In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a complicated process involving lots of moving parts, which are highly dependent on timing and accuracy. Throughout IVF procedures, there is a myriad of factors which affect the chances of a successful round of IVF treatment.
- Previous Pregnancy – If you and your current partner have had a successful pregnancy in the past, it means you have a better chance of successful pregnancy with IVF. Multiple miscarriages or other fertility issues with a new partner can make IVF more difficult. However, you should not write it off altogether.
- Age – From 24 to 34, women have the highest chances of success with IVF treatment (32.2%) because this is the age range when women are most fertile. By the time a woman reaches age 40, success rates drop to around 13.6%. Women in every stage of reproductive life have been able to successfully use IVF. Although, success rates drop with age, you should still explore IVF options, as the success of treatment is highly dependent on your unique body and medical history.
- Type of Fertility Issue – Certain fertility issues make success with IVF less likely, including: fibroid tumors, uterine abnormalities, dual infertility, ovarian dysfunction and the amount of time the couple has had difficulty conceiving (in other words, the longer you wait to seek treatment, the less likely it will be successful). IVF, however, can very successfully overcome lots of fertility issues.
- Egg and Embryo Quality – The quality of eggs and embryos depends on some of the other items in this list, such as age, ovarian reserve, stimulation protocol and sperm quality. The higher quality eggs and embryos, the better likelihood IVF treatment will be successful.
- Sperm Quality – About 90% of chromosomal embryo issues occur due to egg quality. However, male fertility factors still affect embryos. If the male partner has fertility issues, new technology is helping to mitigate the adverse effects to make successful pregnancy more likely.
- Donor Eggs – For patients whose quality of eggs might be compromised due to age or other factors, using donor eggs can increase the chances of success.
- Controlled Ovarian Stimulation (COH) Protocol – These protocols detail the types of fertility medication administered and the schedule on which they are delivered. These protocols call for both accuracy in timing and doses, as well as individualization depending on ovulation. Currently, a number of COH protocols exist for IVF, and your doctor will work with you to determine which protocols will be most favorable for you.
- Embryo Transfer – Some believe the embryo transfer process is the most critical step in the entire process of IVF treatments. The health of embryos and successful implant in the uterus depend on a flawless transfer. Any snag with timing or biological factors can be detrimental to the process.
- Uterine Receptivity – This is as important as embryo quality. Similar to planting a seed, if either the quality of the seed or soil is compromised, then the likelihood of cultivating a healthy plant is reduced. Factors affecting receptivity include the thickness of uterine lining, immunological factors, and the uterine cavity’s contour.
- Lifestyle Factors – Living a healthy lifestyle will create a flourishing environment for an embryo. At least three months prior to beginning IVF, stop smoking and drinking alcohol; both of these habits reduce chances of success. Smokers’ chances of implantation are 50% lower than non-smokers. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important in increasing success rates of IVF. Obesity has been shown to affect how the body processes hormones and fertility medications, regulates menstrual cycles, and being overweight makes it more difficult to carry a baby to term. The good news is that you can control your lifestyle, and these factors can be actively improved.
If you have experienced difficulties achieving pregnancy and are considering IVF, we encourage you to discuss these factors and the steps you can take to improve your chances of success with IVF treatment with your fertility doctor. At Viera Fertility Center, our fertility specialist, Dr. Diran Chamoun, MD, has decades of experience, helping patients through fertility treatment and IVF. Please schedule a consultation with Viera Fertility Center to begin exploring your options today.