Thursday, January 27, 2011


When a couple decides to pursue an infertility treatment such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), there is much information to consider. Looking at fertility clinic success rates is a piece of information that can help in your evaluation.

The 1992 Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to publish fertility clinic success rates. The goal of the annual Assited Reproductive Technology Success Rates report is to help potential users make informed decisions about assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Experts do not recommend that patients use the information to choose a fertility center based solely on success rates.

Defining Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

Although various definitions have been used for ART, the CDC defines it as all fertility treatments in which both eggs and sperm are handled.

The CDS does not include fertility treatments in which only sperm are handled, such as intrauterine — or artificial — insemination (IUI), or treatment in which a woman takes fertility drugs to stimulate egg production without the intention of having eggs retrieved.

Fertility Clinic Success Rates

The current report presents data on the outcomes of all ART cycles started at 430 fertility clinics in operation in the U.S. in 2007. Some clinics are omitted in the study because they failed to submit data or did not provide the proper verification that the tabulated success rates were correct.

The national report also includes graphs and charts that use data to answer specific questions related to ART success rates. These figures are organized according to the type of procedure used.

The 142,435 ART cycles performed at these reporting clinics in 2007 resulted in 43,412 live births (deliveries of one or more living infants) and 57,569 infants. Pooling the data from all reporting clinics provides an overall national picture that could not be obtained by examining data from an individual clinic.

The CDC estimates that ART accounts for slightly more than 1 percent of total U.S. births. A woman’s chances of having a successful pregnancy using ART are influenced by many factors, some of which are patient-related and outside a clinic’s control (e.g., the woman’s age or the cause of infertility).

Because the national data set includes information on many of these factors, it gives potential ART users an idea of their average chances of success. Average chances, however, do not necessarily apply to a particular individual or couple. People considering ART should consult their physicians to discuss all the factors that apply in their particular case.