What is the Right Number of IVF Cycles for You?

question mark about the number of IVF cyclesWith all of the emotional and physical hardships that accompany IVF (in vitro fertilization), patients often ask me how many cycles they should pursue. There is no one pat answer because each patient’s fertility issues are unique. Plus there are also financial, logistic and relationship considerations that come into play.

At the end of last year, however, results of a new study were published by in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which should give emotionally-exhausted infertility patients hope. According to a New York Times article, the study found “that nearly two-thirds of women undergoing I.V.F. will have a child by the sixth attempt, suggesting that persistence can pay off, especially for women under 40. The cumulative rate for live births continues to increase, although modestly, up to the ninth attempt, or “cycle,” of I.V.F.”

Past data has shown that patients should consider at least three IVF cycles before looking at other options. This is if all of the data gathered from these first three attempts show promise.  If the egg or embryo quality is poor, then it may not be practical to pursue another cycle .Considering that the average couple stops in vitro therapy after four unsuccessful attempts, this study tells us that many are opting not to pursue the final high-potential cycles.

Also according to this new study, If patients are responding well to stimulation medication and produce healthy embryos, there is encouraging data that shows live birth rates should continue to increase through five or six cycles.  The data is definitely convincing for the “right” patient. After four failed cycles it is important to consider the emotional and financial health of the couple before recommending any more treatment. However, for some, this may be the answer.

Need more information about what your chances of pregnancy are with IVF? Contact Dr. Borkowski.