Of course, patients want to know what their chances are for success with IVF. They want to know how many treatment cycles are needed before they have a good chance of becoming pregnant.

How many treatment cycles are needed before they have a good chance of becoming pregnant?.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal commented on a study from the U.K. that asked the question “how many IVF cycles should a woman try”. They found that 65% of patients were successful after 6 stimulated IVF cycles from 2003-10. That’s a lot of treatment cycles! And expensive too! Today, the success rates for stimulated IVF are much better.

Recall back in 2003, did you even own a cell phone and if you did, what was it like compared to your cell phone today? The quality of your phone today is far better than those of 2003-10. Similarly the success rates for IVF have tremendously improved too. At Dominion Fertility, we no longer transfer fresh embryos produced in the stimulate IVF cycle, rather, all embryos are frozen and later thawed and transferred outside of the stimulated cycle. By performing the embryo transfer in a non-stimulated cycle the chances for embryo implantation greatly improves. Data showing this effect has been around since 2011. In addition, almost all of the embryos that we produce at Dominion Fertility undergo embryo biopsy and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). This allows us to determine with about 99% accuracy that the embryo is genetically normal prior to performing the embryo transfer and this further increases the chances for success and reduces the chance of miscarriage.

To me it’s interesting that the Journal would publish “outdated” data when the success rates of IVF have tremendously improved over the past 6 years. At Dominion Fertility, we only transfer one embryo for almost all of our patients and their chances for pregnancy are above 50% per transfer of the one embryo. After 2 single embryo transfers of PGS normal embryos, we at Dominion Fertility expect the vast majority of our patients to be pregnant. We have shown that our pregnancy rates per transfer after PGS is constant through maternal age. (Jordan et al, 2015 ASRM abstract) In other words, a 41 year old patient should have the same chances for pregnancy as a 30 year old patient providing the embryo is first determined to be normal using PGS.

A 41 year old patient should have the same chances for pregnancy as a 30 year old patient providing the embryo is first determined to be normal using PGS.

Last year, I treated a 41 year- old patient from Saudi Arabia using IVF and PGS. Previously, she had failed 13 cycles of stimulated IVF in Saudi Arabia when she was 38-40 years old. At Dominion Fertility, we retrieved 20 eggs and produced 8 embryos but only one of her embryos was genetically normal. That embryo was frozen-thawed and transferred in a non-stimulated cycle and she became pregnant after only one treatment with us.

So, if you have read the Journal’s article on IVF and number of cycles to try, please know that the world of IVF has greatly improved from the IVF success rates published in 2003-10. Now, embryos are routinely genetically tested, frozen and transferred outside of the stimulated IVF cycle and this improves one’s chances for success with fewer treatments!

Michael DiMattina, M.D.