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King's College London - Health: More than a medical matter

Is '15' the perfect number for IVF success?

16 May 2011

By Dr Rosie Morley

Appeared in BioNews 607

A study of over 400,000 IVF treatment cycles in the UK has found a 'strong association' between the number of eggs retrieved prior to a woman undergoing IVF and live birth rate. The findings suggest that chances of a live birth increased with the number of eggs collected up to the number of 15, after which it began to decline.

'This is the first study to look at the association between the number of eggs and live births. Some smaller studies have reported previously on the association between egg numbers and pregnancy rates, but not live births', said Dr Arri Coomarasamy, one of the authors of the study.

The study analysed data obtained by the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) on IVF cycles that took place in the UK between April 1991 and June 2008. It found the more eggs retrieved the greater the live birth rate, up to between 15-20 eggs, where there was no change. After 20 eggs the live birth rate declined.

Normally, women produce only one egg at a time. To increase the chance of implanting a viable embryo, women undergoing IVF take hormones to stimulate their ovaries to produce more eggs. Dr Coomarasamy said: 'Mild stimulation protocols aim to retrieve less than six to eight eggs; a standard stimulation should aim for 10-15 eggs, and we believe this is what is associated with the best IVF outcomes; when the egg number exceeds 20, the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) becomes high'.

The researchers also created a graph describing the relationship between women's age, the number of eggs retrieved and the predicted live birth rate. This, combined with already existing techniques such as anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) testing and antral follicle count (AFC) which are used for predicting how many eggs will be retrieved after ovarian stimulation, could be useful for helping doctors to predict a woman’s IVF success rate.

The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction.



16 December 2013 - by Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
The first study to break down IVF failure rates for each treatment stage across different age groups has found that after the age of 37 the chance of a woman becoming pregnant through IVF rapidly declines... [Read More]
13 June 2011 - by Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
US researchers have found a link between an ovarian hormone called anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) and IVF success. The findings suggest AMH testing could help clinicians tailor doses of ovary-stimulating drugs to improve women's egg production and likelihood of pregnancy... [Read More]
06 June 2011 - by Dr Rosie Morley 
A US fertility clinic has issued a press release warning against simplistic interpretations of a recent report on IVF success rates... [Read More]
31 May 2011 - by Dr Rosie Morley 
Multiple genetic tests have been performed on a single embryo for almost the first time, according to US researchers. The researchers from John Hopkins School of Medicine say their technique for making copies of an embryo's DNA can improve IVF success rates... [Read More]

09 May 2011 - by Mehmet Fidanboylu 
A genetic predisposition towards autoimmune disease may be associated with lower pregnancy rates in IVF, a US study suggests. The findings offer a possible explanation for differences in IVF treatment outcomes between different ethnic groups.... [Read More]
09 May 2011 - by Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
Women who attended a mind and body course shortly before undergoing IVF demonstrated increased pregnancy rates compared with those that did not, a US study has found. The findings suggest that stress relief may increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant from IVF.... [Read More]
07 March 2011 - by Leo Perfect 
Researchers from the University of Western Australia have published a study suggesting IVF effectiveness could be improved by undergoing more cycles.... [Read More]
28 February 2011 - by Dr Lucy Freem 
Stress levels are unlikely to affect whether or not a woman becomes pregnant following fertility treatment despite anecdotal reports, a review suggests.... [Read More]
17 January 2011 - by Marianne Neary 
Scientists have found that the health of infants born through IVF depends on which techniques were used and their infertility diagnoses.... [Read More]

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