Success Rates in Assisted Reproduction

By BSc, MSc (embryologist), MD, PhD (gynecologist), (medical director at fertty international) and (invitra staff).
Last Update: 04/15/2020

The different assisted reproduction techniques have different success rates, i.e. an uneven possibility of achieving pregnancy. One of the factors that have the most influence is the age of the woman, which means most of the clinics present an unlike success rate in the different age ranges.

In this article we will summarize the most important success rates of the different assisted reproduction techniques, depending on several factors such as age, own or donated gametes, fresh or frozen embryos, etc.

What success rates exist?

First of all, before comparing success rates one must know how to interpret them well, as there are many ways to express the results, such as:

Implantation rate
is the percentage of embryos that implant in the uterus after the transfer, but does not provide information on the evolution of a subsequent pregnancy.
Clinical pregnancy rate
is based on obtaining a positive beta-hCG and visualizing one or more gestational sacs by ultrasound.
Evolutionary pregnancy rate
refers to pregnancies exceeding 12 weeks of gestation, with ultrasound visualization of one or more fetuses with a heartbeat.
Birth rate
is the number of pregnancies that reach full term, regardless of whether they are multiple pregnancies or not.
Single birth rate
today is one of the most important rates in assisted reproduction, since the greatest success in this field is achieved with the pregnancy of a single embryo that can reach full term and without complications.

In addition to all this, we must take into account how each of the rates have been obtained, whether by cycle initiated, follicular puncture or embryo transfer.

At inviTRA, we believe that the most important thing for patients undergoing fertility treatment is the 'birth of a healthy baby', which corresponds to the live birth rate.

Factors involved

The probability of success of a fertility treatment depends on many factors, the most important of which is the woman's age.

Depending on the age and the ovarian reserve of the patient, it will be possible to obtain a greater or lesser number of eggs of higher or lower quality, and this is decisive in achieving pregnancy.

There are also other factors which contribute to the outcome of fertility treatments:

The assisted reproduction specialist must take all these factors into account when indicating the most appropriate treatment for the woman or couple.

Nowadays, all fertility treatments must be personalized in order to obtain the highest probability of success.

Success rate with artificial insemination

When analyzing the chances of success of artificial insemination, various factors have to be taken into account such as:

  • the patient's age
  • source of the sperm (sperm of partner or donor)
  • stimulated or non-stimulated cycles
  • number of cycles performed

It’s been proved that the possibilities of achieving pregnancy increase, if more than one cycle is performed. That’s why it’s said that artificial insemination has a cumulative success rate.

Insemination with husband's sperm

Artificial insemination (AI) is not recommended for women older than 37, due to its ineffectiveness. In the following section, we're going to analyze the birth rate of each cycle, that means, which percentage leads to a healthy baby being born through AI.

  • Women <35 years: 18% birth rate
  • Women 35 -40 years: 14% birth rate
  • Women ≥ 40: 1-5% birth rate

Artificial insemination with donors sperm (AID)

Obviously, when using donor sperm, the chances of full-term pregnancies increase slightly in contrary to what happens when Insemination with partner's sperm is used.

This is because using donor sperm takes away various infertility factors such as age, low sperm count or inmotility, amongst other things.

  • Women younger than 35 years: 16-18,5% birth rate
  • Women between 35 and 40 years: 12-13% birth rate
  • Women older than 40: 1,5-5,5 birth rate

Birth rate with IVF

IVF is a technique with higher intervention of the specialist. It’s recommended for the most severe fertility alterations, or when there have been repeated failures with artificial insemination.

Donor’s eggs and sperm can be used if needed and cycles can be carried out whether with fresh or frozen eggs.

Here, we are going to analyze the full-term pregnancy rates of IVF cycles.

IVF with own gametes

The following birth rates refer to in vitro fertilization techniques realized with own gametes in frozen embryo transfer (FET):

Women < 35 years
27% birth rate
Women aged 35 to 40
14-26% birth rate
Women ≥ 40 years
4-15% birth rate

These are the birth rates in IVF during a fresh cycle:

Women < 35
29% birth rate
Women aged 35 to 40
8-23% birth rate
Women ≥ 40
3-8% birth rate

IVF with egg donation

In egg donation IVF, the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby slightly increase, as high-quality donor eggs are used from young and healthy donors.

Just as commented above with donor sperm, the same happens with donor eggs. By using them, infertility factors such as compromised egg quality become redundant.

In case of egg donation IVF with partner's sperm, the following success rates for full-term pregnancies are obtained during a cycle with vitrified eggs:

Women < 35 years
28% birth rate
Women aged 35 to 40 years
23-27% birth rate
Women ≥ 40
22-24% birth rate

These are the success rates in fresh cylces:

Women < 35 years
33% birth rate
Women aged 35 to 40 years
34% birth rate
Women ≥ 40
26-34% birth rate

This statistics refer to fertility cycles carried out in the U.K.

FAQs from users

Which assisted reproductive treatment provides the highest success rate?

By Dr. María Arqué (medical director at fertty international).

The assisted reproduction treatment with the highest probability of success would be the one indicated as the most appropriate for each clinical case. In absolute terms, egg donation would be the treatment with the highest success rate, but that does not mean that it is the necessary or indicated treatment for all cases. For this reason, proper diagnosis and good therapeutic guidance are crucial to the success of the assisted reproduction procedure.

What is the maximum number of IVF attempts a woman can have?

By Juan Antonio García Velasco MD, PhD (gynecologist).

Although there is no maximum number, it must be based on this woman's prognosis and the statistics of the results. The vast majority of gestations are achieved in the first 3 or 4 cycles of IVF with non-frozen embryos (50% gestation per attempt and 90% in four cycles); after that, it is much more complicated, but not impossible.

Can ICSI be considered more effective than conventional in vitro fertilization?

By Juan Antonio García Velasco MD, PhD (gynecologist).

What ICSI achieves compared to conventional IVF is a higher rate of fertilization, but it does not necessarily make the cycle go better, that is, it does not achieve more pregnancies. What's more, some eggs may do better with conventional IVF than with ICSI, but this should be decided by the gynecologist together with the biologist.

What options does a woman have when she does not achieve pregnancy through IVF?

By Juan Antonio García Velasco MD, PhD (gynecologist).

If conventional IVF does not achieve pregnancy, we should know why. However, there is always the possibility of changing gametes: the donation of oocytes, sperm or both. What we see every day is that the uterus is almost always fine. What generates more problems in reproduction are the oocytes, and that is where, if all the above has failed, oocyte donation almost always achieves pregnancy (65% gestation per attempt and 95% in four cycles).

Suggested for you

If you need help in selecting a fertility clinic, we recommend you read this article in which you can found interesting tips: How do I chose the best fertility clinic for me?

If you wonder what fertility treatment may cost, don't miss out on the following post: Overview of the main costs of fertility treatments.

Our editors have made great efforts to create this content for you. By sharing this post, you are helping us to keep ourselves motivated to work even harder.

References

Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority. Fertility treatment 2017: trends and figures (https://www.hfea.gov.uk/media/2894/fertility-treatment-2017-trends-and-figures-may-2019.pdf/)

Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority. How successful is one cycle of IUI? Fertility trend report, Statistics of 2017: (Link)

Abuzeid MI, Bolonduro O, La Chance J, Abozaid T, Urich M, Ullah K, Ali T, Ashraf M and Khan I. Cumulative live birth rate and assisted reproduction: impact of female age and transfer day. Facts Views Vis Obgyn. 2014; 6(3):145-149.

Devesa M, Tur R, Rodríguez I, Coroleu B, Martínez F, Polyzos NP. Cumulative live birth rates and number of oocytes retrieved in women of advanced age. A single centre analysis including 4500 women ≥38 years old. Hum Reprod. 2018;33(11):2010-2017.

Malizia BA, Hacker MR, Penzias AS. Cumulative live-birth rates after in vitro fertilization. N Engl J Med. 2009 Jan 15;360(3):236-43.

Roque M, Valle M, Guimarães F, Sampaio M, Geber S. Freeze-all policy: fresh vs. frozen-thawed embryo transfer. Fertility and Sterility, 2015;103:1190-1193.

Zhu Q, Chen Q, Wang L, Lu X, Lyu Q, Wang Y, Kuang Y. Live birth rates in the first complete IVF cycle among 20 687 women using a freeze-all strategy. Hum Reprod. 2018 May 1;33(5):924-929.

FAQs from users: 'Which assisted reproductive treatment provides the highest success rate?', 'What is the maximum number of IVF attempts a woman can have?', 'Can ICSI be considered more effective than conventional in vitro fertilization?' and 'What options does a woman have when she does not achieve pregnancy through IVF?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information about Cristina Mestre Ferrer
 Juan Antonio García Velasco
Juan Antonio García Velasco
MD, PhD
Gynecologist
Graduate in Medicine from the Complutense University of Madrid. Intern specialist at Obstetrics & Gynecology at La Paz Hospital, 1992-1995. Graduate in Medicine and Surgery from the Autonomous University. Subspecialist in Assisted Reproduction from Yale University (USA). Main Lecturer of Gynecology at the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid. More information about Juan Antonio García Velasco
License: 282842556
Dr. María Arqué
Dr. María Arqué
Medical Director at Fertty International
Doctorate in Reproductive Medicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. María Arqué has many years of experience as a Reproductive Medicine and Gynecologist Consultant and currently works as Medical Director at Fertty International. More information about Dr. María Arqué
Licence number: 080845753
Adapted into english by:
 Romina Packan
Romina Packan
inviTRA Staff
Editor and translator for the English and German edition of inviTRA. More information about Romina Packan

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