Getting Pregnant: Understanding Success Rates for Fertility Treatments

Posted by Dr John M Norian | Filed under Blog, IVF


Getting Pregnant: Understanding Success Rates for Fertility Treatments

More couples than ever before are getting pregnant with today’s infertility treatments. Experts say technology is getting better all the time.

Pregnancy and live birth rate percentages in women undergoing IVF are available from registered fertility clinics that are members of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART).  HRC Fertility has been a long-time member of SART and our pregnancy and live birth rates have always been above the national average.  For more details visit www.sart.org.

Fertility experts always measure the success rates of their procedures. Generally, a success rate is a percentage of time that the treatment has resulted in a live birth for the infertile couple. But that is a very simplified definition of a success rate. A lot of information and factors go into determining the success rate of a procedure, and changing any of them will change the percentage.

Despite the complications that can change percentages, one thing is true across the board. Infertility treatments have higher success rates than ever before in history. From fertility medications to in-vitro fertilization (IVF), doctors and researchers have improved their processes and techniques to increase the number of babies that are born as a result of their treatments.  World-wide over 5 million babies have been born as a result of IVF.


Most couples that are facing fertility treatments automatically assume that they will undergo IVF. This is not true. The vast majority of infertility cases can be handled with less-invasive and highly successful treatments.


Most infertility cases are treated with medication. The most common fertility drugs are Clomid, Femara and gonadotropins. The drug prescribed first is usually Clomid, or clomiphene citrate, which assists in ovulation. The success rate for Clomid is high, with 40 to 50 percent of women getting pregnant within six cycles of use.


For the few cases where IVF is required, the success rates are also climbing. IVF was first introduced in 1981 with a relatively low success rate. Even 20 years ago, women could only expect a success rate of 14 percent per treatment cycle. Now, women under age 35 are seeing a success rate of more than 35 40 to 45 percent nationally per treatment cycle with IVF procedures. As women age, this success falls incrementally even with the use of IVF techniques.  In cases where a donor egg is used, the average national live birth percentage climbs to 40 to 45 percent per IVF cycle even in women greater than 40 years of age. Experts attribute this high growth in success rates to experience and experimentation.


One huge effect on the success rate of IVF is the introduction of the procedure ICSI, or intra cytoplasmic sperm injection. The treatment, which uses a needle to inject sperm directly into the egg in a lab, has a fertilization rate of 75 to 80 percent of the eggs injected. More fertilized embryos can translate into higher pregnancy rates with IVF.


This treatment is commonly used to combat the effects of male infertility by overcoming the challenges with sperm count and motility. But doctors are seeing that it also has been successful in treating women who have smaller amounts of eggs yielded from extraction for IVF. The ICSI process helps ensure that the eggs they have to work with are successfully fertilized.


While there are no success rates that can guarantee you will get pregnant with any fertility treatment, these numbers show that now is a great time to try to conceive with the assistance of modern technology. If you feel that you may be experiencing infertility, schedule a consultation with a fertility specialist today. Make a plan for treatment that will fulfill your plans for parenthood.


Dr. John M. Norian
HRC Fertility
Location: Rancho Cucamonga


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