One of my patients wrote an article about checking out the pregnancy rates of your doctor. She describes the importance of knowing pregnancy rates:

Infertility is one of the ONLY fields of medicine where the lay person can actually compare medical results, because success rates of infertility clinics nationwide are reported and accessible.

Here’s how easy it is. Go to www.sart.org and click on the big yellow button: IVF Success Rate Reports. Then click on a state or type in your zip code. Now you see a list of clinics to compare. Click on one to see Clinic Contact Information. The last line is a link: ART Data Report click here. When you open that link, you can review the results by age. The best comparison is “percentage of retrievals resulting in live births”. And if a doctor doesn’t report results for any reason, run! All the excellent clinics report results.

A quick example. The NYU Fertility Center performed 356 IVF cycles on women under 35, and the “percentage of retrievals resulting in live births” was 52%. Another clinic in walking distance to NYU (we’ll call it Clinic X) reports 131 IVF cycles performed, with 22% resulting in live births. Think of what that means:

• 52% vs. 22%! Based on these track records, if 100 women do IVF at each clinic, 52 will have a baby at NYU Fertility Center, and only 22 will have a baby at Clinic X.

• That means 30 (a huge number) failed as a result of choosing the wrong doctor. And failure is not to be taken lightly. Some of the failures may be a woman’s last chance; some women may go into debt just to try.

Still not convinced? Another clinic in Manhattan performed only 25 IVF cycles in a year’s time, and reported only ONE live birth. Would you walk into that clinic? Perhaps these doctors have a lovely office or great bedside manner. Perhaps they went to school or play golf with a GYN who, not having checked their numbers, refers to them. (YOU have much more at stake than your referring physician. It is up to YOU to protect yourself). It took me only four clicks to uncover these dreadful results.

Be careful of clinics that tell you about a high pregnancy rate, but publish a low rate. Many programs with low numbers use the excuse that they do the harder cases. The opposite is usually true. After women have failed one or more cycles, they usually seek out the programs with the best reputations.

Size may matter. There can be small practices with good results, but these tend to be exceptions, so check them out carefully.

Dr. Licciardi points out, “Your infertility doctor does not work alone. He depends on embryologists, laboratories, nurses and many others. If any link in this chain is weak, your chances for success are compromised. So my recommendation always is to go to a program with published, excellent results. Your homework here could be
well rewarded.”

And it only takes four clicks!