The chances of having a baby through IVF and how to look at the national data
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex procedure with many variables, which means exact IVF success rates are hard to pin down. The single biggest determinant in IVF success is the age of the egg provider. However, many other factors can affect success, including ovarian reserve, medical issues such as fibroids or endometriosis, male factor infertility, and clinic expertise. Here’s a breakdown of the chances for live birth through IVF.
Why Does Age Matter So Much?
Age affects chances of conceiving through any means (natural or assisted) for two main reasons: egg quantity and egg quality.
People with uteruses are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have – approximately 1 million at birth. As a person ages, their eggs (technically called “oocytes”) either die off, are released through ovulation, or are absorbed back into their body. By puberty, most people with uteruses have around 300,000 eggs left. The quantity of available eggs decreases over time, declining rapidly after around age 37. Fewer eggs typically means it’s harder to get pregnant. This affects success rates for IVF as well as for natural pregnancy.
Just as egg quantity decreases with age, so does egg quality. Each egg contains instructions for how to grow into an embryo and, eventually, a person. As eggs age, they make more errors, which increases the chance of developing into an abnormal or unviable embryo. Egg quality starts to decline around age 35 and then, like quantity, rapidly decreases in the late 30s.
National IVF Success Rates
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) collects annual data from fertility clinics to report on overall success rates. As different fertility clinics have different criteria for patient selection and treatment policies, the collective success rates don’t reflect a guarantee for each individual patient. Rather, they can be seen as a starting point that you can then discuss with your doctor or fertility specialist.
|Age of IVF Patient
|Live singleton births per egg retrieval
|Live singleton births for first embryo transfer
|Live singleton births per new patient
What About Rates For Donor Egg IVF?
SART tracks donor eggs IVF success rates for fresh and frozen donor eggs, without breaking it down by age groups. The most recent SART report states:
- Live singleton births from fresh donor eggs: 39.5%
- Live singleton births from frozen donor eggs: 37.3%
What Does This Mean for Me?
As noted, it’s not really helpful to use national IVF success rates as a one-size-fits-all match for an individual’s chances of pregnancy through IVF. Each patient is unique, and each clinic may have different therapeutic approaches. For that reason, it’s important to discuss your specific fertility history and goals with a specialist. They can help you apply complex fertility data to your personal history and give you an honest assessment.
At PNWF, we want you to have a grounded foundation as you consider IVF or other fertility treatments. IVF doesn’t guarantee a baby, but there are lots of options to help decide if it’s a possible path for you. To get started on your fertility journey, make an appointment today.