Women facing infertility often turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF). Although IVF technology has improved, there is still a widely held belief that if a woman doesn't experience a successful live birth after three or four IVF cycles, her chances of a successful live birth are very low. A new study looked at IVF success rates after repeated treatment cycles well beyond the third or fourth attempts.
Researchers from the University of Bristol in England reviewed the medical records of almost 160,000 women in the United Kingdom who underwent nearly 260,000 full IVF cycles between 2003 and 2010. They examined live birth rates among these women thru 2012.
They found that women under the age of forty who used their own eggs had a 33 percent success rate within the first cycle. This rate remained at above 20 percent up to and including the fourth cycle. By the sixth cycle, women had a cumulative live birth rate of 68 percent. Women between ages forty and forty-two, also saw an increased success rate up until the ninth cycle.
Overall, researchers reported that patients had an increased chance of success up to the ninth cycle of IVF. These findings support extending the number of IVF cycles.