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New test predicts the success of IVF treatment

More than 7 million American women have fertility problems, according to CDC figures. A small number of these women turn to in vitro fertilization to become pregnant, and those who have unsuccessful attempts face the difficult decision of whether to do it again.

With that in mind, researchers here developed a test that uses clinical data from past attempts to help predict a woman's chance of having a baby through another IVF cycle. They just published a study showing that their method is 1,000 times more accurate than the general, age-based guidelines (e.g. "Since you're 38, your chance of success is 33 percent") currently used to counsel patients.

The test isn't clinically available yet, but senior author Mylene Yao, MD, and statistician Wing Wong, PhD, have founded a company to develop and market this and other prognostic tests. The hope, Yao recently told me, is that a personalized prediction of success can help guide a patient's decision about continuing treatment.

Photo by Jon Ovington

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