Decoding IVF statistics

Are you finding it difficult to make sense of the success rates for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment? Do you wonder how statistics like “pregnancy rate per cycle”, “pregnancy rate per transfer”, “live birth rate per cycle start” compare and what these actually mean? Canadian fertility lawyer Sherry Levitan’s latest blog post helps to decode and explain IVF statistics. She suggests that individuals and couples considering IVF treatment should read the statistics carefully in order to determine the actual probability of achieving a pregnancy and live birth. For example:

Pregnancy rate per cycle: this is the number of patients who became pregnant as a result of a single IVF cycle, including fresh and frozen embryo transfers. It also takes into account cancelled IVF cycles.

Pregnancy rate per transfer: this is the number of pregnancies after every embryo transfer. This doesn’t take into account cancelled cycles or cycles where no fertilization happened.

Pregnancy rate per cycle start: this is the number of pregnancies for all of the patients who started an IVF cycle. Sherry suggests patients should ask how many cycles were cancelled in order to determine the likelihood of getting to an embryo transfer.

Other statistics commonly reported by clinics include live birth per cycle start, live birth per egg retrieval, and live birth per transfer. Read more about these statistics in Sherry’s blog post. She advises:

“The most important thing to remember is that statistics can be helpful, but only a physician can help a patient understand the specific likelihood of that patient’s success because the chances of initiating a pregnancy depend on many factors that are personal to the woman undergoing IVF, such as her medical history, age, and BMI, to name but a few.”

Read more about IVF here. 

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