fertility, In the news, IVF risks

IVF success rates – what should patients expect from treatment

“How successful is IVF?” is a question that gets asked incredibly often, but really the answer has to be “it depends”.

A clearer picture has been revealed by a recent study in Denmark, which followed 20,000 women through their fertility treatment.  The results indicated that around 65% of these women had children within three years of treatment, and 71% within five years, but the odds of success were heavily influenced by age.

The study showed that about one in three cycles of IVF is successful in women under the age of 35.  In fact, for women under 35, 80% had successfully had children within five years.

But the numbers were far less positive for older patients, with success figures falling to 61% in those between 35 and 40 years old; and lower again (to 26%) in women over 40.

Dr Sara Malchau, one of the researchers, said: “There is a very good chance of having a child, even if you have difficulties conceiving on your own. Most causes of infertility can be overcome, but age is the most important factor to predict if treatments are going to be successful or not.  Also women with a body mass index under 30 had better outcomes as well as women who didn’t smoke.”

The study also found that nearly a fifth of the women under 35 ended up conceiving as a result of sex – despite having sought fertility treatment.

For the full results of the study go to  http://www.bbc.com/news/health-36662600

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2 thoughts on “IVF success rates – what should patients expect from treatment”

  1. Please don’t forget donor egg IVF which is so often swept under the rug as doctors try to convince women who have failed multiple times on regular IVF to keep having their own eggs harvested rather than trying a proven donor. IVF is incredibly expensive and very few insurance plans in the US cover it, so those who are able to keep trying for 3 years ( if they have that kind of emotional stamina, as I know that I did not after 4 rounds of donor egg IVF in under 2 years) have to be pretty financially well-off to try that many times. Not everyone can do this and it’s important not to oversimplify that if you try for long enough your rates will go up.

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  2. You make a really important point. I think this highlights the importance of being able to trust your treating team to provide you with all of the information you need, ensuring you are in a position to make a fully informed decision about future treatment options – whether that be continuing to try with the same treatment as before, or exploring alternatives such as donor and surrogacy (of course all of this depends on the fertility issue, as well as what options a patient is willing/ready to consider).

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