Online tool calculates chances of IVF success

Researchers from Glasgow and Bristol universities have produced a calculator that is claimed to give the most accurate reading yet on the potential success of IVF treatment.

Using data from more than 144,000 IVF cycles, Glasgow’s Prof Scott Nelson and Bristol’s Prof Debbie Lawlor developed a mathematical model that allows couples to gather an accurate prediction of their chance of a live birth with IVF. In conjunction with Dr Tom Kelsey they then transformed the complex formula into a simple online calculator.

Debbie Lawlor, professor of epidemiology at Bristol University, said: ’The IVF calculator is not only of use to couples but also to the NHS to ensure appropriate use of resources. The sheer scale of the data which we analysed is the key to the accuracy of this model. The more data you look at, the more accurate the predictions become.’

The launch of the calculator was welcomed by Prof Gordon Smith, head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Cambridge University.

He said: ’This model for predicting the outcome of IVF has exploited a valuable collection of routinely collected data, applies sophisticated statistical modelling and the output provides women considering IVF with an understandable and quantitative estimate of their chances of success. It is a great resource.’

The calculator assesses the woman’s age, number of years trying to get pregnant, whether she is using her own eggs, cause of infertility, number of previous IVF cycles and whether she has previously been pregnant or had a baby to obtain accurate prediction.

The free calculator has been made available on the website and is also in the process of being turned into a smartphone app, to make the information as widely accessible as possible.