IVF clinics improve their success rate information

Fertility clinics in Australia and New Zealand are improving the way they present success rates but there is still room for improvement, our latest annual audit has found.

In 2018, a VARTA audit of 24 clinic websites showed the average score had improved from 5.54/9 in 2017 to 6.33/9 in 2018.

While audits in 2016 and 2017 showed no statistically significant change year-on-year, nearly half of the clinics (11/24) scored higher in 2018 than in 2017, and no website had a lower score in 2018 compared to the previous year.

There is scope for improvement for some clinic websites, though, and VARTA will conduct another audit in 2019.

In recent years, IVF clinics have been criticised for potentially misleading consumers about their success rates. For example, some previously specified pregnancy rates instead of live birth rates despite a significant number of pregnancies resulting in miscarriage.

For our audit, clinics are awarded points for the following:

Item

Possible score

Nominator clearly stated (clinical pregnancy or live birth)

1

Denominator clearly stated (started cycle, egg collection, or embryo transfer)

1

The measure of success is a live birth

1

Outcomes if frozen embryos are available is reported

1

Cumulative chance for more than one cycle is reported

1

Age-specific success rate figures are provided

2

Information about the impact of individual factors is provided

1

The risks of multiple embryo transfer are stated

1

If you are looking into IVF clinics and their success rates, it is important to ask your doctor about your own circumstances. We suggest questions such as:

  • Considering my circumstances and medical history, what is my chance of having a baby?
  • What is this clinic’s chance of a baby per stimulated treatment cycle?
  • What is this clinic’s chance of a baby for women my age?
  • What proportion of women in my age group have embryos available for freezing after a stimulated treatment cycle?
  • What is the cumulative chance of having a baby for a woman my age if she has three stimulated treatment cycles?

In April 2017, the Fertility Society of Australia’s Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC) issued a Technical Bulletin that lists best practice guidelines for success rate advertising. It includes items in our scoring matrix. 

You can read more about our 2016 and 2017 audits here.

For more information about success rates, read our brochure here