Tuesday, September 02, 2014

What are my chances of getting pregnant

Patients often ask me - What are my chances of getting pregnant if I do IVF ? The honest answer to that question really is - I don't know ; and it really doesn't matter . Let me explain why .

There is a difference between short-term thinking and long-term thinking . No one can predict the chances of success for an individual patient in a single cycle. While we can tell you what the success rate in our clinic is, we cannot reliably extrapolate these figures to individual patients.

Patients need to accept the fact that we are not fortunetellers , and they need to learn to be able to live with this uncertainty . The quality of our answer will improve once we have done a treatment cycle for you, because we can then see how well you respond and how good the quality of your embryos is. The better the data we have, the better the quality of our answers.

The reason it doesn't matter is that while we cannot predict what the outcome of a single cycle will be , for the individual patient our ability to be able to tell them what their chances of pregnant over 3-4 cycle is much better. We are able to provide a much more accurate estimate when we have more data. This is a fundamental law which is true in any biological system .

There is another reason why it doesn't matter . Whether I quote a figure of 20% or 60% , this guesstimate is completely immaterial and irrelevant for the individual patient. If she doesn’t get pregnant , her success rate is 0% ; and if she gets pregnant , it's 100% ( or even 200% if she has
twins !)

Finally, the reason it doesn't matter is that if she chooses to do nothing ( her default option) , her chances of getting pregnant would be far less as compared to her doing IVF . The one certainty is that doing IVF will improve her chances of having a baby , no matter whether that increase is 5% or
40% .

Patients need to be sophisticated enough to understand the limitations of our answers. When asked what their chances of success are, most IVF doctors are  happy to pull out an arbitrary figure out of their hat, in order to keep their patients happy – and the higher this number, the happier the patient, even though the number has no bearing with reality. This is why clinics plays so many games with their success rates , in order to keep their patients happy. However, the truth is that Garbage in – Garbage Out, and these figures have no relevance to the honest answer to your specific question which is – what are my chances of getting pregnant  ?

Inaccurate figures can be harmful to your health ! While quoting a number can provide a false sense of security to the patient, this number means very little for the individual patient. The overall clinic’s IVF success rate is a useful metric to use when comparing clinics, but it is of limited predicting value for the individual patient.

Need help ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at http://www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so I can guide you sensibly ?

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