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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.
Rebecca Fett, writer of “It Starts with the Egg” knows her stuff for sure. Fett is a molecular biologist who understands how the body functions on a cellular level. When faced with her own infertility issues she used her education and research skills to have a successful birth, and shared her extraordinary amount of information for other women to use in her book. She has held the top selling rank on Amazon.com in the Reproductive Medicine category. I’m a member of multiple infertility groups on Facebook, and I continually heard about this book over and over again. The women were very enthusiastic about the book and it was always highly recommended. Many women who spoke endless praises of “It Starts with the Egg” were saying that they were able to finally make their dream of having a baby a reality.
I will not go into detail on all of the topics covered because all of the information and credit goes to Rebecca Fett. Whether you get it from the library, book store, e-book or audio format (I personally love Audible), you have got to read this book. The book is organized into categories for the particular type of infertility issue that one might be facing. For example, I have low ovarian reserve and I’m doing IVF, so I choose to follow the Advanced Plan in her book. There is also a plan for those with PCOS. Some women have been facing infertility for unexplained reasons for a while but they don’t want to do IVF, there is a plan for that as well. Let me also add that you MUST speak with your doctor about your treatment plan and don’t solely rely on the book, because you may have a medical condition that is affecting your infertility that could easily be tested for. In other words, you may think you have “unexplained infertility” but perhaps a simple blood test will explain what is really going on.
I was honestly in a very low place before I started to read this book. But this book has given me a lot of hope because it gives great tangible advice that someone can start right away to improve their odds of success. For example, there is a plethora of information on supplements Fett shares, rooted in case studies that show positive correlations for success.
I highly recommend you get a copy of her book. One major change I did right away was to get rid of my plastic dishware and replace it with either glass or stainless steel items. This was the first thing I did and I felt a sense of accomplishment knowing I was taking the first step in reducing my use of products that can have endocrine disruptors, which can impact fertility. From there, I also changed my make-up and beauty products that had high levels of dangerous chemicals. I recommend using the “Think Dirty” app that allows you can scan the barcode on beauty and cleaning products and shows you if it is dangerous or not. I’ll be doing a more in-depth post in the future on that subject. I’ve been eating healthier and following the food suggestions outlined in this book as well.
So all the talk is true is true ladies! Rebecca Fett has gathered so much information and created an excellent resource for those of use struggling with infertility. This book has actually inspired me to research even more health-related topics. I guess you can say I’ve become quite the health nut this past month. Another added benefit of following her advice is that you are lowering your risk for major health related issues if you follow the dietary suggestions. Reading her book has empowered me to make real changes and was it was the catalyst for me to begin living a healthier lifestyle. You’ve got to read this book!