UT Health Physicians

What are my chances of success with IVF?

One of the first questions that most people ask is, "what is the chance for success?". The initial hope of achieving a pregnancy by IVF is often dampened by the answer to this question. In 2019 in our program, liveborn infants occurred in approximately 48.5% of cases in women 35 and younger and in which women had embryos derived from their own eggs transferred to the uterus. The 2019 nationwide "take-home baby rate," was 46.7% percent for these same women. We believe that the delivery rate or "take home baby rate" is the only real measure of success. Patients should be aware, however, that some clinics define "success" as any positive pregnancy test, or any pregnancy, even if miscarried or ectopic. These "successes" are irrelevant to patients desiring a baby.

Our clinic is a member of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART). SART is the primary organization of professionals dedicated to the practice of IVF and helps to establish and maintain the highest standards for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) clinics. Updated IVF success rates for our clinic and nationally can be found on the SART website.

Success varies with many factors. One very important factor is the age of the woman. Over age 37, ART success rates decline dramatically. Another factor that affects ART success is the number of embryos that are transferred. Presently, the collection of oocytes, fertilization, and early embryo growth, are accomplished with a high degree of efficiency. The major hurdles to success are implantation after embryo transfer and early pregnancy loss. The rate of early pregnancy loss is slightly higher with ART compared to spontaneous conception. The risk of early pregnancy loss increases with age of the female partner. There is, however, no evidence that the risk of birth defects or chromosome abnormalities (such as Down's syndrome) is any different with ART. Pregnancy complications tend to be higher with ART pregnancies, primarily because of the much higher rate of multiple pregnancy. Twins occur in about 7% of ART pregnancies nationally versus 1-2% of spontaneous pregnancies. The rate of multiple pregnancy in our clinic in 2019 was less than 1%, demonstrating our commitment to reducing the risks to our patients associated with multiple gestation while still maintaining excellent live birth rates.

To put these figures into perspective, studies have shown that the rate of successful pregnancy in couples with proven fertility in the past is approximately 20% per cycle. Therefore, although a figure of 48.5% may sound low, it is much greater than the chance that a fertile couple will conceive in any given cycle.

We advise that patients plan at the onset to make several IVF attempts. There is no absolute restriction on the number of times that a couple can attempt IVF. Although cumulative pregnancy rates increase through a total of six attempts, the success rate for any given cycle remains constant. A rest period between attempts is sometimes recommended which is usually an interval of one normal menstrual cycle. Couples who have achieved an IVF pregnancy in the past have an increased likelihood of IVF-related conception in the future.

UT Health Fertility Center doctors are also faculty at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio School of Medicine. This allows us to remain one of the most cost-efficient fertility practices in the area. Our staff is happy to answer questions about referrals, itemized diagnostic and treatment costs and billing options. The UT Health Fertility Center participates in a variety of insurance plans. For your convenience, we accept VISA, MasterCard, and Discover.