How many rounds of IVF is a normal number on average?

6 fertility expert(s) answered this question

Answer from: Raúl Olivares, MD

Gynaecologist, Medical Director & Owner
Barcelona IVF

That depends a lot on the indications for IVF. As you can imagine, it’s not going to be the same. If you’re starting IVF at 29, and you have a tube problem, the chances of success are going to be extremely high on the first attempt. If you are 43, and you had 5 miscarriages and, we would think that there is going to be a problem with the egg quality or your ovarian reserve, it could be hard to get a good number of eggs and a good number of embryos to obtain that healthy embryo that can become a baby.

What I can tell you is that we usually think that in most cases, when a patient hasn’t been successful after 3 rounds of IVF, which means there were 3 egg collections plus frozen transfers that you may have in between, we really feel that IVF is not going to solve the problem. If it does, it is going to be a very low percentage of cases. It’s also common that between different IVF, you may carry out some tests to see if there is any implantation issue or any genetic issue or things like that.

After 3 rounds of IVF, if you haven’t got an ongoing pregnancy, it is probably time to consider important changes, mainly related to changing the gametes, etc.

Answer from: Guillermo Quea Campos

Gynaecologist, Specialist in Reproductive Medicine
Pronatal Fertility Clinics

The number of cycles will depend on many factors. The main one being the moderation obviously and other factors such as quality of our reserves in stimulation to fertilisation rate and embryo development are very important too. With these indicators we will make the decision to continue with another cycle or to change the technique, because the outcomes of the procedure will give us greater information on whether to continue with another cycle or to change the technique.

Answer from: Tomas Frgala, PhD

Gynaecologist, Head Physician at UNICA Clinic - Brno
Unica Clinics – Prague and Brno

This is a question with many possible answers – it depends on the patient, on the couple and well on the performance of the ovaries, the sperm cells, the embryos during the first simulation. Usually it takes about two, three transfers of euploid healthy embryos to reach a success rate of approximately 90-95% but there are many factors that can play an important role the age of both partners but mainly the female partner, the woman very important in connection with that the quality of the oocytes and the quantity of the oocytes or eggs at the so-called ovarian reserve, the reaction of the ovaries to the stimulation. Also we need to take into account that nowadays we usually get more than a few eggs with the stimulation it can be 3, 5, 8, 10, 12 ripe and healthy eggs that are fertilized and in numerous cycles we actually have more than one embryo on Day 5. It could be 2, 4, 5 of them so, usually one embryo is transferred, the remaining ones cryopreserved and saved for later. So from one IVF cycle, there might be three, four transfers actually before we get a chance to all the embryos from that cycle. So there are lucky couples that stimulate just once and then following two or three transfers have two babies, two kids and the family is complete. In some cases we need to repeat the procedure. There are some studies that show that usually within three attempts, three cycles with multiple transfers in each, should suffice to reach the goal, if that doesn’t happen, it’s time to think about alternatives.

Answer from: Santiago Eduardo Novoa, MD

Gynaecologist, specialised in Reproductive Medicine
Instituto iGin

There’s no number really but we should know that most of the pregnancies arrive during the first, second or third treatment so, for any patient that need, let’s say fourth treatment, so things should be really discussed face to face in the consultations just to know exactly that the chances of getting pregnant if the previous one has been negative, is really low. So, any other possibilities, for example, go for egg donation or sperm donation or what we call receiving an embryo that another couple has donated, could be an option. Things should be really rediscussed again in consultation just to choose the better way to solve the issue.

Answer from: Matthew Prior, PhD, MBBS

Gynaecologist, Reproductive Medical Consultant, Founder of The Big Fertility Project

This is a bit difficult to answer because most women normally say around about a chance of having baby somewhere between 20 and 35 percent per cycle and so that means, that like with most cycles, it means it’s not going to be successful and you’re not going to have a baby but the likelihood of pregnancy does go down with each successive cycle that you have and obviously the cost becomes more expensive – the more cycles you have. So in the UK, we have an organization called NICE which stands for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and what they do is they summarize lots of the evidence and make recommendations and based on the success rate, they recommend that women under 40 should have up to three cycles or full cycles of IVF which is three lots of egg collections and and that gives the chance of having a baby somewhere between about 45 and 55% so, about 50-50 chance of having a baby. So on average, after having three cycles, you’ve got just around a 50% chance of having a baby. We also learn a lot from an IVF cycle so, if it’s been not many eggs have been collected or the embryo quality has not been so good, it might mean that it’s recommended not to continue to have those three cycles and whereas other times if you’ve just been unlucky, it might be that you maybe need to have more cycles to get there but that’s one thing that’s really difficult about embarking on this journey – is you don’t know when it’s going to happen for you or if it’s going to happen and so it can make it really difficult to plan treatment and that’s something that clinics should be aware of.

Answer from: Delphine Dewandre, Embryologist

Embryologist, Senior Embryologist
Beacon CARE Fertility

I think every person is different so it’s really hard to say like a number. I think there is no normal number so mostly the cycles really depend on the age of the person and as well on the ovarian reserve. It is Important to know though that not every cycle is the same so if you have a failed cycle, it is not a sign that the next cycle is going to fail as well. Sometimes we do see a difference in embryo quality,  sometimes you might get a treatment with some hormones and then the doctor can see that you would react to another kind of dosage for example. The cycles really can vary from one person in a different time period.

About this question:

What is the average number of rounds of IVF per couple? Is there any cut-off point?

Nowadays, it is quite common that, on average, a couple requires more than 1 IVF cycles to get a baby. There are lots of factors that can influence the outcomes, we always need to consider the modifiable factors like lifestyle and unmodifiable such as maternal or paternal age. That is why detailed individualized assessment and treatment is the key before starting your journey. On average, how many IVF cycles do I need to get a baby? How many times can I do IVF in a year? How soon after failed IVF can I try again? Is there a limit to the number of IVF treatments?

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