Cumulative Pregnancy Rates for IVF

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I absolutely LOVE to give my patients the news they wanted to hear. ” Yes, Madam XYZ, your pregnancy test is positive”, and I live on the thrills of having them laugh with tears of delights and relief. However, on the flip side of the coin, I HATE to give them the news they dreaded most, which is when the test result is negative.

 

This is the reality of IVF, you win some battles, and you lose some. We rejoice with the patients’ victories and we weep for their defeats.

 

For those battles that we lost, what is the next step forward?

 

We talked about the overall success rates of ONE IVF a few days ago and  we know for sure that if you have a good number of embryos from the result of ONE IVF, the chance of you getting pregnant with the subsequent Frozen embryo transfer is extremely likely, especially if you are under the age of 35. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that Frozen embryo transfers yields a higher pregnancy rate compared to fresh embryos transfers

(Rogue M at al. Fresh embryo transfer versus frozen embryo transfer in in-vitro fertilization cycles: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Fertil Steril. 2013 Jan;99(1):156-62)

However, if you have no embryos frozen, what is your option?

This chart below showed a cumulative live IVF births from a study conducted in Australia.

This study looked at all the women under the age of 42, who are going through IVF.

The study revealed that the pregnancy rate is around 40% in this group of women after they completed their first cycle of IVF. For those women who did not get pregnant the first round and went on having the second round of IVF, there were another 20% who got pregnant after the second round. Therefore, by the 4th IVF cycle, around 80% of women would have achieved a live birth.

 

This statistic clearly shows that if you  persevere and keep moving on, chances of you getting pregnant by the end of the 4th IVF is around 80%.

 

Therefore, it is not unusual for Fertility doctors to encourage our patients to keep moving on because the statistics had clearly show us the evidence.

 

 

Cumulative Birth Rates

 

Age and IVF success rate

Pregnant Belly

Many couples went through IVF in hope to have a child. Many view this treatment as the last resort to having a child. Therefore, it is not unusual for me to encounter couples who had exhausted ALL forms of treatment and landed in my clinic after many frustrating years. Some had come a bit too late….

Part of my job as an IVF specialist includes constantly being asked by patients on their chances of pregnancy by IVF.

This is definitely a relevant question. IVF is an expensive treatment and certainly after spending XYZ amount money on this treatment, you would like to know what is your chance of pregnancy.

In general, the chance of pregnancy depend on 3 most important factors: The woman’s age, the number of years of subfertility & whether there had been any pregnancies in the past.

Out of these three factors, the most important and relevant factor would be a woman’s age.

Studies had shown that after the age of 35, the chance of women getting pregnant naturally as well as through Fertility Treatment declined gradually. There is a further sharp declined after the age of 40.

I do not mean to press the panic button for all the women over the age of 35. However, I strongly feel that this is an important message which many Fertility Specialists like us had not been shouting loud enough to educate the general public.

Studies from Australia & US had shown that the success rate of an IVF is around 50% before the age of 35. The success rate drops thereafter and hit the range of 20-30% by the time the woman turns 40. The chance of pregnancy after the age of 44-45 is close to 0%.

The reason for a lower success rate after the age of 35 is a combination of the fact that age is associated with decrease number of follicles and quality of the eggs. For women, we are born with millions of eggs and the process of recruitment and activation of eggs started as we reached puberty. The number of eggs in our ovaries go down as we aged. By the time we each menopause, the eggs were completely depleted in our ovaries. Therefore, at the age of 35, we are expected to be producing less number of eggs. As we age, the quality of eggs also decrease and there is higher likelihood to produce eggs with abnormal chromosomes. Therefore, there is a higher risk of miscarriage and fetal anomalies.