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Should Success Rates Be Published? They Can Be Misleading
Our Delivering Dreams success rates for surrogacy in Ukraine with an egg donor are 78%.
Article By SANDRA SIAGIAN
The debate over whether IVF clinics should publish their success rates has been pushed into the spotlight after a South Australian senator called for the information to be made public to couples trying to conceive through the procedure. Primary school teacher Melissa Laughlin has always wanted to be a mother. After failing to fall pregnant, the 31-year-old turned to IVF. But almost two years and five cycles later, Melissa Laughlin is still waiting."Financially we are out of pocket about $40,000 with the Medicare rebate," she explains. "With our last two egg collection rounds, we have also had genetic testing of the embryos, which is quite expensive and there's no Medicare rebate for that unfortunately."
Despite several failed attempts, Melissa has stuck with the one clinic. "My fiancé and I have differing views of staying with the same clinic — I was adamant in staying with the same clinic, whereas he was interested in researching and going elsewhere." IVF clinics in Australia aren't required to publish success rates, so patients can't compare them. This is something Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff wants to change. He wants IVF clinics to publish their procedure success rates in a searchable online database. The South Australian senator is calling on the government to work with the IVF industry to make this happen — a motion that's been backed by the Senate. "It's impossible to know who are the top performers and who are the poor performers," Senator Griff says. "This will enable Australian families to be able to make an informed choice. "When you have some clinics achieving success rates of about 4 per cent and some in the high 30s, but you don't know which ones they are, it's a horrible experience for people to not know that."
IVF Industry current practice
All clinics in Australia are required to submit their success rates to the Fertility Society of Australia, the national body for the IVF industry. The president of the organisation, Professor Michael Chapman, has an issue with making this data public. "Clinics vary because of the population they serve, the age of the patient, the rate of obesity in the patient, these things affect fertility rates. "So a clinic might not look too good but they might have a higher-risk population where success rates might be low because of that." The fertility specialist says he's worried about unintended consequences if a clinic's success rate is published. "The fertility society has been very strong on not going to league tables, because that's what you do when you publish data, from clinic to clinic — league tables breed bad medicine," Professor Chapman explains. "What happens is that clinics want to keep their pregnancy rates as high as possible, so instead of putting one embryo back, they put two embryos back. "Australia leads the world in single embryo transfer — safe IVF, and it would be a sad day because we had league tables we went backwards from that. It's not the right way to go." But not everyone in the industry agrees. Professor Alan Trounson is a pioneer in IVF, who led the team responsible for Australia's first IVF birth in 1980. "I think it's very important to publish success rates and I think the important part is to make sure that the data is up to date and it also represents something that people can understand," Professor Trounson says. He thinks the most important thing for a patient is the likelihood they'll finish the process with a baby. "That's the really important information for them to decide whether they are going to have treatment, where they're going to have treatment, and what they're going to give up for having that treatment."
For the last three years, the Fertility Society of Australia has been working on a model which would assess a patient's chances of falling pregnant before starting treatment. Professor Michael Chapman thinks this will provide clarity. "The government is interested in it because I think that they see, particularly for the older women or women at low chance of success, it may stop them using taxpayers' money for a very low chance of success." While the model is still under wraps, Professor Chapman hopes it will be available to the public in 18 months. For Melissa Laughlin, she's not sure whether an online database of success rates would have influenced her decision on choosing an IVF clinic. "Tests for fertility treatment were really invasive and some take a long time to recover from," she explains. "I know it's really easy to refer to them as just embryos, but to us they really are our children. "So statistics are really important, but they just weren't everything; relationships and trust were put above a numerical value to us."
Learn More About International Surrogacy In Ukraine:
Delivering Dreams helps couples throughout the US struggling with infertility have children. Located in NJ and Kyiv, Ukraine, our amazing medical facilities and professionals, surrogates and donors are in Ukraine, because Ukrainian law protects the rights of parents and their children from inception at affordable costs and high success rates.
Unique to Delivering Dreams, we offer guaranteed not to exceed, all-inclusive pricing and contracts under US law to provide prospective parents legal and financial security.
1 in 6 couples are struggling with infertility. You are not alone. We want to be your path to parenthood.
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