Experiencing parenthood is a wish come true for any couple who have been planning to conceive for a long time.
There is a lot of pressure from society and family. It also involves a great deal of psychological trauma for those who have failed despite continuous attempts.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a boon to many such couples who cannot conceive with other infertility treatments.
While successful IVF cycles have helped many couples fulfil their dreams, a failed IVF cycle has had devastating effects as well. In an Indian context, this is incredibly hard because economic conditions and family pressures play a role in deciding treatment.
So let’s move on to the most critical question, the number of IVF cycles required for a successful pregnancy. This question is in the mind of every couple visiting an IVF clinic due to its varied results and the cost involved.
Even though it is important but, the answer can never be an exact number as IVF is an individualized treatment process.
Factors Affecting Successful IVF cycles
- Age: The most crucial factor and a non-modifiable one is age. As your age increases, your egg cell or immature ovum’s quality and quantity reduce, indirectly affecting the embryo quality.
- Cause of infertility: Success of an IVF also depends on what is causing your infertility problem:
- If you have a tubal problem (Bilateral tubal Blockage, hydrosalpinx), you may achieve good results from IVF.
- If you have PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) which is a hormonal disorder, your results may depend on the severity of this condition. However, if PCOD is mild without any other problems, you may get good results.
- If you have a uterine factor-like polyp, fibroid causing you infertility your results may depend on the condition. Results have varied in most couples with this problem.
- If you are above 35, your oocyte quality can affect the results. In such a case, you can choose to go for a donor egg program, which has brought successful results to many couples.
- If you have abnormalities in your sperm production, you can use advanced techniques like ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) and IMSI (intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection). However, there is no need for these injections if you have a mild condition.
- Your IVF centre: Make sure you choose an advanced IVF centre with fully equipped labs. Successful IVF results always require experienced specialists and embryologists for suitable embryo formations.
- Medical illness: Presence of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, tuberculosis, or consumption of smoking and alcohol, can affect your results if not under control.
The most crucial factor as we mentioned above is age, especially in women. The younger you are the better chances you have in the first attempt.
If your age is less than 35 years, you have a higher success rate. However, if you are above 35, using a donor egg is the best option. It will help you achieve good results and a higher success rate at pregnancy.
You can achieve successful IVF cycles no matter which age group you fall in with the assistance of several new technologies, such as:
- Blastocyst or day 5 embryo transfer: Day 2 or 3 embryo transfer success rates are about 30 to 35 %. However, day 5 embryo transfer results are more than double because of the better selection of the embryos.
- Assisted hatching techniques: Some of these techniques help in making the embryo shell thin, resulting in increased implantation rates.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): If you have severe abnormalities ICSI helps in better selection of sperms and fertilization.
- Immunotherapy: This is highly beneficial for you if you have any immunological abnormality.
- Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT): Genetic testing of embryos, especially if you are older than 35 can help in selecting euploid embryos(containing a standard number of chromosomes).
Accurate diagnosis of the cause of infertility and guidance by the IVF specialist can reduce the pregnancy time. Ask for proper consultation before choosing IVF treatment. Thoroughly understand your success rates and other treatment options available.
Remember, the only way to achieve complete success is by choosing the right time for your treatment. If you feel that you are physically and mentally ready, start your research for IVF treatment.
Also, to reduce the odds to IVF success, take care of your general health. Ensure you and your partner is aware of the challenges you may face while going for an IVF treatment. However, you can ease such challenges by choosing the right specialist.