There are some questions which IVF doctors cannot answer
accurately, and one of these is the commonest questions patients ask - How many
IVF cycles will it take for me to get pregnant?
Patients know that IVF doesn't have a 100% pregnancy rate
and that they need to be patient. They are prepared to repeat the cycles, and
this is a perfectly valid question to ask , because this helps them to prepare
mentally and financially for a journey which can be taxing and stressful.
However, the frustrating reality is doctors can't answer this
simple query accurately for the individual patient. Yes , we can provide group
statistics and offer cumulative conception rates for a group of patients. Thus,
we know that if 100 patients do 3 IVF cycles, then 80% of them will get
pregnant, we don't know what the individual patient's chances are.
Now patients don't really care what happens to the other
patients in the clinic - they only want to know what their own chances are.
This is a variable which depends on multiple factors, including their age,
their egg equality, their endometrial receptivity and other biological
intangibles we still can't measure.
This is why when we counsel patients,we tell them what the average success rates
in our clinic are, but we tell them that we can provide a much more precise
estimate of what their specific chances are only after we have done their first
IVF cycle, and can assess their embryo quality properly.