Thursday, May 17, 2007

What are Your Odds?

Perhaps if I could detail the percentage game as well as this doctor, and the numbers would roll off my tongue as easily as the Starbucks drink menu does, I wouldn't be frustrated as often once a conversation on the subject ended? For all your sports fans keeping count, this is month 22. FWIW

by Dr. Licciardi, NYU Fertility Center
I bet that most of you don’t know. You were never told, but you should have been. I’ll go through it now. Please understand that many of the numbers are estimates.
Let’s start with trying on your own. In the first try, if you are under about 35, it is about 30%. In the second month it goes down a little, and if you are not getting pregnant, it goes lower and lower each month. In your 13th month (after about a year of trying), it’s 3%. The reason it gets lower is that if you are not getting pregnant, there is probably a reason, and your odds were really 3% in your first month. The numbers are a little higher if you’ve had a baby. They are lower if you are older. Many people are surprised by this number, but it’s been studied again and again. The goal of fertility treatment is to increase the 3%.
Clomid with insemination is 8%, lower if you are older. FSH IUI is 20%, but only 5% in women over 40. Future writings will discuss these drugs separately. Subtract a few points without the IUI. Subtract points for low sperm counts.
To help answer the question about when to go to IVF, just look at the numbers and decide. Cost is another factor to consider. On one hand, Clomid IUI is a lot cheaper than IVF, but on the other, the cost of 3 cycles of monitored Clomid IUI can add up. Many women with a normal HSG and good sperm do a few cycles of Clomid IUI, then a few cycles of FSH IUI, then IVF. However, there are no rules about this. After hearing the odds, especially when accounting for age, some quickly go to IVF. I'll discuss IVF pregnancy rates later.