Cumulative live birth rate: time for a consensus?

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Traditionally, IVF success rates have been reported in terms of live birth per fresh cycle or embryo transfer. With the increasing use of embryo freezing and thawing it is essential that we report not only outcomes following fresh but also those after frozen embryo transfer as a complete measure of success of an IVF treatment. Most people agree that an individual's chance of having a baby following fresh and frozen embryo transfer should be described as cumulative live birth rate. However, views on the most appropriate parameters required to calculate such an outcome have been inconsistent. There is an additional dimension—time for all frozen embryos to be used up by a couple, which can influence the outcome. Given that cumulative live birth rate is generally perceived to be the preferred reporting system in IVF, it is time to have an international consensus on how this statistic is calculated, reported and interpreted by stakeholders across the world.

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