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What Are the Chances for IVF Success?

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Updated April 11, 2014

Use of ICSI with IVF may or may not improve your chances for success.

Use of ICSI with IVF may or may not improve your chances for success, depending on the cause of infertility.

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Question: What Are the Chances for IVF Success?

Given the high cost of IVF, you’re probably wondering what your chances are for IVF success. The good news is that IVF is generally successful, especially for younger women and those using donor eggs.

Answer:

IVF success rates are available online at the website for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). You can look up the national rates, or find rates for individual clinics, at these sites.

The success rates are generally reported according to the woman's age, since as a woman gets older, the IVF success rates go down if she's using her own eggs.

According to the data collected for 2007, these are the IVF success rates nationally, when using non-donor eggs:

  • For women younger than 35, the percentage of live births per cycle is 39.6%.
  • For women ages 35 to 37, the percentage of live births per cycle is 30.5%.
  • For women ages 38 to 40, the percentage of live births per cycle is 20.9%.
  • For women ages 41 to 42, the percentage of live births per cycle is 11.5%.
  • For women ages 43, the percentage of live births per cycle is 6.2%.
  • After age 44, little more than 1% of IVF cycles with non-donor eggs lead to live birth.

As you can see, IVF success goes down significantly after age 40. For this reason, most women 40 and up use donor eggs.

Success rates when using donor eggs are not as dependent on the woman's age.

  • The percentage of live births per cycle when using donor eggs is 55.1% with fresh embryos.
  • The percentage of live births per cycle when using donor eggs is 31.9% when using frozen embryos.

It's interesting to note that IVF success rates with donor eggs are even higher than a woman younger than 35 using her own eggs. Donor eggs offer the best chance for success.

Will IVF Work For You?

IVF success is dependent on a number of factors, some of which you have little control over. Some of these factors include the woman's age, the reasons for infertility, whether or not donor eggs (or sperm) will be used, and the competency of the IVF clinic or lab.

While looking at the national statistics can give you a general idea, it's not going to really tell you what your particular chances of success are.

The IVF success rates reported by SART can be separated by cause of infertility, which may give you a slightly better idea of what your chances for success are.

For example, while the national statistics report a 39.6% live birth rate for women younger than 35, if you sort the results by couples only dealing with male infertility, the live birth rate rises to 43.1%. On the other hand, if you sort by those couples dealing with diminished ovarian reserves, the success rate for woman younger than 35 falls to 30.2%.

From the drop down menu, you can sort by a number of causes of infertility, including endometriosis, multiple factors, tubal factors, and others.

IVF Success at Individual Clinics

You can look up IVF success rates on individual clinics - and you should - but it's important to take some of this information with a grain of salt.

For example, a clinic with excellent rates may be turning away couples who have a lower chance of success. Or, they may be transferring a higher number of embryos per treatment cycle, which is risky.

It's also possible that a very small client base can show abnormally high success rates.

Also, make sure you're comparing their live birth rates, and not just their pregnancy rates. Pregnancy success is going to be higher than the live birth rate, since it does not account for miscarriage and stillbirth.

More on fertility treatments:

Sources:

Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates: 2006. National Summary and Fertility Clinic Report. Center for Disease Control. Accessed on August 20, 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/ART/ART2006/508PDF/2006ART.pdf

Clinic Summary Report. Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. Accessed on August 20, 2009. https://www.sartcorsonline.com/rptCSR_PublicMultYear.aspx?ClinicPKID=0

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