CHR Physician and Associate Scientist Vitaly Kushnir, MD, recently spoke with the New York Times about a topic often discussed here at CHR: the continued lack of transparency in reported IVF success rates.
The article highlights the inconsistencies in IVF success rates reported to both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) by most of the US IVF centers, noting that a lack of regulation on reporting has led some centers to skew the data in their favor.
“Clinics are competing with each other based on pregnancy and live birthrates,” Dr. Kushnir told the Times, and this competition often keeps centers from reporting negative data that could drive away patients.
At the moment, reported success rates often do not elaborate on how many IVF cycles it took before a successful pregnancy occurs, or even what is defined as success (live birth vs. clinical pregnancy; full-term birth vs. premature; birth defects or not). There is also no reporting on the patient population the clinics serve (some clinics turn away more difficult cases to avoid a dip in their success rates). These discrepancies can often leave patients confused or misinformed.
CHR has long been outspoken on this issue, repeatedly calling for more consistency and regulation in publicly reported information. “The outcome data should be included to reflect the most important goals and measures of success in IVF — a healthy baby and healthy mother,” Dr. Kushnir told the Times.
Which is what CHR attempts to do with its own reported success rates, helping patients understand what they are reading by explaining how the pregnancy rates are calculated and how they may be lower in certain circumstances. For more information on IVF reporting and CHR’s 2013 success rates, visit our page on IVF Pregnancy Rates & Outcomes.