Thinking positively is an important part of preparing for IVF treatment; however, it’s also important to be realistic. For years many patients have approached IVF as a single chance for fulfilling their dream of having a baby. Consultants would inform patients of their personalised chance of IVF success first time round based on the clinic’s previous performance with patients of a similar age and fertility diagnosis based on a single cycle of treatment.
But recently published studies have changed this way of thinking. Doctors at the Universities of Bristol and Glasgow found that the chance of having a baby increased for women who had more than 4 embryo transfers.
The Science Behind Cumulative Cycles
The study examined the outcome of more than 250,000 cycles in the UK between 2003 and 2010.
The authors found that among women under 40, the birth rate for the first transfer was 32 percent and remained above 20 percent up to and including the fourth transfer, the researchers said. The birth rate at six transfers was 68 percent.
Among women 40 to 42, the birth rate for the first transfer was 12 percent, and 31.5 percent at six transfer. For women older than 42, birth rate was less than 4 percent and did not increase during additional cycles. The study was published in The Journal of The American Medical Association.
What does this mean for patients?
The research shows that a couple’s rate of IVF success first time round increase when they have more than one embryo transfer. In the UK the majority of NHS Trusts only fund one fresh cycle and one frozen cycle, which means patients must consider private care to increase their chances.
For many patients financing a single cycle can be a daunting prospect. We polled 100 people at the 2014 London Fertility Show about how they can finance treatment. Only 37% of patients said they would do so from their savings. Given that the majority of patients will need more than one cycle to have a child financing treatment can be a huge obstacle.
How Can We Help?
One of the aims of Access Fertility is to encourage clinics and patients to take a cumulative cycle approach to treatment. We have created two programmes which provide patients with fixed, discounted fees for multiple cycles. One of the programmes also offers a refund if a patient does not have a live birth at the end of their treatment programme.
“Many patients hang their hopes on one single episode of care i.e. one cycle of IVF,” Managing Director Ash Caroll-Miller said. “The reality in most cases is that multiple cycles will be required in order to achieve your dream of having a baby. What these cumulative data shows is that having multiple cycles significantly improves the likelihood that you will have baby.
“These data reinforce our belief at Access Fertility that planning for the possibility of multiple cycles makes sense. We are committed to helping patients access the amount of treatment they need whilst reducing their financial risk and having the peace of mind they have a plan in place.”
A Second Study Supports the Findings
A second study was completed by the University of Aberdeen and examined more than 170,000 women who had treatment between 1992 and 2007 in the UK. It also found that a woman’s chances increased quite significantly when she had three fresh IVF cycles and associated frozen
With more and more NHS trusts reducing their funding for IVF, patients are having to look at private options. Access Fertility programmes can help patients increase their chance of having a baby and provide them with a defined cost at the outset of treatment.