Canada, don’t patients have the right to these answers?