IVF predictor smart phone app

January 5, 2011Carole 2 Comments »

There seems to be an iphone ap for just about everything. Well, add pregnancy predictor to the list. Scientists have developed a statistical model for determining your odds of becoming pregnant with IVF based on maternal age, years trying to conceive, donor eggs or own eggs, cause of infertility if known, and past history of pregnancy or childbirth.

This application is currently available from the scientists’ company website and will be available for iphones and for Android smart phones soon. Dr. Scott Nelson of the University of Glasgow and his colleagues developed a statistical model for predicting pregnancy from IVF based on studying 144,000 European IVF cycles and their outcomes.

You can visit the company site (http://www.ivfpredict.com/) to learn more about the science and scientists behind this new product. You can download a copy of their scientific paper -click on the link called “Editorial Summary”- that describes how they created the statistical model or download a copy from their Publications tab. Their model still needs to be externally validated. To that end, they are currently providing their IVF Calculator free-on-line from their website for patients to use and a free smart phone application will also become available soon. They are seeking feedback from real patients to validate their model. If you like, you can even follow them on Twitter.

If the model is validated and is proven to be a great predictor of fertility, there are a still a couple of factors that were not considered in the model and strongly impact your chances of pregnancy, namely the expertise of the physician and fertility lab that performs the IVF. You may have high pregnancy potential using IVF but if you land in a mediocre or poor IVF program, your actual chances of pregnancy will be reduced. Patients still have to do their homework, check the CDC and SART rates for their program and interview their doctor to find the best place for their IVF. See these previous posts for practical advice on how to find a good doctor.

Finding a good fertility doctor–part one

Finding a good fertility doctor-part two

OneĀ  possible positive consequence of this IVF predictor app, especially if you take it to your doctor’s office, is that it may actually facilitate a more honest and open communication between doctors and patients. Most doctors know, based on their experience with similar patients, which patients are moreĀ  likely to have a very poor prognosis with IVF but some doctors seem incapable of stating it plainly because they don’t want to dash their patient’s hopes. However, if the app is the “bad guy” and suggests a poor prognosis based on age or eggs, you might be saved a lot of time, anguish and expense getting to more effective treatments sooner. If the doctor doesn’t need three IVF cycles to prove to you that IVF with your own eggs is unlikely to work, you will be better off and have more money in your pocket for other options. At the very least, it gives you and your doctor a lot to talk about.

© 2011, Carole. All rights reserved.

2 Responses to this entry

  • Fucking Infertility Says:

    I tried the site and it was interesting, but terrifying. I put in all my data and got a result of 11.1%! But if I only changed the cause to ANYTHING else my chances always increased to 20-30%. My cause is damaged tubes, and I can’t understand why that makes the chances so much worse. The three doctors I’ve talked to made it sound like that was the easiest cause to overcome!

  • Carole Says:

    First, don’t panic. The predictor is unvalidated- that’s why the scientists are asking for patient participation to validate the tool. Second, generally speaking, tubal factor IS the easiest problem to correct in younger women. I don’t understand why the tool is weighing tubal factor this way, unless it is confounded by another factor. Maternal age, unfortunately, because it negatively correlated with egg quality, trumps most other infertility issues. If you are under 35, maternal age shouldn’t be an issue. Also, even if the tool worked perfectly, it can only give you a “probability”, not a guarantee that your experience will be within this probability. At this stage, I wouldn’t take the results at face value. I would use them to discuss your case in detail with your physician. It’s like running a second opinion past him. Use the tool to gain insight into your doctor’s diagnostic and clinical thinking about your case. THAT might be the most useful application of the tool in determining next steps.

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