Individualized decision-making in IVF: calculating the chances of pregnancy

L L van Loendersloot, M van Wely, S Repping, P M M Bossuyt, F van der Veen
Human Reproduction 2013, 28 (11): 2972-80

STUDY QUESTION: Are we able to develop a model to calculate the chances of pregnancy prior to the start of the first IVF cycle as well as after one or more failed cycles?

SUMMARY ANSWER: Our prediction model enables the accurate individualized calculation of the probability of an ongoing pregnancy with IVF.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: To improve counselling, patient selection and clinical decision-making in IVF, a number of prediction models have been developed. These models are of limited use as they were developed before current clinical and laboratory protocols were established.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This was a cohort study. The development set included 2621 cycles in 1326 couples who had been treated with IVF or ICSI between January 2001 and July 2009. The validation set included additional data from 515 cycles in 440 couples treated between August 2009 and April 2011. The outcome of interest was an ongoing pregnancy after transfer of fresh or frozen-thawed embryos from the same stimulated IVF cycle. If a couple became pregnant after an IVF/ICSI cycle, the follow-up was at a gestational age of at least 11 weeks.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Women treated with IVF or ICSI between January 2001 and April 2011 in a university hospital. IVF/ICSI cycles were excluded in the case of oocyte or embryo donation, surgically retrieved spermatozoa, patients positive for human immunodeficiency virus, modified natural IVF and cycles cancelled owing to poor ovarian stimulation, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or other unexpected medical or non-medical reasons.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Thirteen variables were included in the final prediction model. For all cycles, these were female age, duration of subfertility, previous ongoing pregnancy, male subfertility, diminished ovarian reserve, endometriosis, basal FSH and number of failed IVF cycles. After the first cycle: fertilization, number of embryos, mean morphological score per Day 3 embryo, presence of 8-cell embryos on Day 3 and presence of morulae on Day 3 were also included. In validation, the model had moderate discriminative capacity (c-statistic 0.68, 95% confidence interval: 0.63-0.73) but calibrated well, with a range from 0.01 to 0.56 in calculated probabilities.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: In our study, the outcome of interest was ongoing pregnancy. Live birth may have been a more appropriate outcome, although only 1-2% of all ongoing pregnancies result in late miscarriage or stillbirth. The model was based on data from a single centre.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: The IVF model presented here is the first to calculate the chances of an ongoing pregnancy with IVF, both for the first cycle and after any number of failed cycles. The generalizability of the model to other clinics has to be evaluated more extensively in future studies (geographical validation). Centres with higher or lower success rates could use the model, after recalibration, by adjusting the intercept to reflect the IVF success rates in their centre.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This project was funded by the NutsOhra foundation (Grant 1004-179). The NutsOhra foundation had no role in the development of our study, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. There were no competing interests.

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