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How do I find the top-ranked IVF clinics based on success rates?
The answer to this question is not as clear as you may think. The most important thing to consider before undergoing your search is to understand that “success” can mean different things. Those struggling with infertility may assume “success” means a live-birth, which would make sense, because that’s the end goal. But many fertility clinics view success differently. The statistics of an IVF clinic’s success rates can be skewed for different reasons. How is that possible? One way is they can alter the definition of success.
Here are different ways a clinic may define “success”
5-Day Blastocyst stage reached
Transfer results in one implanted embryo (but multiple embryos were transferred at one time)
Positive beta (positive pregnancy test)
Aside from the varying definitions of success, there are many variables that can influence the outcome. Some IVF clinics turn away people due to the difficulty of their case, which would increase the clinic’s success rate. Essentially, the clinics that accept the harder cases also accept that they may take a hit on their success rates. There are variables some IVF clinics choose to avoid and they might suggest to patients to seek treatment with a different clinic. This is an example of lowering the pool of patients which increases the odds of more favorable results for the IVF clinic to report.
As you can see there are many variables that affect fertility. Those variables combined with the different definitions of success can make it challenging to find a truly balanced report of IVF success rates. Ultimately it is up to those dealing with infertility to do their due diligence with researching the clinics they may be interested in. Simply knowing that data can be potentially skewed can help someone be more careful while researching whether a clinic is right for them.
Selecting an IVF Clinic is Not Just About Statistics
Consider your specific diagnosis, expected treatment, and rule out the clinics that are unable to provide the assistance or technology for your specific need.
Read what patients are saying based on their experience with their doctor, nurse, and office staff. Seek out reviews from those with a similar diagnosis as you.
Good communication with your clinic is vital. They should listen carefully to your concerns and respond promptly to your questions. Any miscommunication can lead major issues such as incorrect administration of medication.
Provides information on the realistic odds of a live-birth for you as an individual.
Find a clinic that creates a protocol to fit your specific situation and diagnosis.
Top 7 Websites Comparing IVF Clinic Success Rates
CDC’s NASS 2.0 (United States)
I recently asked Rebecca Fett, writer of “It Starts with the Egg”, what website she would recommend that ranks IVF clinics and she responded with a link to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s page about the National ART Surveillance System (NASS) 2.0. This website shows a map of the United States. You can click on individual states to view statistics. The CDC’s NASS site has become one of the most reputable sources for finding statistics on success rates. The general consensus among many online infertility groups is they overwhelmingly recommend this site as their go-to source for information in the United States. Before the CDC’s website became the number one source of IVF clinic success rates, one of the top sites was SART (now in our #3 spot).
If you want to read what actual patients thought about their experience with a certain clinic FertilityIQ.com is one of the best resources out there. You can choose how you want to filter your results when you click the Research Doctors & Clinics button, these include View by Patients Like Me, View by Doctor, and View by Clinic. The View by Patients Like Me option is great if you have a diagnosis that is considered harder to treat, and you want to see where you can go for treatment that is more individualized to your needs. This site also integrates the CDC’s success rates which is a great feature of FertilityIQ, but if you read the FAQ section of FertilityIQ you will see they point out some of the data may not have been updated for several years.
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) shows data that was reported by clinics. One criticism of this site is that the data has not been updated since 2016 (as of 2019), whereas the CDC’s site was updated in 2017. On the Arizona Center for Fertility Studies (ACFS) website they point out the main distinction between SART and the CDC site, “According to the Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act, all ART cycles performed in the United States fertility clinics are legally obligated to report to the CDC.” Due to clinics being required to report their data only to the CDC, some clinics like ACFS chose to discontinue reporting to SART. The SART site still has helpful information but overall it is not as comprehensive as the CDC’s site. SART is better viewed as a supplemental source of information.
The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) is similar to the CDC’s NASS, both are regulating organizations that collect data the IVF clinics are required to report. You can do a search on a fertility clinic’s”Inspection Rating” given by the HFEA as well as view the “Patient Rating.” These ratings are shown side by side for comparison, which is a great feature to quickly gauge how a clinic is doing overall. But keep in mind that the pool of patient participants can greatly affect the patient rating. Fewer patient ratings can equate to less reliable of a rating due to the smaller pool of people. Two bad ratings with a small pool of say five people can dramatically change the rating. Another nice feature is that you can click “View birth statistics” then “View detailed statistics” to use their filters to narrow down categories such as age and treatment type.
I had issues at first navigating the Global Clinic Rating (GCR) website. But once I figured out the problem I was able to access some helpful information. Their search fields on their homepage were not setup correctly. I would type in “IVF”in the first field and it would automatically send me to the clinic of IVF Spain’s rating page, even when I had not entered a location yet. Finally I figured out that I needed to type in “fertility” in the first field and then I typed in the location in the second field. There were a few times I typed in IVF and I ended up with a list of dentists. If you run into issues with your search try slightly adjusting your search terms to see if you get the result you wanted. Although initially very frustrating, I found the site helpful once I figured out the specific terms needed they actually accept.
Some locations seem to have much more detailed reports and reviews from many patients, while other locations are significantly lacking data and reviews. Depending on the popularity of your clinic, you may find this site useful. If you cannot find as much detailed information I would suggest viewing this site as more of a supplemental source of information.