New Australian research indicates that IVF may spare patients considerable money & heartache
SAN RAMON, CALIFORNIA, May 26, 2010 – Spurred by recent research findings, northern California fertility specialists are edging away from a traditional and well-known infertility treatment – artificial insemination – saying newer and improving in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology tends to cost less and work better in the long run, ultimately saving patients time, money, and heartache.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), often called artificial insemination, has been a popular infertility treatment choice for decades because it’s a simple procedure with few side effects. One IUI also costs far less than a single round of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Studies conducted at the University of New South Wales showed that patients who began their infertility treatment with so-called “fast track IVF” got pregnant almost one month faster on average, and spent almost $5,000 (USD) less than those who used conventional protocols (starting with IUI).
“This research supports the 2008 Dartmouth study that signified a course change from treatment that begins with artificial insemination combined with hormone treatment,” said Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area (RSC) reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Mary Hinckley. “In many cases, IVF affords shortcuts to pregnancy that mean less emotional and financial drain on patients who can expect higher success rates. The group who used IVF also had fewer multiple births, which we consider a significant safety factor for mothers and babies.”
Physician confidence in fast-track IVF is further boosted by the increased efficacy of IVF, which offered a national average pregnancy rate of 35 percent in 2007 for women of all ages, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control. RSC’s pregnancy rate topped the national average with 59 percent pregnancy success in 2007. Though less costly than IVF, IUI is roughly half as effective, offering only a 9 percent to 15 percent pregnancy success rate.
IVF procedures reduce chances of multiple births through elective single embryo transfer (eSET), in which the physician transfers just one embryo at a time to the uterus of each patient. “We’ve had great success with IVF in having just one baby at a time. But with inseminations it’s more unpredictable,” said Hinckley.
Because the medication used in conjunction with IUI causes so many eggs to develop, the chance of multiples is greater. Multiple-gestation pregnancies pose increased risk of gestational diabetes, bleeding and preeclampsia to mothers, and infants born as multiples are often premature with low birth weight, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, birth defects, and death. Twins are routinely hospitalized twice as long as singletons and incur higher medical costs.
The new research, published in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (May 4, 2010), studied 272 couples with mild female or male fertility were under age 39 for their first treatment. The study found that 27.6 percent of couples undergoing conventional treatment achieved pregnancy compared to 39.2 percent who utilized fast-track protocols (and had a 40 percent better chance of achieving pregnancy in the first year of treatment). The conventional group took 69 days and $37,832.90 (USD) to achieve pregnancy compared to 44 days and $31,554.23 (USD) for the fast track group.
Hinckley said RSC doctors offer Fast Tack IVF for qualified patients for whom Clomid has failed, including couples diagnosed with unexplained infertility in which the woman is under 40 years of age, as well as older women between the ages of 38 and 43 who have few fertile years remaining.
About ATTAIN Fertility Centers Refund Program
ATTAIN Fertility Centers Refund Program operates fertility centers and vein care clinics in the United States. The Company supports its provider networks with state-of-the art information systems; marketing and payer contracting; financial planning, reporting and analysis; organizational planning and development; quality assurance initiatives; human resources administration; and purchasing services. ATTAIN Fertility Centers Refund Program also offers consumer treatment-financing programs. The ATTAIN Fertility Centers Refund Program consists of 31 contracted centers in 101 locations across the United States, including 171 physicians and Ph.D. scientists. One of every five IVF procedures in the U.S. is performed in an ATTAIN Fertility Centers Refund Program fertility practice.