Couples can find out their chances of having a baby over multiple cycles of IVF treatment, using a new online calculator. University of Aberdeen researchers, who developed the tool, said it would help couples shape their expectations and plan their treatments. The online calculator is based on data from more than 113,000 women who have gone through IVF. A woman’s age is the most important factor in her chances of having a baby. After the age of 30, a couple’s chances start to decline and keep on decreasing the longer the woman is unable to conceive. There are other calculators that predict IVF success, but this is the first to give estimates for up to six IVF cycles and factor in the use of frozen embryos. Couples can find out their chances both before and after their first IVF treatment – depending on the number of eggs that are collected, the health of the embryos transferred and the number of embryos collected for freezing.
David McLernon, research fellow in medical statistics at the University of Aberdeen, spent four years setting up the calculator using data from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which collects information on all licensed fertility treatments in the UK. He said the calculator should not be used by couples to decide whether or not they should have IVF treatment. Instead, he said, it would help “keep them better informed and help them prepare emotionally and financially for their treatments”. And he said the tool could be used by clinicians, funders and policymakers too. Mr McLernon’s research in developing the calculator was not able to account take account of the woman’s BMI, ethnicity, smoking status or alcohol intake in calculating IVF success – which can also affect fertility.