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WHY WE NEED A FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON IVF STATS

WHY WE NEED A FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON IVF STATS

Dr Hana Visnova specialist in assisted reproduction and medical director of the IVF Cube clinic. At the end of June, The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) released new stats on the success rates for assisted reproduction across Europe.  And let’s just say they didn’t paint a flattering picture.  Media outlets commented on

Dr Hana Visnova specialist in assisted reproduction and medical director of the IVF Cube clinic.

At
the end of June, The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
(ESHRE) released new stats on the success rates for assisted reproduction
across Europe. 

And
let’s just say they didn’t paint a flattering picture. 

Media
outlets commented on how ‘IVF and ICSI is becoming less successful throughout
Europe’. 

And
ESHRE said the data they’d collected – from 800,000 treatment cycles performed
in 2016, with 165,000 babies born – suggested ‘success rates after IVF or ICSI
appear to have reached a peak’ and are ‘indicative of a slight decline in
pregnancy rate’. 

But,
to me, that’s wholly unhelpful. 

We
have to interpret these figures correctly and while we also bear in mind the
real-world backdrop in which these treatments take place. 

And
it’s wrong to say that IVF and ICSI is becoming ‘less effective’ – because
facilities should be praised for keeping pace with a rapidly ageing
population. 

Despite
extensive research, new methodologies, new incubators and new drugs, clinics
are facing the problem of treating a much older generation than in previous
years.

The
average age of patients has increased dramatically over the past five years in
particular. 

At
my own clinic, the average age of patients was 36 years old in 2015, where it’s
now 41.5 years old. That’s a huge increase. 

Therefore
any IVF or ICSI success rates announced last year need to be viewed in light of
the increased difficulties assisted reproduction practitioners face. 

If
anything, we’re outperforming expectations to stay ahead of the curve.

Fertility
in females and males declines as we age. This is a simple biological
fact. 

We
don’t have the same fertility at 40 as we do aged 25 or 30. 

With
increased age we also see patients with a higher body mass index and who are
less healthy than those younger in years. 

This
also impacts on an IVF clinic’s success rates.

As
for the ESHRE release, there’s at least something we can all agree on – and
that’s how IVF cycles involving frozen embryos are increasing. 

Nowadays,
the preferred method of fertility treatment is a single embryo transfer. 

And
vitrification, or fast freezing, has made this possible as it gives us a very
good survival rate of embryos.

The
trend is to perform just a single embryo transfer to avoid the risk of multiple
gestation, to eliminate the risks for mothers and children. 

Ten
years ago, vitrification was not well established or used in a routine
way. 

We
just had a slow method of freezing, which was less efficient in terms of embryo
survival and pregnancy rates.

But at my own clinic last year, we had around 733 cycles and 780 fresh cycles, which shows how important this technology is to us.”

Dr Hana Visnova

Dr Hana Visnova

Dr Hana Visnova is medical director at IVF CUBE fertility clinic. She is a specialist in fertility, assisted reproduction, gynaecology and obstetrics.
She treats hundreds of patients from the UK each year.



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