A recent study has found that six IVF cycles produce the highest live birth rates for infertile women up to the age of 42, according to a new study done by the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, and the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Researchers conducted a study of 156,947 women who received IVF ovarian stimulation cycles between 2003 and 2010, to determine the live-birth rate per IVF cycle, defined as an episode of ovarian stimulation, including all subsequent separate fresh and frozen embryo transfers.
The results showed that the women in the study were a median age of 35 at the start of treatment, and underwent median infertility duration for all cycles. For women who used donor eggs for IVF, success rates did not differ by age.
Overall, the live birth rate for the first IVF cycle was:
- One to three cycles: 29.5%
- Up to four cycle: 35.4%
- Up to six cycles: 65.3%
Women under the age of 40 who underwent IVF with their own oocytes, the live birth rate was:
- One to three cycles: 32%
- Up to four cycle: 38.4%
- Up to six cycles: 68%
Women aged 40–42 years, live birth rate was:
- One cycle: 12%
- Up to six cycles: 31.5%
Women over the age of 42, however, live birth rates for each cycle were lower than 4% across cycle one to four:
- One to four cycles: 4%
The study found that majority of the women over the age of 42 opt to end IVF treatments after experiencing three unsuccessful cycles, citing emotionally stress and financially costly as the reasons.
The findings suggest for women younger than 40 years, the incremental increase of cycles is worthwhile because there is a high probability after three or four cycles the result will be a live birth.