Woman Interested in Success Rates of IVF

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 55.1%, according to new data from a 2020 CDC report. However, that number drops steadily as the woman ages.

Mark P. Trolice, M.D., board-certified reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist and founder of The IVF CenterSM 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 The IVF CenterSM 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.

What Age Has Highest IVF Success Rate

Women under the age of 35 have the most success, but between the ages of 35 and 37 also have a 40.5% rate of success. Women between the ages of 38 and 40 have a lower success rate at 26t.4% and over 40 has the lowest success rate at 8.2% according to CDC data.

Graph of IVF Success Rates for women doing their first IVF cycle (2020)

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.

Diagram of the IVF process
Ovarian Stimulation
Egg Retrieval
Sperm Collection
Embryo Transfer

Once the patient’s health is cleared and the process starts, there are basically five steps within IVF:

  1. The woman’s eggs are stimulated to grow and mature by daily injectable fertility drugs
  2. The eggs are removed in a minor surgical procedure called a follicular aspiration
  3. Sperm will be collected from your donor or partner
  4. Insemination of the eggs by sperm occurs in the lab
  5. 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.

Young Woman SmilingThe 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 Increase First Time IVF Success Rates

Ensuring a healthy lifestyle significantly impacts IVF success rates on the first attempt. Diet and exercise are helpful. According to a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, researchers found that women who adhered to a Mediterranean-style diet had a 65-68% higher likelihood of achieving successful IVF outcomes compared to those who didn’t follow this diet pattern.

Additionally, maintaining regular exercise, abstaining from alcohol and tobacco, and diligently following prescribed medications were associated with a 20-30% increase in successful IVF cycles. Actively engaging with the medical team, discussing concerns, and being involved in treatment decisions have also been linked to more favorable outcomes during initial IVF attempts.

First Time IVF: What to Expect

Stepping into the world of IVF for the first time can be both hopeful and overwhelming, marking a significant chapter in your journey toward parenthood. Here’s a quick glimpse as to what to expect from initial consultation to the IVF process to post-treatment.

  • Compassionate consultations and thorough fertility assessments, guiding you through personalized steps.
  • A fertility treatment plan crafted to enhance your chances of success, tailored to your unique needs.
  • Introduction to medications and injections, vital components in preparing for the upcoming phases.
  • Ongoing monitoring sessions using ultrasounds and blood tests to track your progress and adjust the plan accordingly.
  • The pivotal moment of egg retrieval, where your comfort and care are prioritized under anesthesia.
  • Fertilization in the lab, where science works its magic to unite eggs and sperm, potentially forming precious embryos.
  • The embryo transfer, followed by the anticipatory wait for signs of pregnancy.
  • Continuous empathy, guidance, and unwavering support from your dedicated healthcare team throughout this transformative and emotional journey.

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 The IVF CenterSM and how we can help you achieve your dream, contact us online anytime to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions About First Time IVF 

The average success rate of IVF on the first attempt varies but is generally around 20-35%.

Factors like age, fertility issues, embryo quality, and lifestyle habits can influence IVF success.

Age and fertility history significantly affect success; younger age and healthier fertility history often lead to higher success rates.

Success rates for initial IVF attempts vary but generally fall between 20-35%.

Precautions like maintaining a healthy lifestyle, following the doctor’s instructions, and reducing stress may enhance IVF success.

Different fertility treatments or techniques can impact success; some may offer higher success rates based on individual circumstances.

Lifestyle changes such as a balanced diet, moderate exercise, and avoiding harmful habits can potentially improve IVF success.

Common reasons for unsuccessful IVF include embryo quality, implantation issues, or hormonal imbalances, often addressable in subsequent attempts.

Certain medical conditions like endometriosis or issues like low ovarian reserve can affect IVF success rates.

Advancements in IVF technology, like improved embryo selection methods or genetic screening, have positively impacted first-time success rates in recent years.