There’s no doubt that emotions can run high when you and your partner are trying to start a family together. Thanks to the wonders of modern science, IVF has become a viable option for many who need some extra help in getting a visit from the stork. But even science has its down side—multiple treatments, waiting for results, wondering if this will be the time the IVF sticks and you can start picking out curtains for the nursery.
Luckily it looks like it’s time to dial down the distress associated with fertility treatment! A recent study published in the British Medical Journal suggests a great stride forward in the form of OPIS, the Outcome Prediction In Subfertility calculator. The OPIS tools help couples measure their odds of successful IVF before even starting the treatment cycle. That means saving time, expense, and potential heartache all in one fell swoop!
A team at the University of Aberdeen studied the effectiveness of OPIS by looking at data from more than 110,000 women who used their own eggs and their partners’ sperm in over 180,000 IVF or ICSI cycles between 1999 and 2008. Results showed that 29% of the women involved had a baby after one cycle, and 43% had a baby after six cycles—all as predicted by OPIS.
“These are the first models to predict individualized chances of live birth of a course of complete IVF cycles,” the report stated. “These results are relevant not only for individual couples and their children, but also for funders and policy makers in determining access to state or insurance funded IVF.”
So what factors make for increased odds when it comes to IVF success? The study found that the most important elements were maternal age, underlying reasons for treatment, and the number of eggs collected. For example, younger women (31 years old before the first IVF cycle) were 66% more likely to have success than women who were older (37 years old before their first treatment). And couples who had been dealing with infertility for a shorter period of time (three years versus six years) were 9% more likely to have a baby.
By taking all of these elements into account, OPIS makes predictions that will not only help potential parents make decisions, but could help their doctors adjust treatment strategies to increase the odds for success.
There are actually two OPIS tools. OPIS Pre IVF determines a couple’s chances of having a baby by interpreting data gathered after one round of IVF treatment. OPIS Post IVF does this as well, but uses data gathered during the first fresh embryo transfer.
IVF can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Whenever new technology comes onto the scene, though, it offers hope that the treatment will continue to get easier and more successful for more couples.