Surrogacy is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to build a modern family. Precisely how successful, though, is challenging to measure.
Understanding surrogacy success rates is not as simple as looking at raw data. Not only are there a myriad of factors to consider, it is difficult to regulate with consistency just how the statistics are reported.
We’ll take a closer look at some of these issues, your best resources to obtain accurate information, as well as true surrogate success stories.
Understanding surrogacy success rates starts with a general understanding of how assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles in the US are reported and collected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitors ART using a system called the National Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance System, or NASS 2.0.
According to the CDC, while ART is immensely helpful in overcoming infertility, it also presents “significant public health challenges due to the substantial risk for multiple birth delivery, which is associated with poor maternal and infant health outcomes.” For this reason, the CDC feels it is “important to monitor the safety and effectiveness” of ART procedures in the US. This monitoring is also a means of obtaining statistics – but, for a variety of reasons, they may not be consistent.
The Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act states that ART cycles done in the US should be reported to the CDC. The problem is that not every clinic reports cycles with accuracy, if at all. A reputable clinic would not present false information, of course, but often only favorable results are shared. Still, thanks to NASS, data validation, yearly audits, and site visits, the CDC believes that it successfully receives information for about 95% of all ART cycles.
Another important element to understand regarding surrogacy statistics is that they are rarely current. That’s partly because it is an ongoing process; there are success rates to measure cycles resulting in pregnancy, live birth, as well as frozen embryo transfers (FET) that may later result in a successful pregnancy and birth.
For that reason, in addition to the time and effort it takes to gather those results, surrogacy statistics from 2018 – and even 2017 – are not yet available. Official success rate reports are typically about 2-3 years behind. For example, at the time of this publishing, the most current data available is from 2015 and 2016.
IVF clinics in the US have a surrogacy success rate of about 75%. Once the surrogate is pregnant, the success rate for a healthy birth is as high as 95%. Still, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) notes that “success varies with many factors.”
Age affects the success rate of surrogacy; the gestational carrier should ideally be between 21-40 years old, but age is especially important when it comes to the quality of the implanted embryo. The odds are always best when both the egg and sperm come from young, healthy sources that have met strict medical criteria – under 30 years of age, non-smoker, and no red flags in family health history. Often, this means utilizing a sperm or egg donor.
Intended parents may still find success using their own gametes, but if there is any question as to the quality, the IVF clinic will likely recommend Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) so that the healthiest embryos can be identified and transferred. Typically, the best will be utilized for elective single-embryo transfer (eSET) and remaining embryos are cryo-preserved.
Here at ConceiveAbilities, we are proud to have matched hundreds of families to egg donors and gestational carriers with great success. Learn more about this unique means to building a family and read surrogate success stories from people just like you. When you’re ready, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.