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IVF odds of success are decent; twin births still common

March 07, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
  • The number of twin births from IVF remains high. This photo shows an ultrasound photograph of embryos.
The number of twin births from IVF remains high. This photo shows an ultrasound… (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles…)

IVF treatment continues to be a popular choice for making babies. The treatment, known formally as in vitro fertilization, is successful in producing a live birth in 41.4% of treatment cycles for women under age 35, according to information released Monday by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.

Data for 2009, the most recent year analyzed, showed the rate of live births per cycle with fresh embryos did not change much from 2008 when it was 41.3% for women under 35. However, that's still an improvement from 2003 when the rate of live births per cycle was 37.5% in that age group.

Success rates fall off quickly for older women, however. In 2009, the percentage of cycles with fresh embryos resulting in live births was 31.7% for women ages 35 to 37, 22.3% for women ages 38 to 40 and 12.6% for women ages 41 to 42.

The more embryos transferred, the higher the risk of multiple births. Several years ago, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology called on doctors and patients to limit embryo transfers to one in healthy, younger women who have a good chance of pregnancy. But if appears as if SART's goal of reducing the number of embryos transferred isn't enthusiastically embraced. Only 7.2% of women under age 35 opted for a single-embryo transfer in 2009, up from 5.2% in 2008. In 2003, the rate was 0.7%.

Overall, the average number of fresh embryos transferred was 2.0 for all age groups in 2009 compared with 2.6 in 2003.

The rate of live births with twins for women under age 35 was 32.9%, a trend that hasn't changed much since 2003. The rate of triplet births in that age group, however, was 1.6% in 2009 compared with 6.4% in 2003.

The leading, single cause of infertility continues to be male factor, which accounts for 17% of cases in which people seek IVF treatment. A diminished number of eggs, which occurs most often in women age 35 and older, accounted for 15% of cases, and in 12% of cases the cause of infertility cannot be explained.

The rate of patients who elect to have preimplantation genetic diagnosis, in which a cell from the embryo is screened for evidence of genetic disorders, was 4% in 2009.

The reports on specific clinics' success rates can be found on the SART website. The society also announced Monday that it is planning to enhance its website for consumers later this year to make it easier to find data.

Related: Is IVF success in your future? If you don't have a crystal ball, this prediction method may help

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