The Fertility Society of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has cautiously welcomed the launch of the Your IVF Success website as a tool to help patients seeking or undergoing in vitro fertilisation to predict their chances of having a baby.
FSANZ President, Professor Luk Rombauts, said the website would hopefully help patients to make more informed choices about IVF treatment based on their own clinical circumstances compared with actual data collected from Australian IVF units.
People accessing the website and its innovative patient predictor tool can enter information including their age, specific infertility diagnosis, previous IVF cycles and outcomes.
It will calculate likely IVF success rates based on the entered individual information combined with clinical data provided by the Australian clinics annually to the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD) which is managed by the University of New South Wales National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU).
Clinics are required to provide data to ANZARD as part of their obligations under the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC) Code of Practice.
The FSANZ is the peak body representing scientists, doctors, researchers, nurses, consumers and counsellors in reproductive medicine in Australia and New Zealand.
Professor Rombauts said the Your IVF Success website was not designed as an alternative to patients discussing fertility concerns with their medical specialist.
“However, it provides an informative, interactive process to help them make decisions to discuss with their treating doctor about whether they should start IVF or embark on another cycle of treatment,” he explained.
Professor Rombauts said the FSANZ supported greater transparency in the reporting of outcomes from IVF units.
“However, it is important to point out that comparisons between units should be treated with a degree of caution because in many circumstances units will be treating different patient populations,” he said.
“For example, some units may see a higher proportion of older women seeking IVF, whose chances of success are more limited, or women who have previously failed to conceive after IVF and are now seeking a second opinion.
“The Your IVF Success website and its patient predictor tool is a world-leading initiative supported by trusted, cumulative clinical data reported by IVF units.
“The FSANZ welcomes the Federal Government’s further funding commitment to assess the performance of the website.
“It is possible that consumer feedback on the website will determine further measures that may be implemented with the assessment of vital information such as adverse outcomes and measures of patient-centred care.”
Professor Rombauts emphasised the importance of people experiencing infertility to discuss their concerns with their fertility specialist.
“There is no substitute for having an in-depth conversation with a trained fertility specialist regarding the treatment options and likely pregnancy outcomes.
“The Australian patient support group, AccessAustralia also provides a useful fact sheet on its website – access.org.au – to help people ask their specialist the right questions to help ensure they receive the best possible care,” he added.
Professor Luk Rombauts is available for interview via Kim O’Dea firstname.lastname@example.org