Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Success Rates Need Explaining

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Success Rates Need Explaining

Article excerpt

Byline: Loretta Houlahan

FROM joyful new mum Sonia Kruger, to the back-to-front love story of sperm donor romance, IVF patients across the country are being told their fairytale ending is just an embryo transfer away.

But for every artificially conceived bundle of joy to make headlines, there are many everyday Australians who have not been so lucky.

Many patients' lack of success may have more to do with their IVF provider than with their pathology. With the gap between success rates at the highest- and lowest-performing clinics widening each year, it's time for all fertility clinics to disclose their results.

In Australia, assisted reproductive technology clinics are required to report success rates to the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database.

The National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit and the Fertility Society of Australia then jointly collaborate to produce a yearly ANZARD report.

Clinics are told where they rank in an IVF "league table", however, this is not released publicly and clinics only know their own result.

The most recent ANZARD report from 2012 (published in 2014) revealed IVF success rates varied dramatically between clinics.

From 35 clinics across Australia and New Zealand the live birth success rate ranged from 4% at one clinic to 30.9% at another.

No one knows which clinic is which, and no one knows why success rates varied so considerably between providers.

However, it was not just last year's report which revealed alarming results. In 2011, success rates were as low as 3.6%. The year before that it was 4.4%. The year before that it was 4.5%.

In comparison, the overall live delivery rate in 2012 for the middle band of clinics was between 13.3% and 19.6%, and the top performing clinic achieved a rate of 30.9%.

Year after year, the poor performance of Australia's worst IVF clinics fails to be explained.

Yet these figures raise serious concerns about the practices of the clinics responsible.

The issue is there is no obvious plausible scientific explanation for IVF success rates in the single digits. On their own, without clarification, these sorts of figures are simply unacceptable. …

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