What are the chances of success with IVF?
Last updated date: 09-Nov-2021
5 mins read
It is estimated that around one in seven heterosexual couples have problems conceiving with most couples seeking medical advice if they have been trying without success for between one and two years. For a couple to be classed as actively trying for a baby, they would need to be aiming to have regular unprotected sexual intercourse which is normally classed as two or three per week. If pregnancy doesn’t occur naturally within a year, it may mean that one or both partners have some fertility issues.
If fertility problems go untreated, it can cause tension in the relationship, anxiety, depression and, of course, stress. As the leading fertility clinic in Bangkok, we understand the emotions that you will be experiencing. We look at all the available options which may include some relatively simple lifestyle changes or it may involve more extensive treatment such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Naturally, one of the first questions that people ask with IVF is what their chance of success is?
Age is a big factor
Although there are many factors which people believe affect the chances of success with IVF treatment, the only one that has been scientifically proven is age. Just as in nature, younger women have an increased chance of becoming pregnant via IVF when compared to women over the age of 35. In many countries, IVF is not recommended for women over 42 years old as the chances of getting pregnant are relatively low. As IVF treatment is expensive, it is deemed not ethical to recommend such treatment.
According to figures provided by the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority (HFEA), the chances of success by age are as follows:
- Women under 35: 29%
- Women aged 35 – 37: 23%
- Women aged 38 – 39: 15%
- Women aged 40 – 42: 9%
- Women aged 42 – 44: 3%
The figures above refer to couples that use the woman’s own eggs and the male partner’s sperm.
If you are considering IVF treatment, both partners must do all they can to maintain a healthy lifestyle both before and during the treatment. It is particularly relevant for the female partner, but the quality of the partner’s sperm and semen may also be affected. Also, it helps to offer emotional support at a time when everyone will be under a lot of stress and strain.
Naturally, it is crucial to maintain a healthy BMI, avoid alcohol, tobacco products, non-prescription drugs and where possible, caffeine. If you both manage to achieve this, it will greatly increase your chances of IVF treatment being a success. Although it may not sound easy, you should try, where possible, to keep stress levels to a minimum as this too will increase your chances of success.
The number of cycles
Several factors may influence how many cycles you can have, not least the financial burden that IVF will inevitably place upon you and your family. It is widely suggested that women under the age of 40 who have been trying to get pregnant for two years should have up to three cycles of IVF treatment. However, this will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the medical professionals.
We always like to make sure that our patients are made aware that the chances of success decline with each cycle. Being mentally prepared for IVF not to work is a critical element when making choices regarding the treatment. If the doctors feel that if your emotional wellbeing will be adversely affected in the long-term should the treatment fail, they may suggest that you should stop, at least for a few months.
The value of three IVF cycles
There are several reasons why three cycles are suggested, but the most relevant one for most couples is that it significantly increases their chances of conceiving. Indeed, it is estimated that for an otherwise healthy couple, under the age of 35, that they have between a 45-53% chance of conceiving if they undergo three full cycles. It should be stressed that this is the cumulative figure and that even couples with “normal” fertility levels only stand a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month.
The quality of the treatment
Sadly, another significant factor affecting the success of IVF treatment is the quality of the treatment. Unfortunately, some clinics and some doctors are better than others, and in a country such as Thailand, the legislation that is in place may not be as strict as in other countries. At First Fertility, we have state of the art facilities, and all of our medical professionals have received the highest levels of training. It is therefore essential that you conduct your own due diligence on fertility clinics in Bangkok.
Timing of the treatment
Unfortunately, many couples wait too long before they seek the medical help that they need. While this is understandable and there are likely to be several reasons why we can’t emphasise enough that you should seek professional advice as soon as you have any concerns. Once you know if you have a problem, then you can then start to make plans about how you will move forward. If it is something straightforward, your worries will have been unnecessary, but if it is something more serious, you can get the treatment that you need.
The sooner you start the treatment, the greater the chances of success.
Never blame yourself or your partner
Finally, one problem that we see all too frequently in our clinic is either partners blaming themselves for fertility issues or blaming each other. Blame really is futile, and it will not solve the problem, and in most cases, it will only make matters worse. If you are serious about becoming pregnant, you need to work together and be strong for each other.