Just one person's tale to tell....

I am a 35-year-old journalist who has decided there is no better way to overcome difficult times than to write--feel free to post, comment or just read along. This is my blog about the struggles I endured of trying to conceive. For all those out there who are experiencing the same difficulties--sometimes it is nice to hear that you are not alone.
"I have not failed 10000 times; I have successfully found 10000 ways that do not work." ~ Thomas Edison

Friday, March 7, 2014

Predicting if IVF is for you

One-minute test to tell a woman her IVF chances 'is 99% accurate'

By: Fiona Macrae

 A 60-second test which predicts couples’ chances of having a baby through IVF has been created by scientists.
The free calculator, which is available online, uses the answers to nine simple questions to work out the odds of fertility treatment succeeding.
With the results said to be almost 100 per cent accurate, the test could save couples the emotional and financial pain of going through repeated treatments only for them to fail.
Women with a lower likelihood of becoming mothers could be told early on about tweaks to their treatment that could increase their chances.
Others could be counselled to think about alternative options such as adoption.
Glasgow and Bristol University researchers obtained background information on almost 150,000 IVF treatments carried out in the UK between 2003 and 2007.
They used this to work out which factors were most important in becoming pregnant. From this, they created the IVFpredict test.
The nine questions take as little as a minute to answer in total and the results are up to 99 per cent accurate, the scientists say.
This is despite them not including information about lifestyle factors such as smoking and weight.
Those given low odds may be able to increase their chances as much as three-fold by opting for donor eggs or ICSI, in which sperm is injected directly into the egg, the journal PLoS Medicine reports.
Professor Scott Nelson, a researcher from Glasgow University, said: ‘The test provides critical information on the likely outcome for couples deciding whether to undergo IVF – up until now estimates of success have not been reliable.
‘Not every attempt at IVF is successful.
‘In the U.S. and the UK, IVF is successful in about a third of women under 35 years old but in only 5 to 10 per cent of women over 40. 
‘However, there are many other factors in addition to age which can alter your chance of success and clinics don’t usually take these into account when counselling couples or women.’ Fertility treatment can cost between £3,000 and £15,000 per course. But fewer than one in four IVF treatments leads to a birth.
Although other calculators exist, they are either less accurate or involve such intricate data about subjects such as hormone levels that they can only been done in a doctor’s surgery.
Debbie Lawlor, professor of epidemiology at the University of Bristol, said: ‘The IVF calculator is not only of use to the couples themselves but also to health care funders such as the NHS to ensure appropriate use of resources.
‘The sheer scale of the data we analysed is the key to the accuracy of this model. The more data you look at, the more accurate the predictions become.’ 
But Professor Bill Ledger, a leading fertility doctor and member of the fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, urged caution.
He said: ‘While the test will give an individual some idea of their chances, it is not much use unless put alongside data from the clinic the woman attends.’
Some clinics have much higher – or lower – success rates than others, he said. The test is available at ivfpredict.com