New report shows IVF success rates could be manipulated

A new report that looked at how fertility clinics report their success rates has found couples shopping around for the "best" IVF options could be misled.  

Published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the study showed IVF success rates can be manipulated - making them difficult to interpret correctly. 

William, who's four-and-a-half months old, was conceived through IVF. His mum Amy Rodden and her husband had been trying to fall pregnant for a year when they were referred to a fertility specialist.  

"We knew that was our only option if we wanted to try and start a family," she told Newshub.

The process worked quickly for them - William was born through their first try.  

"We know we are so incredibly lucky," Rodden says.

Her GP recommended a fertility specialist but for some who are looking at their IVF options, choosing a clinic isn't always straightforward. 

The new study looked at how different fertility clinics display their success rates and found the results can be skewed.  

"We found 32 different ways of reporting success rates on those 20 websites," says Obstetrics and Gynaecology Professor Cindy Farquhar.

Fertility Associates displays several success rates on its website - including the chance of having a baby from the beginning of IVF, not just for those who are lucky enough to get to the embryo stage of the process. 

"I think some clinics have been quite manipulative to try and inflate their success rates and therefore encourage more people to come and see them," says Fertility Associates reproductive specialist Mary Birdsall. 

Birdsall says some clinics can even make success rates seem extraordinary by reporting pregnancy rates, without separating women who have used donor eggs from women who have used their own. 

"The question should be, 'when I start this IVF cycle, what are my chances of walking out of this clinic with a baby'?"