If you had to undergo heart surgery, you would seek out the best hospital and surgeons available. If you needed cancer therapy, you’d want the doctor with the highest success rates to treat you. And yet, when it comes to infertility treatment, only 4 in 10 Americans cite success rates as their main priority when selecting a treatment facility. 

Unlike with life-threatening diseases, cost of care is the overwhelming concern for Americans when considering infertility treatment, with six out of 10 citing cost as the factor that tips the scale on decision. Is it process over outcome?

Surprising survey findings

A new Infertility Trends National Survey, published annually by Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey during National Infertility Awareness Week (April 22-28), shows that people challenged by infertility don’t feel they “can have it all.” They pit cost against reaching their family goal rather than finding an approach that serves both their fiscal and emotional needs. Of nearly 1,300 Americans ages 25-40 surveyed, only 39 percent said delivery/live birth success rates would be their primary goal when evaluating treatment options.

Infertility is a health issue, and treatments address a medical need that impacts people’s lives. Breakthrough technologies driven by fertility research are resulting in higher success rates that translate to reduced cost for couples and the healthcare system.

New technology

Specific advances include comprehensive chromosome screening; preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which screens embryos for genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis; and single embryo transfer, which virtually eliminates the chance of multiple pregnancy. All of these can lower the risk for complications including prematurity, NICU admission and perinatal death — leading to higher success rates. This translates to fewer procedures required, which in turn reduces people’s primary anxiety — cost.

Infertility care, like many healthcare treatments, is not one-size-fits-all and is not created equal from clinic to clinic. Choosing a clinic with success rates at or above the U.S. average may shorten the overall time and money needed to be successful. Not all fertility treatments and medical teams deliver the same results. Conducting a little research can have a big impact on care and chance for success.

The good news is that when facing this complex and emotional  health issue, people now, more than ever, can access information (like clinic success rates at sart.org) that leads to the most effective approaches that will help them to achieve successful pregnancies. Process or cost? There’s no reason to choose one over the other when it comes to making a care decision.