By Paul J.O'Brien B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Adv. Dip. OBB, Cert Clin. Med, Cert.CHM, M.AFPA, M.ETCMA, M.C.Th.A.
What are the real IVF Success Rates? The IVF Success rates of a clinic are the most important number you need to know if considering IVF. What I am going to share with you, however, is a dirty little secret many IVF clinics try to hide. The numbers they give you are NOT the ones you need to know.
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology compiled the data from 32 European Countries, from 998 fertility clinics on 117,318 IVF cycles and 232,844 ICSI cycles carried out in 2006.
Now, let me talk about that for a second. That is the Pregnancy Rate. Most IVF clinics will publish the pregnancy rate. However this is NOT the number you need to look for. What you want to know is their LIVE BIRTH RATE. This is the number that is important.
The Live birth rate tells you how many babies were actually born. Sadly, miscarriage is an increased risk for IVF, and I think of nothing worse than going through IVF only to lose the baby...the goal is not to get pregnant, the goal is to have a happy healthy baby at the end of that process, and that is always my goal.
So, what is the LIVE BIRTH RATE from the 2006 assessment?
Live birth rates per egg retrieval were 21.5% in IVF cycles.
Live birth rates per egg retrieval were 18.4% in IVF-ICSI cycles. (1)
This tracks with the worldwide statistics. In 2004 a study collected the results of 52 countries, and 2,184 fertility clinics.
The live birth rate was just 20.2%. (2)
Obviously this is terrible.
Patients have the expectation that they will conceive with one cycle of the IVF. But that is rarely the case. In fact, research shows that women, especially those over 35, will require multiple IVF cycles, in some cases up to 10 cycles of treatment (3).
In the US, an average “fresh” IVF cycle costs $12,000, before medications, which typically run another $3,000 to $5,000. Any some women are expected to do this up to 10 times? It’s appalling....and there is a BETTER WAY!
I spend a lot of my time in clinic and with my coaching clients supporting patients going through IVF, IUI and ICSI. Most importantly however I address the underlying factors preventing them conceiving and fix these issues - issues that IVF clinics don’t care about or don’t know about. I discover why IVF didn’t work and I resolve it.
This has led to a live birth rate in 2016 in clinic of 82%. (4)
Why am I able to blow the success rate in Europe and worldwide out of the water?
Because I take a different approach to fertility and reproductive health.
The way I view infertility, and the reason I have such a high success rate is because my view of fertility is drastically different in its approach. While there may, or may not be problems with the underlying structure of the reproductive mechanism, my goal is to uncover the underlying pattern of disharmony between organs that is preventing conception. This can be both physical and emotional in nature, as the Chinese Medical system I practice encompasses both.
I look at health and illness differently than a typical Western doctor may. I approach fertility through a holistic view point. A holistic form of care is one that focuses on:
Normally when we think of holistic medicine, we think of the connection between body, mind, and spirit. While this is certainly one dimension of any truly holistic paradigm, holism implies a much broader usage as well. For instance, when diagnosing your various health issues, I will look at:
Each of these factors makes up you your current level of health. Anything that we have attracted into our lives that compounds or worsens our current health issues needs to be considered as a potential avenue for therapeutic intervention from a holistic perspective. In this sense, I am a health or life coach as much as I am a healer or a doctor.
This is how I increase IVF success rates...through accounting for your individual and unique makeup...this is the true beauty of holistic medicine. In Western medicine for instance you may have noticed that there are three or four medications that are used for all kinds of anxiety and depression. Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, etc. are standard treatment options regardless of the patient's specific energetic, physiological, and emotional makeup. And in many instances these medications are even prescribed for conditions for which they were not originally intended.
By contrast in holistic medicine, no one is every just placed in a box and given a cookie cutter treatment. Each problem is assessed on the basis of that individual. For example take conditions such as anxiety and depression. In TCM these are considered generic labels, that in no way capture the unique dynamics and subtleties of the individual. An experience of grief-based depression due to the loss of a loved one is dramatically different to the depression felt because of internalized anger and the frustration caused by an inability to express it – yet in Western medicine, these two very different patients would likely receive the same medication.
The same is true in the treatment of fertility problems. Every woman is different. Her challenges are for her to overcome and as such a personalised diagnosis and specific and unique path of treatment must be personalised to her. The whole of a person must be assessed, not just a narrow analysis of a specific problem and then administration of a predetermined treatment, as is done with western medicine. Each individual is different with different strength and weakness that must be accounted for.
Once this is understood we can then apply an appropriate treatment. And the evidence for increasing IVF success rates is well documented in proven treatments supported by independent clinical studies. For example The Journal of Sterility, Vol. 77, No.4, April 2002, published an article entitled, “Influence of Acupuncture on the Pregnancy Rate of Patients Who Undergo Assisted Reproduction Therapy” which showed an increase in IVF success rates and the chances of conception by up to 60%.
A 2004 study conducted by the Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Center in Colorado found that 51% of women who underwent both IVF and acupuncture treatment at the same time became pregnant, while only 36% of those who only underwent IVF did. The latter group also had higher rates of miscarriage stillbirth (20%) compared to those women who had received acupuncture (8%).
If you’re trying for a family or planning on going through IVF, ICSI IUI, or have been through failed rounds, from poor egg growth, fertilization failure, sperm quality issues, miscarriage etc, and want to give this round the best possible shot of success and dramatically improve your fertility and reproductive health, to have a happy healthy baby, then …