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As you embark on your fertility journey, you will want to do everything you can to maximize your chances of getting pregnant. If you have been diagnosed with infertility, assisted reproductive technologies, particularly in vitro fertilization (IVF), might help you conceive. Many couples agree that going through IVF is very stressful, especially for those who face multiple rounds. However, recent studies have shown that women are most likely to conceive if they undergo more than two IVF cycles. To boost your chances of conceiving with IVF, consider following your clinic's course of treatment plan, which may include committing to several rounds of IVF.
Understanding SART Charts
You may dream of finding the perfect fertility clinic and getting pregnant during your first IVF cycle. While this is a reality for some women, most women will need to make several attempts at IVF before conceiving and taking home a baby.
To help you make an informed choice about your fertility clinic, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) reports on success rates for most fertility clinics in the nation. The SART charts also include information about annual fertility clinic activity and success, including the ages and types of clinic patients.
When you begin to interpret success rates for IVF on the SART charts, focus on the percentage of embryo transfers that result in live births. This statistic is the gold standard of success for a fertility clinic. This statistic tells you how many babies were born for each IVF cycle, as opposed to the numbers of babies conceived.
Also, when interpreting clinic results, remember that each cycle represents a round of treatment, not an individual patient. For instance, if a woman has undergone three cycles at one clinic, she will be counted three times on the SART chart, not just one time.
Choosing a Fertility Clinic
Researching infertility clinics can be overwhelming, especially if you live in a large city with multiple clinics nearby. As you review the SART charts, remember that your age, diagnosis, and health history interplay and influence your chances of conceiving.
As an example, pregnancy rates decrease after you hit your early to mid-30s. After age 37, your chances of getting pregnant with IVF drop dramatically. To best understand success rates for women like you, read the SART charts carefully. Pay attention to live birth success rates of women your age with similar diagnoses and treatment plans. After narrowing down your clinic options, feel free to call each clinic and ask frank questions about their course of treatment plans. For instance, you may want to ask your doctor if you qualify for fertility treatments like medications and artificial insemination that cost less and have fewer side effects than IVF. You may also question the doctor about the number of embryos that he or she prefers to implant during IVF. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends that fertility specialists transfer one single embryo, which can reduce complications associated with births of multiples. Consider all your options; if a doctor promises that you will conceive during your first IVF cycle, you may want to choose another clinic that is more honest and straightforward about the reality of IVF.
Remember, some clinics may boast about their pregnancy rates, but the SART charts show you the “take home baby” rate, which is most important.
Third Time a Charm?
The number of IVF cycles that you choose to undergo plays a considerable factor in your success with IVF. A doctor in a Swedish hospital, Dr. Catharina Olivius, studied almost a thousand women going through IVF treatment. She noticed that women who underwent three IVF cycles had a 66 percent chance of conceiving, higher than couples that only went through one or two cycles. In her research, she noted that many couples dropped out before their third cycle, often because of financial or mental strain. But those that persevered with a third cycle were most likely to get pregnant.
The lesson here? Even with the struggles associated with IVF, try and approach this as a course of treatment and prepare yourself to undergo at least three cycles of treatment before calling it quits. The chance of success with three cycles is in your favor!
Paying for one IVF cycle is costly, not to mention multiple cycles. The financial counselor at your fertility center will be able to advise you of your financial options. Some clinics may have financing options that are managed by the clinic or are part of a network of clinics that have financing options. They can also advise you about loans and grants from nom-profits. Ask the financial counselor as well about discounts on medications. It is important to understand all of your financing options before starting any course of infertility treatment.
Content originally provided by Attain Fertility.