Numbers talk. At ACFS, we’re proud to report our exceptionally high IVF success rates as accurately, transparently, and currently as possible. Since 2011, we have compiled years of data showing that IVF with preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) and frozen embryo (FET) works for our patients.
Below we report the results of all 240 frozen embryo transfers with chromosomally normal embryos performed at ACFS between January 2017 and May 2019. Dr. Lipskind’s data are highlighted separately because he became the Medical Director of ACFS in January of 2019 and now oversees all patients undergoing IVF at our center.
|IVF/PGT with Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)||# of FET||% of FET Resulting in positive pregnancy test||% of FET resulting in clinical pregnancy on ultrasound|
|All ACFS Patients||240||80.8%||64.4%|
|Dr. Lipskind's Patients||128||88.2%||79.6%|
More than four out of five patients receiving an embryo transfer with at least one chromosomally normal embryo at ACFS had a positive pregnancy test. More than two out of three patients were able to see their pregnancy on ultrasound. Because the embryos were chromosome tested, more than 90% of those now have or will have a baby. These highly impressive numbers are really just the beginning of the story.
A few years ago, Dr. Lipskind began reshaping his approach to IVF with PGT and FET, and it became clear that his newer clinical protocols were making a difference for his patients. Once many of these these improvements were put into place for all ACFS patients, 91% of the first 36 patients to have embryo transfers in 2019 became pregnant.
So how do these success rates stack up against the rest of the country? Despite a mean age of 38 years-old, patients undergoing IVF/PGT with FET under Dr. Lipskind’s care were approximately 20% more likely to have a positive pregnancy test and to see a viable pregnancy on their first obstetrical ultrasound compared to women under the age of 35 undergoing the same form of IVF treatment with PGT at all other clinics reporting to SART in 2017 nationwide.
Remarkably, these pregnancy rates were accomplished without transferring excessive numbers of embryos. Dr. Lipskind’s average number of embryos transferred was 1.26 vs. 1.2 nationally. The greater difference was in the 22% better chance for implantation for each individual embryo. While a program with a lower implantation rate can transfer more embryos to achieve a reasonably high pregnancy rate, the cumulative number of babies born from the initial IVF treatment will be lower. Dr. Lipskind routinely recommends single embryo transfer in accordance with published guidelines for the transfer of chromosome-tested embryos. He strongly agrees with other experts that single embryo transfer (SET) lowers miscarriage risk and provides the best chances for a healthy liveborn child compared to the transfer of multiple chromosomally normal embryos.
So what about live birth rates? Live birth reporting lags behind pregnancy rates because of the time that it takes to collect complete information from patients who have long since left our care and delivered their babies. However, we know from previous years of data that our clinical (ultrasound-confirmed) pregnancy rates closely approximate live birth rates and provide an excellent indicator of our ability to facilitate conception and ongoing pregnancy. Later pregnancy losses affect less than 10% of pregnancies conceived by IVF with PGT.
Don’t just take our word for it. Let us show you what our IVF success rates are all about. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. We’re confident you’ll conclude that we are the team that can help you achieve the best possible outcome!
Let’s face it. When researching potential IVF clinics, patients should be paying close attention to their chosen center’s success rates. IVF clinics are required to report their outcome data to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Many clinics also pay for voluntary membership in the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) and report their statistics there.
ACFS currently reports only to the CDC because we were early adopters of IVF with PGT, embryo banking, and frozen embryo transfer and did not agree with SART’s methodologies for presenting our data. We opted out of SART in 2016 after several years of membership because it required us to report any patient who started fertility medications for IVF as a “cycle” - whether she had an embryo transfer or not. We almost never planned to do a fresh embryo transfer. This meant that, until most recently, these IVF/PGT embryo banking cycles were reported as an unsuccessful cycle with a pregnancy rate of zero. We did not feel that this reporting strategy accurately reflected the intentions of the cycle or the high level of success that we are achieving with planned frozen embryo transfer. You will also note that SART data are approximately 2 years behind at any given time. This is due to the time required to collect live birth outcome data from patients who have long-since left the treatment of the fertility clinic.
Both CDC and SART caution that their reports should not be used to compare clinics, but that’s exactly what patients and clinics do. Unfortunately, live birth rate per cycle start and per clinic reports are delayed and do not lead to a true apples-to-apples performance comparison between clinics.
Yes, clinical and laboratory expertise impact the probability of obtaining the eggs and embryos needed to complete a successful IVF cycle. If a clinic does not obtain eggs that it should have due to poor cycle management or a larger than normal proportion of embryos fail to survive blastocyst culture, embryo biopsy, cryopreservation, or thaw, then it should not offer or recommend IVF with PGT to its patients. Those clinics should stick to the basics if that’s what they do well.
On the other hand, among high-performing clinics and laboratories using newer IVF/PGT technology, patient characteristics will play a huge role in the probability of obtaining healthy embryos for transfer. This is why donor egg IVF or IVF with PGT and frozen embryo transfer (treatments that take some of the upfront egg factors out of the equation) can really start to reveal how the IVF program (and even the individual physician) can impact the likelihood of success.
It is no secret that we favor IVF with preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) and frozen embryo transfer (FET) for its advantages over standard IVF. Our average IVF patient is over 38 years old and is already “advanced maternal age” with diminished ovarian reserve. She is at a higher risk for a chromosomally abnormal conception and miscarriage, and quite frequently she has already failed IVF treatment elsewhere. While these characteristics do not serve to enhance the appearance of our statistics on a “per cycle start” basis, we delight in the opportunity to treat a diverse patient population, including those tougher patients which other clinics may refuse to take, and help them become parents. We eagerly push the scientific envelope in our field with continual improvements to our IVF process.
Without a doubt, the two most important advancements to transform the modern practice of IVF are PGT and frozen embryo transfer. Since 2011, a large majority of our patients undergoing new IVF cycle starts at ACFS have opted for IVF with chromosome testing and have frozen their embryos rather than transferring them right away. While many clinics are still doing conventional IVF with fresh embryo transfer and no chromosome testing on a regular basis, IVF with PGT and FET has become much more routine at a number of leading centers across the country.
Our team at ACFS is pleased that other clinics have caught on to this trend because we sincerely believe these technologies will help a majority of patients to have a healthy child with fewer opportunities for wasted time and heartbreak along the way. That said, it is important for prospective patients to understand that IVF at one clinic is not the same as IVF at another - even when specifically considering IVF with PGT. Transfer success rates show that some clinics and doctors consistently do it better than others.
IVF with PGT and frozen embryo transfer provides a unique opportunity to see how well an IVF doctor or clinic performs because it normalizes the single most important factor in IVF success: the developmental potential of the embryo. At most good IVF centers it’s safe to say that if you have chromosomally normal (euploid) embryo, you’ve made it more than halfway to the finish line. It is absolutely true that patient factors, as well as clinical and laboratory practices, can either limit or enhance the probability of having such embryos for transfer. They can also limit the ability of chromosomally normal embryos to result in babies. We know, based upon internal performance reviews, that we fall into the latter category of maximizing the baby-making potential for our patients because we are consistently meeting or exceeding established metrics for fertilization rates, blastocyst development, egg/embryo survival after freeze/thaw, and, above all else, pregnancy rates.
We report pregnancy rates after euploid embryo transfer because that is the statistic which most accurately reflects what we do in practice. Like others, we are unfortunately unable to force eggs to produce healthy embryos, but we can give the potentially healthy eggs their best chance. When starting with even a single healthy embryo, our results speak for themselves.
We recognize that there is no “one size fits all” approach to treatment, and will still occasionally do IVF without the latest bells and whistles. Certainly, we know that it is not necessary to chromosome test an embryo for it to make a baby. It’s either going to be a healthy embryo or not. The testing does not make it any healthier. It just helps us to select embryos that are more likely to result in the desired outcome of a healthy child.
If you want to learn more about our IVF program, call your ACFS fertility team today at (480) 630-0212.