How Many IVF Cycles Should I Plan For?
In addition to the emotional trials and tribulations associated with IVF cycles, there is the hefty price tag to consider. For this reason, most couples want to know how many IFV treatment cycles they should plan for before they will have pregnancy success.
Well, after a recent publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association, we have a more solid answer.
The Greatest Percentage of IVF Success Occurs in Six Cycles
The study came out of the UK, where researchers reviewed the statistics of 156,947 UK women who received 257,398 IVF between 2003 and 2010. From that comprehensive analysis, which included results from both fresh and frozen embryo transfers, researchers found that the average live birth rate for couples participating in six IVF cycles was 65.3%.
“Fertility treatments are being stopped prematurely,” says the study’s author, Professor Scott Nelson. The fertility expert at Glasgow Royal Infirmary continued, “We need to stop thinking of IVF as a single shot at having a family, and think of several cycles as the standard.”
This is very important news because up until now, most fertility clinics have operated under the assumption that couples who have completed three or four unsuccessful IVF cycles are less likely to benefit from future cycles. This recent revelation may alter how fertility clinics inform patients and/or whether they recommend multiple treatment cycles.
We should note that within that study, other important statistics were revealed:
- Women under the age of 35 are the most likely to benefit from a six-cycle regimen.
- Women 40-42 (using their own eggs) had a 31.5% live birth rate at the six-cycle mark.
- Women older than 42 (using their own eggs) had a <4% live birth rate at the six-cycle mark.
- Maternal age was irrelevant with the use of donor eggs, giving women 35-years and older the same success rate as women in the under 35 bracket.
What Does This Mean For You & Your Fertility Treatments?
If you are planning to undergo IVF or have already experienced two or more unsuccessful IVF cycles, you may want to regroup and schedule a consultation with your fertility specialist.
- Start another conversation. First, bring this new information to your fertility specialist to see what he or she has to say. Some clinics are more firm on the maximum amount of cycles they recommend their patients participate in, depending on maternal age and fertility diagnosis. It may mean migrating to a new fertility clinic to participate in future IVF cycles.
- Ask about multiple fertility cycle discounts. Most fertility clinics offer discounted rates for a set number of multiple of IVF cycles, typically around three or four. In response to these findings, clinics might expand these discounts. These plans are structured in different ways so you will want to choose the one that makes the most sense for your age, number of eggs retrieved, number of fertilized embryos etc.
- Consider preimplantation genetic screening (PGD/PGS). PGD is a newer technology available to couples undergoing IVF. It is a known fact that the number one cause of miscarriages are genetic abnormalities in the embryo. This is nature’s way of preventing the birth of babies with serious genetic disorders, many of which compromise quality of life or are life-threatening. PGD testing is done prior to implantation to see whether or not chromosomes are normal. Only embryos with normal results are selected for transplant. While these tests do cost more, they can increase your chances of successful IVF outcomes or can help you make the decision to use donor eggs if the majority of your embryos are abnormal.
- Think about using donor eggs. You might have noticed the research determined that maternal age is a non-issue for women using donor eggs (assuming the woman is physically able to carry the baby). This should be of specific interest for women who are 40-years or older, and for whom IVF success rates are notoriously low. Using donor eggs is much more likely to increase your chances of a live birth outcome if you are 40-years or older.
This new information gives renewed hope to couples preparing for their first IVF cycle, as well as those who have experienced the heartbreak of failed cycles in the past. Contact RRC to learn whether you are a candidate for multiple IVF cycles and to take advantage of our multiple IVF cycle discounts.
Image courtesy of dream designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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RRC has over 200 years of combined experience. As a leading reproductive health, infertility, and in-vitro fertilization (or IVF) center based in Kansas City, we're proud to have the highest level of expertise available to our patients.