Fertility Treatment Calculator May Help Predict Pregnancy
Posted 2/22/2017 by UHBlog
A new calculator may help an infertile woman shape her expectations of getting pregnant when undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).
“The online calculator, developed by researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, is used before a woman has her first IVF treatment and then after one IVF cycle is completed,” says infertility specialist Brooke Rossi, MD. “Results from the data received from the calculator provides a percentage score on the likelihood that an IVF treatment will be successful.”
IVF is a process in which an egg is removed from the woman's ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized egg, called an embryo, is then returned to the woman's womb to grow and develop. The process can be carried out using a woman's eggs and a man's sperm, or eggs and/or sperm from donors.
According to Dr. Rossi, an infertility diagnosis does not mean that a woman will never have a baby.
“It means that getting pregnant may take more time than average and that medical treatment, such as fertility pills, intrauterine insemination or IVF, may be necessary,” she says.
The IVF calculator looks at a number of factors to determine the odds of success before a woman undergoes her first IVF treatment, including:
- The mother's age
- Her infertility diagnosis, such as problems with the fallopian tubes, absent ovulation, endometriosis, male factor or unexplained
- Previous pregnancy status
- How long she has been trying to get pregnant
If the first IVF cycle is not successful, the calculator uses different questions to determine the success of the next round of IVF treatment. These are:
- How many eggs were collected during IVF treatment
- Number of embryos transferred
- The stage and day at which embryos were transferred to the uterus
- Whether embryos were frozen
“The reason why this second IVF treatment calculator asks different questions than the first calculator is because we have gathered important information from the initial IVF treatment, which helps guide us for future IVF treatment,” Dr. Rossi says.
The definition of infertility is the inability to of a woman 34 years old or younger, to conceive after twelve or more months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse. At age 35 and older that definition changes to an inability to conceive after only six months.
Dr. Rossi says the study that created the calculator confirmed the fact that younger women have higher odds of a successful live birth than older women.
“Women 34 years old and younger have more embryos to free after an IVF cycle, making them more likely to become pregnant,” she says.
Even though the IVF calculator has much potential, “it's new and not yet the standard of care,” says Dr. Rossi. “We are beginning to refer to it, but not using it on every patient.”
Women who are interested in learning more about the calculator can search online at the University of Aberdeen site. Dr. Rossi cautions patients considering IVF not to try to calculate their odds of getting pregnant by using the calculator on their own.
“You need a trained clinician to fully interpret the calculator results and to make the correct determination of a successful outcome following an IVF treatment,” she says. “Plus, there may be other factors not considered by the calculator that may impact a woman’s chance of having a baby.”
Brooke Rossi, MD is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist in the University Hospitals Fertility Center at University Hospitals Ahjua Medical Center. You can request an appointment with Dr. Rossi or any other doctor online.