For Immediate Release
January 19, 2000


Jim Wetmore

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New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows success rates
for 335 U.S. fertility centers. Report also cautions that infertile couples should not
make decisions about their treatment based solely on "the numbers."
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Many couples use published success rates to find a fertility specialist.
The American Infertility Association urges patients to also ask about
the age of patients and types of infertility treated.


NEW YORK, NY - A new report issued today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the success rates of 335 fertility clinics across the United States. The report, based on data collected for 1997, reports information gathered from centers that offer advanced reproductive technology (ART) procedures used to treat infertility.

"While these ratings may be useful, there are many other factors that infertile couples should also consider," according to Pamela Madsen, the executive director of The American Infertility Association (AIA). "For instance, depending upon a patient's age, success rates can vary greatly from center to center. Some centers may have better success rates using donor egg. Simple statistics cannot tell the whole story," added Ms. Madsen.

"Caution must be exercised when interpreting published success rates, as they do not accurately reflect the inclusion or exclusion of the most challenging IVF patients, for example: women older than 41-42 years, those with diminished ovarian function at any age (high FSH, low response) or those with multiple prior IVF failures," said Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, director, The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility, professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Since 1981, when assisted reproductive technology was first used in the United States, advanced treatments have greatly increased the ability to treat the more severe causes of infertility. In addition to success rates, the AIA suggests that patients also learn about the following important issues when choosing a fertility center:


  • Find out how many patients a center has treated who are your age.

  • Ask if the center has experience treating patients with your cause of infertility.

  • Make sure that you have access to the treatment that may be necessary for both male
    and female factor infertility.

  • Because time is your enemy in infertility treatment, find out if a center has a waiting
    list for any of the services you may need.

  • Recognize that some centers may have lower success rates because they treat many
    patients with the more severe forms of infertility.

  • Ask about the availability of other services you may need, including: psychotherapy
    and insurance screening.

"All couples should realize that selecting a fertility specialist based solely on the CDC's published success rates could cause patients to choose a center that is not best suited to meet their needs," said Ms. Madsen.

The American Infertility Association, headquartered in New York City, is an independent national nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting women and men facing decisions related to family building and reproductive health - from prevention and treatment to social and psychological concerns - and to forward these causes through advocacy, education, awareness building and research funding. The mission of the AIA is to serve as a lifetime resource for men and women needing reproductive information and support.

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