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Keep trying for IVF success, new study suggests

7 March 2011
Appeared in BioNews 598

Researchers from the University of Western Australia have published a study suggesting IVF effectiveness could be improved by undergoing more cycles.

The effectiveness of IVF treatment was assessed by retrospective analysis of IVF success rates in Western Australia. It was found that, between 1993 and 2002, IVF was 47 percent effective overall in women who received an average of three IVF cycles. It was more effective in younger women, with 58 percent of women in their twenties having success, compared to 22 percent of 40-44 year olds.

The group noted that the cumulative probability of IVF success increased with each successive cycle for at least the first five cycles. Lead author Louise Stewart, researcher at the School of Population Health, stated: 'The results of this study suggest that IVF has the potential to be more effective if women, especially those over 35, are able to undertake more than the usual two to three cycles'.

Currently in the UK, the 2004 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend the NHS provide three full IVF cycles to eligible patients. However, these guidelines are not binding and there is significant variability in practice between Primary Care Trusts responsible for controlling fertility services on the NHS.

An additional observation made in this report was that a significant number of women went on to have IVF treatment-independent births after they stopped IVF treatment. Specifically, 21 percent of women in their twenties and 11 percent of women in their early forties.

Fertility expert Dr Mitchell Rosen of the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health: 'It is pretty obvious that the number of cycles that you do adds to the likelihood of success, but it gets smaller every time. At some point the psychological side effects and the cost become prohibitive'.

The study was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

Could more IVF attempts really mean more success?
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Fertility and Sterility |  14 February 2011
IVF success higher 'if couples keep trying'
International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics |  23 February 2011
Success Depends Upon Number of Attempts – Claims Researchers
Top News |  23 February 2011
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...
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...
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 Dr Lucy Freem 
High levels of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a man-made organic chemical associated with adverse health reactions in humans, in the blood may contribute to embryos failing to implant during IVF, say researchers....
28 February 2011 - by Dr Lucy Freem 
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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....
8 November 2010 - by Victoria Kay 
Women who have not conceived after two cycles of IVF (in vitro fertilisation) 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....
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...
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