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IVF success rates plunge after second attempt, study finds

8 November 2010
Appeared in BioNews 583

Women who have not conceived after two cycles of IVF may face reduced success rates if electing to undergo further cycles, according to a new study. The research is preliminary and many factors which may affect IVF success, such as the age and weight of the women, were not taken into account.

The study looked at 300,000 women across the United States receiving in total half a million IVF cycles over five years and found 48 percent of women had a baby after one or two cycles. However, after three cycles this number had only risen by five percent and after seven cycles stood at just 56 percent. This means that only three percent more women had successfully become pregnant after seven cycles of IVF than had done so after three.

'Don't quit if the first cycle isn't successful', said lead researcher Professor Barbara Luke from Michigan State University: '(But) if you haven't gotten pregnant by the third, the chances are slim to continue'.

In an attempt to successfully conceive, couples may incur great expense trying multiple cycles of IVF but there is currently little guidance as to the likelihood of success after the first. The findings indicated the best chance of conceiving is after the first IVF cycle, with 36 percent of women becoming pregnant at the first attempt. The success rate after the second cycle was significantly lower, with only an additional 12 percent of the total number of women in the study becoming pregnant on the second try. From the third cycle onwards the success rate dropped dramatically, with the total number of live births remaining largely unchanged.

The authors hope further investigation into factors that may affect fertility not addressed in the study may clarify success rates and aid both doctors and couples in their decision-making.

The research was presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Denver.

More not always better with in vitro fertilization
Associated Press |  27 October 2010
Researchers question when to stop trying with IVF
Time |  28 October 2010
13 June 2011 - by Dr 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...
16 May 2011 - by Dr Rosie Morley 
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....
7 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....
15 November 2010 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
UK-based researchers have developed a new screening technique which could double or triple IVF success rates. The new test allows for any chromosomal abnormalities to be detected in embryos before they are implanted into the mother....
11 October 2010 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas 
US researchers have developed a means to predict which human embryos produced through IVF are most likely to result in healthy births. Researchers filmed 242 one-cell embryos and predicted, with more than 93 percent accuracy, those that would survive up to five days. These findings may improve the success rate of IVF....
20 September 2010 - by Gozde Zorlu 
Higher fertilisation rates have been found in women undergoing IVF in spring, according to new research presented at the World Congress of Fertility and Sterility last week...
20 September 2010 - by Harriet Vickers 
Women with poor egg (or oocyte) quality could double their chance of becoming pregnant through IVF if given melatonin, researchers have found. The work was presented at the World Congress of Fertility and Sterility in Munich last week...
13 September 2010 - by Dr Charlotte Maden 
British women are prepared to spend an average of 15,000 in order to conceive, a survey has shown, with one in ten willing to spend over 50,000 on fertility treatment...
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