Most patients understandably want to know what is the success rate for each doctor and facility. However, success rates can be confusing and misleading at times. A very good facility and doctor may have average to good numbers compared to another’s excellent numbers. There may be valid reasons for the differences. Some facilities and doctors prescreen patients and select only those with a high probability of success of achieving pregnancy, therefore maintaining an excellent success rate. This prescreening often discourages patients who have an average to lower chance of conceiving their own biological child. A facility that takes patients with complicated medical histories such as previous failures at another program, prolonged unexplained infertility, abnormal testing, or patients age 38 and older may have a lower overall success rate because they have a different mix of patients who present with a more difficult challenge. The facility that takes a broader spectrum of patients with lower numbers may actually be the better facility.
Dr. Kristiansen feels that following a complete evaluation and frank discussion of the probability of achieving a successful pregnancy and the associated costs, it is the patient’s decision. Her overall success rate compares very well nationally, particularly with the over age 35 population. It is important to note that the average patient without infertility problems has only a 20 percent chance of pregnancy per cycle under ideal circumstances.
Participation in SART, where numbers are reported annually but not posted until almost three years later through the CDC website, is one way to measure a facility's success rate. However, keep in mind again that the patient population medical history may be more selective from center to center. Many physicians and IVF lab facilities report together while others report separately.
The first in-vitro fertilization cycle at Houston Fertility Center began in January 2002 and 175 cycles were completed for the calendar year with an overall success rate that compared very well nationally.
When choosing a physician or IVF lab facility it is important to look at all aspects of your treatment. Compare the total costs and beware of hidden fees. Be willing to spend your own money wisely to get the best medical care possible. Receiving the best medical care possible is important. Ask your OB/GYN or family doctor for a referral. Ask friends, family, and co-workers who they recommend. Look for board certification of doctors and laboratory personnel (Embryologist/Andrologist). Verify the persons listed are actually there on site performing your procedures, not overseeing from another facility. Avoid gimmicks, ask questions, read, be a good consumer.