More not always better with in vitro fertilization

Oct 27, 2010 By ALICIA CHANG , AP Science Writer

(AP) -- More tries aren't necessarily better when it comes to in vitro fertilization.

New research found that about 1 in 3 women had a baby the first time they tried a test tube embryo, and that improved to nearly 1 in 2 with a second try.

However, undergoing a third cycle boosted success rates very little and leveled off with subsequent attempts.

"Don't quit if the first cycle isn't successful. Your chances go up with the second cycle," said lead researcher Barbara Luke of Michigan State University. But "if you haven't gotten pregnant by the third, the chances are slim to continue."

involves mixing egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The resulting embryo is then transferred into the womb to grow into a baby. Earlier this month, British researcher Robert Edwards won the medicine for pioneering the technique that has led to 4 million test tube babies.

is expensive. The average cost for an IVF cycle is about $12,400, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Some insurance companies cover it.

Desperate couples often try over and over to conceive, and there are no ethics standards on when doctors should stop helping them try. Fertility clinics report success rates based on the number of cycles attempted, but that doesn't indicate how likely an individual woman is to get pregnant with each IVF cycle she undergoes.

The new study is the first to examine that nationally. It looked at in vitro procedures around the country between 2004 and 2008. Researchers were able to match IVF procedures to individuals based on their date of birth, Social Security and other information. This is important because this gives doctors and couples a better sense of how likely an is going to result in a baby.

Over the five-year period, some 300,000 women had more than half a million IVF cycles that resulted in 171,327 first-time deliveries. The rate was 36 percent on the first IVF try, 48 percent with a second cycle and 53 percent with a third attempt.

Among those who tried seven or more times, the chance of success was 56 percent - hardly any better than the 53 percent after three tries.

The findings show "diminishing returns" after three IVF cycles, said lead researcher Luke. "The results are not going to be much better."

That doesn't necessarily mean women should give up, she said. There are other options including using donor eggs or a surrogate mother.

The study, presented Wednesday at a reproductive medicine meeting in Denver, did not look at success rates based on age or other factors that may influence the outcome. Luke said future studies will examine those other issues.

Advocates who help infertile couples say this will help them in their decision-making.

After repeated futile treatments, couples can use the data to keep on trying or consider other options such as adoption, said Barbara Collura, executive director of the nonprofit Resolve: The National Infertility Association.

Explore further: Socioeconomic status and gender are associated with differences in cholesterol levels

More information: American Society for Reproductive Medicine: http://www.asrm.org/
CDC fertility clinic reports: http://www.cdc.gov/ART/

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Stanford researchers find way to predict IVF success

Jul 02, 2008

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a method that can predict with 70 percent accuracy whether a woman undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment will become pregnant. This information ...

New strategy could reduce twin rate after IVF

Sep 30, 2010

A strategy to encourage single embryo transfer after in vitro fertilisation (IVF) could be an important tool to prevent multiple pregnancies and their associated complications, finds a study published in the British Medical ...

3 IVF attempts double chances

Nov 09, 2009

Just one in three women gives birth after a single IVF attempt, but the cumulative chance of a live birth increases with each cycle - where women are offered three cycles nearly two thirds go on to have babies, reveals a ...

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

2 hours ago

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

3 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

3 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

4 hours ago

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

Taking preventive health care into community spaces

5 hours ago

A church. A city park. An office. These are not the typical settings for a medical checkup. But a new nationwide study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that providing health services in ...

User comments : 0