IVF success rate and your chance that it will work

September 24, 2006 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

What are my chances that IVF will work?I think everyone who is about to invest the time and money into this procedure, asks themselves (and everyone else) this question as they mull over the huge decision to plunge head-first into this expensive and emotionally-draining treatment.One of the greatest misconceptions in the fertile world, is that technology “can always give you a baby”. One of the first things you learn as you become a pro in all matters IF, is that this simply isn’t true.The new obsession becomes studying the published data and statistical chances with age groups at various IVF labs. Everyone believes that this magic number they see in the column for their age group, literally represents THEIR chance of having a baby should they have and IVF cycle at a particular lab/RE office.

It is unfortunate that numbers actually do not represent much, aside of a global statistic. In fact when you think about it, they do not represent much at all. Most people look at a number – say 65% and believe this to be the exact chance, that should they choose to do an IVF cycle, they will be walking home with a baby in 9 months. In actuality, this number in most cases is a number that guarantees only a very tiny part of the process – for a specific age group. Namely – it covers the time period between the transfer and the day you hear a heartbeat. What this number is saying, is that SHOULD you make it to egg transfer, (implying that you would first respond well to the drugs, not have your cycle canceled, go through retrieval and have your eggs fertilize AND still be good enough for transfer on you transfer day)… THEN.. and only then… the chance that you will hear a heartbeat at your 6 week appointment is “X percent”. This number also doesn’t cover anything that could go wrong AFTER you actually hear that heartbeat. And that is still a long 8 months or so from that early point to actual delivery.

Statistically only 3% of pregnancies end with anything other than delivery past the point where a heartbeat is detected – which is comforting to know. But there is still that 3% chance of something going wrong. Further more, the real action that by and large determines whether your IVF cycle will work out or not is usually all before the transfer date. Will you stim well? Will the eggs you retrieve be mature? Will they fertilize? Will the embies grow or arrest? There are so many hurdles to cross before you even get to that wonderful transfer date where you can finally start looking at those numbers in ernest.

So what to do? Well, the fact remains that IVF still has the highest odds of any one cycle to achieve a pregnancy. And if you have tried just about anything else (or are tired of trying), all you CAN do is just go for it. And hope for the best. You will never be as young as you are today and your chances will never be as good as with an IVF cycle.

But numbers overall, do not matter too much, so do not treat them as sacred. Instead, it is best to know YOUR personal odds, by talking to your RE about your specific situation. They can vary tremendously from person to person, based on diagnosis. Some (in fact most) problems are easily solved and circumvented by IVF. Others lower your odds, while others still can unfortunately make the odds of achieving a pregnancy very low, even with IVF. Instead of looking at numbers for your age group at a particular office, concentrate instead on making sure that the office is experienced in treating cases like yours. In fact, centers that try to do anything to “boost” their numbers may work against you instead of FOR you, in some situations – by forcing to cancel your cycle if your chances are not as good as they want their numbers to be, or other such tactics. But the fact is you may still have a chance – a great chance. And you have to work with the program that will work with you, and your particular case.
What is most important in a program to choose? Experience. A compassionate staff. An RE that is experienced in treating cases just like yours. And do those statistical odds matter? Sure they do… but they are certainly not the number one criteria.
Best luck, and happy cycling.

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Entry filed under: All Posts, Tips and Thoughts on TTC.

Day 1 – the beginning Day 2 – processing what lies ahead

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Expecting Number 2… :)

My TTC History

Started TTC May 2005
RE diagnosed as unexplained in Feb 06.
natural IUI #1 March 06 - BFP, m/c :(
natural IUI #2 May 06 - BFN
clomid IUI #3 July 06 - BFN
femara IUI #4 August 06 - BFN

Skipping suggested injectables,
moving to IVF
Bloodwork: Oct 12 for lupron
ER estimated 1st week of Nov

25 eggs, 15 fertilized.
1 blast transferred, 6 frozen.
Precious baby Girl born in July 07.

After 2.5 years of Bliss since that BFP...

April 2009: Start of TTC #2.
(Going back for the embies I left)
Apr 15: Start of Natural FET cycle.
May 1: Transferred single blast
May 11: BFN :(
Straight to Natural FET #2
May 29: Transferred single blast
June 4: BFP!!!!
June 8: 1st beta - 177
June 10: 2nd beta - 506

Healthy baby Boy born 2010!

Fast forward several years...

June 2013: Surprised with a completely natural and completely unplanned BFP!
September 2006
    Oct »

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