What is the Success Rate of IVF?
- IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is a method for implanting fertilized eggs in a woman who has not been able to conceive in a natural way. It provides an alternative to adoption or other assisted reproductive methods. According to the most recent statistics, depending on a woman's age, the success rate, measured in terms of live births ranges from 38.8.% (age: less than 35) to 10.9% (age: 41-42). [Source: Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology IVF Success Rate Reports (see Additional Resources)].
- IVF involves four steps:
1) Ripening the eggs. The woman is monitored starting about one week after an ovulation. Successive scans determine when the size and number of the follicles indicate mature eggs, at which point they are retrieved.
2) Retrieving the eggs. This is usually done by vaginal ultrasound guided retrieval. In difficult cases laparoscopy may be used.
3) Fertilization of the eggs and embryo growth. The eggs are incubated until insemination can take place. After that they monitored until cell division begins.
4) Transfer of the embryos into the uterus. This is done using a catheter threaded into the uterus.
- Locate reproductive centers to investigate by checking with a reliable referral service. Support groups such as The National Infertility Association (Resolve Inc), can provide unbiased information. (URL provided in Additional Resources.) Investigate each potential provider in terms of success rate, how many treatments are done in a year, how long the program has been in existence, and whether they are a member of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). Additional questions to ask are whether the associated laboratory is accredited by the College of American Pathologists, whether psychological counseling is available and the cost.
- Implanting more embryos increases the chance for success. It doesn't. Success is more dependent upon the skill of the practitioner and the ability of the center. A woman with tubal disease or endometriosis cannot undergo IVF. According to Dr. Arthur Wisot, M.D. and Dr. David Meldrum, M.D., writing in "Conceptions and Misconceptions; A Guide through the Maze of In Vitro Fertilization" (Hartley & Marks, 2004), treatment for these conditions does not rule out IVF.
- Testing eggs for genetic features that improve the likelihood of resulting in normal pregnancies is under study as are ways to avoid passing on serious genetic diseases of the parent(s). According to a report in the "New York Times" (November 17, 2008) based on a conversation with the Director of Reproductive Endocrinology at SUNY Stony Brook, research is headed in the direction of finding ways to improve the fertilization rate with added natural substances from the fallopian tubes as well as ways to better prepare sperm for fertilization.