The national average for women younger than 35 able to become pregnant by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) on the first try (meaning, the first egg retrieval) is 55%. However, that number drops steadily as the woman ages.
Mark P. Trolice, M.D., board-certified reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist and founder of Fertility CARE: The IVF Center says, “Annually, across the country, over 275,000 cycles of IVF are performed.” One of the most common questions asked by his patients is What is the success rate of IVF on the first try?”
Dr. Trolice and his team at Fertility CARE: The IVF Center believe the success rate of the IVF procedure is dependent upon the entire clinical and laboratory team. This is critically important to note. Why? Because, as Verywell Family points out, “The high cost of IVF, plus the psychological distress experienced by couples, makes multiple IVF cycles difficult.” One study correlated higher anxiety with waiting to become pregnant during the IVF procedure. Dr. Trolice and his team address this issue by having a clinical specialist available 24/7 as well as a full-time Reproductive Health Psychologist to answer questions and provide emotional support.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the use of ART procedures has doubled over the past decade. Approximately 1.9% of all infants born each year are through IVF. However, the success rates of these procedures vary among clinics. How can you select the right fertility team to ensure you have a higher rate of success with your IVF procedure?
Here’s what you need to know about IVF, how the procedure works, and your real world chances of it working on the first cycle – defined as an egg retrieval and complete use of all embryos during fresh or frozen embryo transfer attempts.
How Does IVF Work?
IVF is a highly complicated procedure with a series of steps, and a few different medications, to help with fertility and the conception of a child. IVF requires a doctor to retrieve mature eggs from the ovaries of a woman during a minor office procedure while she is under intravenous sedation. Those eggs are fertilized by sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized embryo is then transferred to the uterus – a single blastocyst embryo is recommended for transfer in women less than 38 and for all women when the embryo is determined to be chromosomally normal.
Once the patient’s health is cleared and the process starts, there are basically five steps within IVF:
- The woman’s eggs are stimulated to grow and mature by daily injectable fertility drugs
- The eggs are removed in a minor surgical procedure called a follicular aspiration
- Sperm will be collected from your donor or partner
- Insemination of the eggs by sperm occurs in the lab
- About three to five days after fertilization, the doctor will place the embryo into the uterus while extra unused embryos are frozen for subsequent transfer. (In good responding patients, all embryos are frozen since studies have shown higher success in these patients with frozen thaw embryo transfer.
There are many cycle options with the IVF process:
- Standard (insemination of intended parents egg with intended parent sperm)
- Donor sperm (insemination of intended parent egg with donor sperm)
- Embryo donation (transfer of non-biologically related embryo)
- Egg donation (sperm of the intended parent inseminates donor eggs for the intended parent to carry the pregnancy or through the use of a gestational carrier)
- Gestational carrier (a non-intended parent who carries a non-biologically related embryo)
IVF increases your chances of getting pregnant if you’re having fertility problems. There is an emotional, physical, and financial burden that goes along with IVF and other fertility treatment procedures. It makes sense to look at some of the factors affecting the success rate of IVF before considering IVF.
What Factors Impact the Success of IVF?
- The quantity and quality of the eggs/embryo
- The quantity and quality of sperm
- The stimulation protocols and the timing of ovulation
- For implantation, the receptivity of the endometrium, or lining of the uterus
- The ease of the embryo transfer process
There are multiple tests that fertility doctors conduct to determine the reproductive and physical health of the IVF patients. Dr. Trolice says, “The evaluation of the woman prior to IVF ensures that her uterine anatomy is normal. We also assess her ovarian age through a hormone test called AMH or antimullerian hormone.” Ovarian age helps doctors determine the amount of fertility medications to use during the IVF cycle.
The chronological age of the woman also significantly impacts the quality of the egg and embryo. As women get older, there is a more rapid loss of their endowment of eggs. It starts to become more challenging beginning at around 32 years old. The success rates decline to around 13% by the time the woman reaches age 40.
The chances of conceiving through the IVF procedure are higher if the patient(s) have had a successful pregnancy in the past. If the woman has a fertility issue like fibroid tumors, or uterine abnormalities, IVF may be less likely to work. There are also lifestyle issues that will negatively impact the success rate of IVF, mainly cigarette smoking. Additionally, vaping, alcohol/drug use, and an elevated body mass index can impair pregnancy success.
How to Find the Right Fertility Team
To find the right fertility clinic, look closely at their success rates with the IVF procedure. You can look up fertility clinics on the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) website to see their outcome statistics as well as an estimate of your cumulative success of a baby from one to three cycles. You can also look on the clinic’s website for patient testimonials. Make sure the clinic doctors are board-certified in R reproductive endocrinologistsEndocrinology and Infertility and members of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). SART demonstrating adherence to the highest standards in IVF.
To find out more about the team at Fertility CARE: The IVF Center and how we can help you achieve your dream, contact us online anytime to schedule an appointment.