Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Really? Just 2%?

This article by Kathryn Roethel in the San Francisco Chronicle surprised me. It claims that of the 7.2 million couples with clinical infertility, less than 2% go for in vitro fertilization. My jaw dropped. Really? So what do the other 98% do? I'm guessing some are successful with clomid or IUI. Some give up. Some adopt, perhaps. But, really. That's going to leave quite a large number of couples yearning for a baby for many, many years.

But that's not actually the point of the article. The point was to introduce a new test developed by researchers from Stanford University that uses more than 50 parameters to estimate the chances of success for a couple who's had at least one IVF cycle. Its goal is to help couples know whether they should keep trying or move on to other options. The test isn't available yet, but they're expecting it to be available sometime in 2011.

Sounds promising.


Bea said...

That does sound like a low number.

I'd be interested to hear a comparison figure from a country where cost was taken out of the equation - where IVF was affordable due to coverage through insurance/equivalent health system. That said, I know cost isn't the only factor in these decisions, and the proportion of people going for IVF might be lower than I'd guess.

I'd also like to see it broken down as a % of patients who were recommended IVF treatment, as opposed to couples who are "clinically infertile". As you point out, "clinically infertile" doesn't mean you have a problem which requires (or suggests) an IVF solution.

All that said, this is a welcome test, but ultimately it won't tell patients The Answer they seek: will I get pregnant if I try some more? The best we can hope for is that it makes decisions about when to stop treatment easier, on average. Each couple still has to decide - as now - what sort of odds they are willing to gamble with.


Tkgrl88 said...

I just wanted to say that I read what you wrote here - http://www.fertilitystories.com/rachel.htm

and literally every word up until "We tried various medications" (I'm not quite there yet but almost!) is something I have thought or said - you took the words right out of my mouth! I am 23 and was just diagnosed with PCOS. I've read that you went on to have 6 kids and hope you have some words of advice you can offer me!! I often feel like I am going crazy! Thank You! :)

PS - What was your official diagnosis? Did you have PCOS? Endo? Unexplained infertility?

Bea said...

These all popped up on my reader recently. How have you been? Long time no hear! How's your sister? (Probably I should ask her myself!)