Data, data everywhere and not a bit of use

I’m a scientist – I like data and I use it to understand the world. As a kid, you hear so much about teenage pregnancy and accidental pregnancy that you assume that the probability of getting pregnant anytime you have sex is like 90%. Surprise, surprise, it’s actually pretty hard to get pregnant. The common stat seems to be that in any cycle, there’s about a 25% change of getting pregnant. And this is with no issues for either person.

With infertility and PCOS, one difficulty I feel is the lack of information and accurate stats in a readable form. There are so many questions! For instance, losing 5-10% of body weight seems to help a lot of PCOS women ovulate regularly. But what was the starting weight? I’m assuming that losing 5% of 100lbs doesn’t really help? And what is the weight distribution of women with PCOS vs the entire population? Does weight gain cause PCOS or PCOS cause weight gain? (To be fair, I don’t think anyone really understands the answer to this question.)

Now, starting clomid, I’ve been wondering what the success rate. Any cited numbers refer to Pr(ovulation). I don’t know about most other people, but I actually care about Pr(pregnancy). Or maybe more specifically, Pr(pregnancy|ovulation)? Or Pr(pregnancy|PCOS) – after all, other diagnoses don’t carry the same weight for me. For that matter, is there some measurement of the severity of PCOS? So maybe something like Pr(pregnancy|severity of PCOS)?

Perhaps I’m going into overdrive here. But it does give me some comfort knowing that most PCOS-related infertility is treatable. And it’s easier for me to process when I know the probabilities at each stage. Perhaps I’m in the minority.


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