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Online test predicts chances of success with IVF

Online test predicts chances of success with IVF
May 16, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than seven million people struggle with infertility in this country. Treatments are now widely available, but they can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Now a company based in Los Altos is offering women a personalized predictor of their chances of success with IVF.

Lukas is 5 months old and is the baby his mom always dreamed of, but having a child proved far more challenging than she and her husband ever imagined.

"We started trying about 10 months after we were married," says Millessa Oberhauser. "We were both pretty young so we didn't think it would be hard. After about a year we started wondering why it wasn't happening."

After consulting with specialists, it became clear that in vitro fertilization would be their best shot at starting a family.

"I'm a person who needs a lot of information before making a decision, especially something like IVF, which is a huge decision, I wanted all the information possible," says Oberhauser.

Her research led her to Univfy -- an online, personalized prediction test to determine a woman's likelihood of having success with IVF.

"It compares it against data from tens of thousands of IVF cycles that have already been performed with known outcomes, and it gives a very accurate read on what are the chances of success for this patient," explains Mylene Yao, M.D., the co-founder and CEO of Univfy. "We've always known there are more factors than age that impact a patient's chance of success."

Through data mining and advanced statistical analysis, Yao offers potential IVF patients some real numbers to consider before moving forward. For the pre-IVF test, users go online and enter their age, height, weight, smoking status and some basic fertility numbers as well as some basic information from their partner. In return a woman receives a "probability of live birth."

In this case, the numbers add up to a 47 percent chance, a prognosis that's in the top third of patients in terms having a successful IVF cycle. It's information that helps put the odds in perspective.

"It's really hard sometimes for patients to understand the statistics," says Lynn Westphal, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist at the Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center. Westphal sees Univfy as a way to help patients understand their chances.

"I think it's a nice tool to use for a lot of patients, it just gives them another piece of information while they're trying to make their decision," said Westphal.

In Oberhauser's case, Univfy ranked her probability of success above 65 percent. She had three IVF cycles in all: the first ended in miscarriage; the second was unsuccessful; and the third gave her Lukas. For her Univfy confirmed what the doctors were telling her about her chances.

"I honestly think if I hadn't gone through this extremely hard journey to get here, I don't know if I could appreciate him the way I do," says Millessa. "Every night when I rock him to sleep, I'm just amazed he's mine."

The cost of a Univfy test ranges from $50 to $100 for the pre-IVF test, to $175 for the Predict IVF test, for women who have already undergone in vitro fertilization and are considering another cycle.

For the rest of the year, Univfy will donate 5 percent of all test purchases to Resolve, the National Infertility Association.


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