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IVF Success Rates In The UK

IVF treatment can be financially expensive and emotionally taxing – it’s a good thing a beautiful baby of your own is such an incredible reward.

If you’re considering IVF treatment naturally you’ll want to know the best place for you to go, and ensure you make every effort count. You’ll need a clinic you trust and can feel comfortable in.

If you’re considering IVF treatment you’ll want to make every effort count

You’ve probably thought about, or looked at clinic IVF success rates. It’s fair to say that they can be confusing at best, or downright misleading at worst.

Here at Private Pregnancy we’ve broken down the need-to-knows when choosing an IVF clinic to help you…

What are IVF success rates?
IVF success rates indicate the number of treatments carried out by a given clinic in a specified year, and the number of pregnancies or Live Births that resulted from them. Figures might be represented as a percentage. There are different ways to represent Live Birth Rates, clinics might show success as ‘live birth per IVF cycle’ or ‘live birth per embryo transferred’.

What is a Live Birth Rate?
Sadly, some IVF pregnancies (as with those from non-assisted conception) do result in miscarriage. The Live Birth Rate is the percentage of births resulting from all IVF/ICSI cycles undertaken by the clinic, excluding miscarriages and stillbirths.

Why IVF success rates can be misleading
IVF success rates should really only ever be used as an introductory signpost. Most clinic success rates are somewhere around the national average. The reality when it comes to a clinic’s performance may be much more complicated.

IVF success rates are usually around the national average

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) warns against a ‘league table’ approach to looking at clinic success rates, or even simply comparing one clinic’s success rates against another.

This is because:

  • Different clinics treat different patients with different diagnoses, and this affects success rates. In fact, the specific fertility of an individual woman usually has the biggest bearing on success.
    Some clinics specialise in treating women with complex diagnoses and histories of recurrent IVF failure or recurrent miscarriage. Others may not take more complex cases at all. Age is of course a factor too. So you see how merely looking at the data itself could be misleading.
  • Different clinics use different treatment methods.
  • Most clinics don’t carry out enough IVF cycles each year to be able to reliably predict your chances of success with them.
  • Success rates are always about a year or more in retrospect, because results have to be followed up with the patients and verified. So success rates from 18 months ago may not reflect success rates now. Plus, even assuming all other factors are kept the same (the type of problem being treated, etc.) clinic statistics will always vary year by year, simply due to chance.

Other important things to consider when choosing a clinic
Beyond a glance at success rates, Research the clinics you're interested inthere are plenty of other factors to think about when selecting a clinic.

For example:

  • What are the treatments available and services it can provide? Will it be the clinic best able to treat you?
  • Where is it based (will it be convenient for you to travel to)?
  • What specialists are available at the clinic?
  • What are the staff like? Do you feel comfortable there?

The HFEA publish inspection reports for clinics and it might be helpful to check your potential clinic’s report there.

Where can I go to find out more?
The HFEA are committed to making information available to patients, and collect data from over 60,000 fertility treatments performed each year in the UK. For reliable data on success rates as well as clinic inspection reports, it is worth visiting their website.

HFEA publish reports for clinics, which are readily available online. This resource allows you to find your clinic and view all its data, including success rates.

To check your potential clinic’s report, search here.

HFEA also produces annual reports, which present information about patients, fertility treatments and trends in the UK. The 2014/15 report is available below.

We hope you understand success rates a little more now. If you take anything away, we hope it’s the message not to simply take success rates at face value. After all, there’s a lot of factors to consider.

Research the clinics you are interested in, as ultimately it is you who will need to make the decision on where to embark on your journey. Best of luck!

If you are interested in speaking to a private fertility consultant, please see our list of leading IVF clinics both within the UK and abroad. These carefully selected clinics can provide you with any and all information you may need in beginning your journey towards parenthood.

[For more articles, see our Useful Articles]