My patient asked me this interesting question by e-mail. " If the success rate of IVF is only 40 percent , is it really worth my spending all that money on the treatment, when the chances of failure are 60 percent?"
I understand that IVF is an expensive treatment and that the risk of failure in an IVF treatment cycle is a major mental and emotional hurdle in every infertile couple’s mind. Being infertile is bad enough , without having to spend all that time , money and energy in an IVF cycle , and then ending up with nothing ! This just makes a bad situation even worse.
However, I felt the question she was asking was irrelevant. The question she really needs to be asking is - What are my chance of success if I don't do IVF? Now both her tubes were blocked , and she had bilateral hydrosalpinges, which means that her chance of having a baby without IVF treatment were zero. Now anything has to be better than zero , which is why I would encourage her to at least consider the IVF option, rather than reject it out of hand, just because the success rate was not 100% or because it was expensive.
Patients need to formulate their own plan of action and to consider all the repercussions of their choices. While the financial consequences are quite easy to determine , you need to factor in the emotional consequences as well . While failing an IVF cycle does put a dent in your bank balance and does cause your heart to break on a short-term basis, over the long term it can still give you peace of mind that you tried your best , and did not leave any stone unturned in your quest for a baby.
It's important for patients to have realistic expectations and understand what the technology can offer them - and equally what it can't. It’s true that treatment can be expensive , but a baby is priceless !