In Vitro Fertilization: Live Birth Rate

When a couple faces problems relating to conception, they invariably choose various infertility treatments in order to conceive their own baby; In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is one such method of Assisted Reproductive Technology, which is used for helping sub-fertile couples. In this infertility treatment, the egg is retrieved from the woman undergoing hormonal treatment, and combined with the sperm of her male partner in vitro under a controlled laboratory environment. The success of this method depends on numerous factors such as the age of the woman, quality of embryo, sperm count and motility of sperms.

What Is Live Birth Rate?

Live birth rate refers to the number of live born babies for 100 cycles of treatment. It is one of the various measures available for deciding the success of the IVF method. The live birth rate after IVF refers to the percentage of all the IVF treatments that lead to the successful completion of the gestation period, finally resulting in the delivery of a live baby. This rate is calculated after making adjustments for miscarriage and still births; in other words, it gives an estimate of successful pregnancies.

Approaches of Live Birth Rate

Two different approaches, namely, optimistic and conservative, are used in the calculation of live birth rates. In the “optimistic” method, the birth rate is calculated on the basis of the assumption that patients who did not come back for subsequent IVF treatment had the same chances of delivering a live baby as those who received next cycle of IVF treatment.

The “conservative” approach of calculation is done on the basis of the assumption that patients who did not come back for next IVF cycle did not have live births. Cumulative live birth rate is calculated by taking the age of the woman into consideration and also the number of IVF cycles undertaken through either of these approaches.

Importance of Live Birth Rate

It is important for a couple to choose the treatment and clinic on the basis of previous successes. The projected success rate of IVF can be misleading if it's estimated on the basis of clinical pregnancies. It is more reliable to take a decision on the basis of the live birth rate, as it does not include the number of unsuccessful pregnancies. Many factors play an important role for the successful implantation of embryo and the proper growth of the fetus. The number of miscarriages and still births, which is an important factor, is also not considered in the live birth rate calculation.

Whenever you wish to go for IVF treatment, do not blindly accept the pregnancy rate projected by the clinic. Instead, do not hesitate to ask details about the method of their calculation and the live birth rate. In fact, the average of the actual cumulative live birth rate that is obtained from both the conservative and optimistic methods is taken as a reliable figure, as the repetition of IVF cycles is also taken into consideration. Moreover, do take this treatment with realistic expectations.