October 18, 2009

Is your RE clinic worth their weight?

Many of you live in areas where there is more than one IVF center. Choosing a center is one of the most important decisions you will make. How do you choose? Well, most of us get a referral from a friend or doctor, and then go and check it out. If we like the doctor we saw, we assume he or she is the very best, and go with the recommended treatment plan.

Well, there are a lot of clinics that are very popular, get many local referrals and have very nice doctors and staff. The problem is that many of these clinics have low pregnancy rates, and they are not advertising this fact. Why does it matter? Compare a good clinic with a pregnancy rate of 50% to a not so good clinic with a 30% pregnancy rate. The math is easy: out of 100 patients, 50 had a baby on their first try at clinic 1, while only 30 had a baby at clinic 2.

Well the majority of reputable RE clinics are members of an organization called SART. This stands for the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies.

Most members of SART submit their pregnancy rates, via computer, to the SART office. SART then works with the Center for Disease Control (otherwise known as the CDC) and produces a report. This report has the pregnancy rates for each clinic in the country. It can be viewed by going here:

Just click on the state and look for your clinic.

You want to look at the live births per retrieval. This means the chance of having a baby if you made it to the point where your eggs were removed. Once you see this clearly, it’s easy to click onto any clinic’s page and look at their rates for comparison.

If your clinic is not listed, that’s a very bad sign. Some are not listed because they are too new to get on, but most who don’t report don’t report for a reason: their numbers are low. There is no excuse for a clinic not to report. Some will say they don’t report to SART because SART does not calculate the numbers correctly; not so.

You can also see that there is a delay in reporting. This is because deliveries occur well after the IVF cycle, plus it takes some time to get the reports out.

If your doctor doesn’t report, beware. If your doctor blurts out numbers (this is really common), the numbers are usually exaggerated. Go to the web and check the facts yourself. And don’t listen to anyone who says their numbers are lower because they take the harder cases. The clinics with the best numbers have the best reputations and attract many, many women who have failed other clinics first.

Please note: These reports are providing data on IVF cycles but it is still very wise for future patients to research their potential clinic and their numbers.



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