There has been much in the media lately in relation to the investigation by the ACCC into success rate claims made by IVF clinics.
In order to improve their perceived success rates, some clinics have been accused of misrepresenting their statistics by selective reporting or using misleading language.
“For example, a clinic reporting, say, an 85 per cent success rate within two cycles might have not included five previous failed cycles for that woman at another clinic,” said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court.
Or clinics were using language such as ‘clinical pregnancy’ which may lead someone to believe that this was a live birth when in reality it may have been an ectopic pregnancy or no heartbeat.
Chair of the Fertility Society of Australia’s IVF Directors’ Group, David Malloy welcomed the investigation as a ‘good thing’ for the industry. As are many dedicated clinics and specialists who are publishing validated and legitimate results.
But is the publication of success rates really a good thing? Should we believe that by choosing the ‘most successful’ clinic, we ourselves will achieve the most successful outcome?
There are a multitude of factors at play in fertility. Most, completely unrelated to IVF clinics.
Age, smoking, lifestyle, diet, exercise, alcohol, nutrient status, menstrual cycle, ovulation, PCOS, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids, sperm health…. the list goes on. These are all factors, which can be positively influenced independent of your chosen clinic.
If we do place such a high value on clinic ‘success rates’ then are we leaving ourselves open to the possibility of clinics ‘choosing’ patients they deem more likely to be successful and thus more likely to improve their published statistics?
Advertising claims and their representation, especially in such a sensitive industry, are obviously extremely important. As is seeking expert advice for fertility concerns. However, is it really wise to completely hand all your fertility hopes over to a clinic based on their published ‘successes’?
I have the privilege of working with some extremely passionate, committed, experienced specialists, achieving incredible results for their patients. But, ultimately, no one cares more about your fertility outcome than you. Question, challenge, learn, question again. Be a proactive participant in your fertility journey.