By Andrea Rodrigo BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 06/27/2016

A fertility treatment being successful means the birth of a healthy baby, as this is the ultimate goal of every ART cycle.

However, when talking about success rates, one may not always make reference to the same aspects. Thus, special care should be taken when comparing data between clinics or destinations.

  • Pregnancy rate (positive pregnancy test)
  • Birth rate
  • Live birth rate

Unluckily, achieving pregnancy is not the final step, since many pregnancies end up being unsuccessful or embryo arrest occurs at an early stage, thereby leading to miscarriage. Although less frequently, it may happen that the baby is born lifeless.

Also, data varies from clinic to clinic, as each center has a different working style, its own protocols, a way of assessing statistical data, etc. The number of patients subject to statistical analysis should be kept in mind as well.

The rates of success may differ substantially depending on how many cycles or treatments are analyzed. These are the reasons that make it important not to become obsessed with statistical data, but to just consider it to be information that helps understand the process in a better way.

IVF with donor eggs

Regardless of the data taken as a reference when determining the success rate of a fertility treatment, gamete donation translates into an improvement in the results as a general rule.

The main reason as to why success rates are higher is linked to the supreme quality donor eggs usually have, as they come from young and healthy women, free from genetic diseases and fertility issues.

Even though gamete quality has always been considered to be more significant than the characteristics of the uterine cavity when it comes to achieving a successful pregnancy, the latter should be taken into account when establishing a percentage of success as well. Thus, the recipient’s age is as crucial as chronological ovarian age, although to a lesser extent.

The following are the success rates of a Cypriot fertility clinic:

  • Pregnancy rate for women aged 30 to 34: 82%
  • Pregnancy rate for women aged 35 to 39: 76%
  • Pregnancy rate for women aged 40 to 44: 66%
  • Pregnancy rate for women aged 45 or over: 61%

It should be taken into account that these figures were obtained by just analyzing two- or three-embryo transfers, that is, single embryo transfers were ignored.

In general, it can be said that the success rates of IVF using own eggs are around 40%, while with donor eggs they can be as high as 60-75%.

Sperm donation

When one uses donor eggs, the only possible technique of choice is in vitro fertilization (IVF). Inversely, if donor sperm is to be used, one can choose between two different methods: IVF or intrauterine insemination.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) usually presents low success rates, even when donor sperm (i.e. donated by young, healthy men) of supreme quality is used. Here is the reason why: with IUI, it is the sperm itself the one which has to make the long journey toward the Fallopian tubes, where an egg is waiting to be fertilized. External “assistance” is almost non-required, which makes it the most similar technique to the natural process of fertilization.

With IVF, conversely, the aim is to increase success rates to the maximum possible extent by means of ovulation induction. It helps producing a larger amount of eggs, so that a greater number of high-quality embryos are created. By doing this, the chances of transferring an embryo with implantation potential are higher.

Two main in vitro fertilization procedures can be found: conventional IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Depending on the particularities of each case, better results will be reached with the former or the latter.

Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information

One comment

    1. On cloud 9

      So after all it’s true that donor eggs are better than your own eggs… it’s sad, but this is how life is being made all around the world these days… 🙁 Especially in Europe, because we women do not have children in our 20s anymore… I personally think Cyprus is fine, although I’ve heard some stories about complications when accessing the country by plane, so mind it ladies!