Back when we were doing infertility treatment, there was a lot I didn't like about it (no one should ever have to have that many conversations with strangers while in stirrups, for starters). One of the worst things for me was the dehumanizing way we were treated by our clinic. Instead of two people with a unique set of issues, we were reduced to age, diagnosis, and statistics.
While we stopped short of IVF, it remains the infertility treatment of choice for most couples despite its expense. It's upwards of $10,000 a cycle and little to none of the cost is covered by insurance. We couldn't imagine risking that much money, not to mention all our battered hopes and dreams, on something that at best has 50-50 odds. So I cheered the news that a new test offers, if not hope, at least answers for couples whose first IVF failed.
Researchers from Stanford University developed a computer model that predicts a couple's chances of success with IVF with more than a thousand times greater accuracy than the way fertility clinics do it now, which is essentially only based on a woman's age and no other factors.
The researchers identified 52 factors that play into whether or not IVF works, based on profiles of more than 2,000 procedures, and created a computer model to predict chances of further success. Interestingly, in half the cases their model was more optimistic about a couple's chance of conceiving than the age-based model was. It only works for cases in which the couple has already had at least one failed IVF because the data from that cycle is crucial in figuring out the chances of future success.
This should not be such a revelation, that one 35-year-old's body is not the same as another, but that's how most fertility clinics behave. If you've suffered the crushing disappointment of a failed IVF cycle, I would think knowing your chances of success would go a long way toward deciding to keep going or to build your family another way.
Did you do IVF? Would you have welcomed this test?
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