Your Success Rate With IVF Depends on What You Do for a Living

pregnant woman

When it comes to IVF success, there are so many variables it can be hard to make sense of what really works (and what doesn't). Even occupation and income can influence the effectiveness of IVF procedures, as a new report from FertilityIQ shows: In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, the organization has released a set of fascinating findings (and let's just say that if you're a teacher, you're in luck!).

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According to data gathered from over 1,000 fertility patients, teachers are six times more likely to have IVF success than women working in finance or STEM fields (women in typically male-dominated professions are 60 percent less likely to have success). Women making over $100,000 a year, meanwhile, are twice as likely to have success than women making under $100K, even though they typically only do 20 percent more cycles. Here's a look at everything the report found (in a super cute infographic!):

fertility iq

These numbers are extremely interesting, and more than a little perplexing at first glance. One might think, for example, that the high stress associated with working in finance might make it harder for women to conceive -- but teaching is a pretty high-stress job, too. So what's behind these stats?

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"Teachers told us that their work culture put them in a special position to succeed," Deb Anderson-Bialis, co-founder of FertilityIQ, told The Stir.

"For instance, their coworkers are happy to speak openly about their own experiences and share recommendations on doctors. In addition, teachers take advantage of their summer months off to undergo treatment cycles," she said.

Aha! That makes sense. As does her explanation for why women in male-dominated fields had less success.

"It goes back to work environment here too," said Anderson-Bialis. "Patients in these fields say they felt the need to keep treatment a secret from bosses and colleagues, and they also found it more difficult to sustain a cycle given workloads and related pressures."

So in other words, when it comes to TTC, these already-stressful occupations are even more stressful. (And is it any surprise that women are made to feel this way about starting a family, when we don't even have mandatory paid family leave in this country?) As for greater success rates of wealthier women, well, that "mystery" is simpler to unravel: more money = more chances. 

"Despite the accelerated pace at which women are being treated, fertility treatment costs remain lofty," said Anderson-Bialis.

Patients on FertilityIQ report, on average, paying $16,500 of total drug and treatment costs per cycle, she explains. "And as 70 percent of cycles are likely to fail, most patients must undergo multiple rounds, and it's simply more affordable for wealthier women to pay up."

Finally, Anderson-Bialis says, "Of the surveyed patients, wealthier women cycled an average of 2.4 times with their doctor, nearly 20 percent higher than their peers -- who, by income level, represent nearly 80 percent of US households."

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Yikes. So that means 80 percent of women in the US who are trying to conceive via IVF are facing an uphill battle? All of this will no doubt seem discouraging to some (particularly women making less than $100K in male-dominated fields), but hopefully this info will help some women (and, perhaps more to the point, workplaces) to make positive changes. Not that it's always possible to make your life less stressful (or double your income), but at least knowing what makes for IVF success is somewhere to start!

 

Image via iStock.com/Perkus

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