Saturday, 23 July 2011

What are the chances?

I found an online IVF success rate calculator this morning.

That was depressing way to start my weekend.

According to the calculator I have between a 19.1% and  20.3% chance of success for my next, third, IVF.

The chance varies slightly because I am still not sure what to answer for 'cause' (so I tried 'unknown', 'endometriosis' - I figure this is the closest to my fucked womb-lining - and 'irregular ovulation' - because, well, I do).

Just for shits and giggles of a Saturday morning I also did my back dated results for my previous attempts:

First IVF I had between a 27% and 29% chance of success.

By the time I had my second attempt it had dropped to 22.6%.

The problem I have with the calculator (apart from the pitiful chance it gives me) is that it bases its responses on just nine questions.

There are numerous factors that are not accounted for. It asks for your age, but not your AMH levels (which indicates the actual age of your eggs - whether you are headed for premature menopause or have the eggs of a woman ten years younger).

There are no questions about your lifestyle, if you smoke or whether you are overweight (a fairly obvious oversight I would have thought considering many NHS trusts won't let you do IVF with them until you've packed in the fags and have a BMI of less than 30).

And what about the other things we do to increase our chances of success?  The waiting to transfer a blastocyst rather than a three day old embryo, using extra progesterone, adding blood thinners, resting for three days after embryo transfer, acupuncture, brazil nuts, pineapple, lucky socks, magic talismans?

Do these count for nothing?

If you are interested the predictor is here


  1. i wouldnt even bother with the predictor. it gsve me crsp numbers and deducted a TON of percentage points after a failure. But like u said it discounted all of the changes i made on cycle three. And all the while my re said i had great chance. Turns out my re had better sense than that stupid "predictor"

  2. Well, quite, there are just so many variables and statistics are not much cop anyway, are they? Not when they apply to a real individual and that is you.

  3. I get how you feel. I had probably less than a 10% chance of getting pregnant and if I did a 1 in 69 chance my child would have a chromosomal abnormality. I listened to the statistics, with their data while it broke my heart and almost my spirit. I kept going to the acupuncturist and boiling and consuming the raw herbs he would concoct for me. I was almost when I gave it happened. Pregnancy was good, the baby is great. I got thru it, you *will* get thru this too.

    Yes the data is disheartening, however you didn't put in as much work, blood, sweat & tears into trying to have this baby, to not see this thru. Anyone who has worked as hard as you have has earned the right to say and think "I've listened to my instincts and I will win this fight".

    You're made of strong stuff Liz (even when you think you're not). Keep your course, keep your head up and most of all keep believing this will happen.

    The next line I stole...
    When the world says, "Give up,"
    Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."

  4. Yeah that was incredibly depressing. For my first try at IVF (which will be in October barring a miracle before then) I have about a 22% or 23% chance according to the calculator.

    But, yeah, it totally didn't take into account my lucky socks!!!

  5. If it makes you feel any better, I've just tried it and my chances are 3.3% of getting pregnant and I've already had children. Take heart and keep your fingers (but not your legs) crossed.

  6. Can't believe they don't make an allowance for lucky socks?!?!?

  7. Yeah it isn't a very accurate calculator, despite its claims. I talked to my RE about it, as well as to several others who took it and went through IVF and they all said the same thing, it was wrong. The calculator gave me a 20% chance of success as well, but my RE gave me an over 60% chance. I was seriously upset when I first did the calculator, but like you said, it only asks nine questions, and it certaintly isn'ta Dr.

  8. Yes, I tried the calculator a little while ago. Total. Bullshit.

  9. Well, that was encouraging. 17.8% for my upcoming IVF#2.

  10. Harrumph. I think it's a pile of shite if that's any consolation!

  11. Fascinating! I'm tempted to read the paper that explains the details to see if the algorithm makes any sense at all... I also like that you can get it as an iphone app, so you can, what? Check every day to see if anything's changed? Do it with friends while hanging out at the bar? (I couldn't resist doing mine as though I'd needed IVF, so pretending I don't have a baby, and I also got 22%. I have a feeling it's pretty useless, so don't let it discourage you if it is.)

  12. Turquoisenancy25 July 2011 at 20:38

    Have you seen this? Lottery for winning 25K of private fertility.. £20.00 per ticket!!!...

  13. Was tempted. But then superstition overcame me.

    However, I can almost assure you that I would score in the low one-digits. Calculators don't know everything (er, very hopefully).

  14. Seriously, there is so much more to IVF factors than just these nine questions. I can't remember the sample size but if one were to factor all the other factors (scientific and non-scientific) the number will probably be statistically insignificant. I hate this test b/c mine came out to be much lower than what the doctors first quoted me when I first thought about IVF. Of course, it's still a probability game but we will both win! :)


I've resisted word verification for ages but I'm getting so many spam comments at the moment that I think it is time. Sorry!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.