Fertility success increases, says CDC

Fertility-enhanced births — those incorporating assisted reproductive technology (ART) — increased 25% nationwide in one year, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The increase, CDC officials speculate, could be attributed to better reporting of ART. The ART report does not include the use of fertility drugs, however. "It’s premature to draw too many conclusions about a trend between last year and this year," says Lynne Wilcox, MD, director of the CDC’s division of reproductive health.

The 1996 Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates report, based on pregnancies begun as late as December 1996, was published in conjunction with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), its affiliate, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology in Birmingham, AL, and the national infertility patient advocacy group RESOLVE, located in Somerville, MA.

Knowing what is included in the report and how your fertility center compares is important because the information was released to the public, which is a requirement of the Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act of 1992.

While the report does not rank or grade clinics because some specialize in more difficult fertility cases with lower success rates, it does include other data. The "take-home baby rate," for example, is included from the responses of 300 fertility clinics, as is the multiple-birth rate, and the number of embryos each clinic used.

The information regarding clinic success rates should not be a sole factor for patients when choosing a fertility clinic, experts say. This is an important report that is the only one of its kind in the medical field. But it’s just one tool that can be used by patients to make decisions about their treatment and expected outcome, notes J. Benjamin Younger, MD, executive director of ASRM.

"This report represents an alliance between the government, the medical professional, and the consumer and is truly unique. However, it is only one piece of information that patients can utilize in making a decision about where to get their treatment. The report should not be used to compare one program to another and should not be used as a ranking because patient medical characteristics and treatment approaches vary from clinic to clinic," states David Adamson, MD, president of ASRM affiliate group the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.

Sources

For more information regarding the 1996 Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates report, contact:

Society for Reproductive Medicine, 1209 Montgomery Highway, Birmingham, AL 35216-2809. Telephone: (205) 978-5000, Fax: (205) 978-5005, E-mail: asrm@ asrm.org. World Wide Web: http://www.asrm.org.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, attn: Lisa Swenarski de Herrera. Telephone: (770) 488-5328. The report also is available at the CDC’s site on the World Wide Web: www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/drh/art96/

RESOLVE, 1310 Broadway, Somerville MA 02144. Telephone: (617) 623-0744. E-mail: resolveinc@aol.com. World Wide Web: http://www.resolve.org.