In this Forbes Health article, Duke Fertility Center's Shilpi Agrawala, MD, discusses adds insight to how a woman’s age is the main factor affecting the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Particularly after the mid-30s, and especially over the age of 40, IVF success rates start to drop off, in part due to the natural age-related decline in both egg quantity and quality as a woman ages. Further illustrating this point, a 2022 study found that the clinical pregnancy rate for women under 30 who’d undergone an embryo transfer was 69.4%, whereas for women ages 40 to 43, that figure declined to 9.4%.
That said, age isn’t the only factor at play when it comes to success in IVF, which is defined as a live birth. Here’s a look at what else may play a role in IVF success.
Dr. Agrawala notes, "For a woman with a high egg supply, it’s really common to have a viable embryo from their first cycle. If they have not only one but multiple embryos available, they can have a very good chance of getting pregnant with just one cycle,” says Dr. Agrawala.
However, if a person has a low egg supply or is older, more than one cycle of IVF may be necessary, explains Dr. Agrawala. “It’s not rare to need two egg retrievals,” she says, noting that ultimately, there’s “no absolute limit to the number of cycles that someone could do.” However, she notes that after six cycles, “there may be diminishing returns.”