IVF Success Rates

By (embryologist) and (babygest staff).
Last Update: 11/18/2019

The first in vitro fertilization (IVF) birth was in 1978 and since then the success of this technique has increased thanks to numerous technological advances and the application of new methods.

Probability of success

In order to determine the success rates of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, different aspects must be taken into account:

  • Age of the woman
  • If IVF is performed with own or donor eggs
  • If the transfer is fresh or with frozen embryos
  • Whether or not a PGD has been carried out
  • In vitro fertilization technique used (IVF or ICSI)
  • Fertility Clinic

In addition, when observing or studying different success rates it is important to take into account what the success rate is being defined on. Thus, we can speak of the percentage of gestation per cycle initiated, per puncture or per transfer; or percentage of the percentage of birth also per cycle initiated, per puncture or per transfer performed.

Taking into account the different variations of each infertility situation depending on the characteristics of each treatment, the cause of infertility and other aspects to be taken into account, the rates are not exact but approximate data.

Importance of the woman's age

As a woman's age progresses, her quality and quantity of eggs decreases and thus the success rate of in vitro fertilization is reduced.

  • Women under 35: the rate of gestation by transfer is about 43 per cent and the rate of delivery by transfer is about 21 per cent.
  • Women aged 35-39 years: have a probability of becoming pregnant of about 37% and a birth rate of about 16%.
  • Women 40 years of age or older: the probability of pregnancy reaching term decreases to about 7% by transfer. The rate of gestation by transfer is around 24%

As we can see, success rates drop dramatically as women age, mainly due to loss of oocyte quality. This is why egg donation is so important for these women, as it can be the solution to their infertility problem.

In brief, we could say that the percentage of birth with own eggs varies from 20 to 7% depending on age. Therefore, women over the age of 35 are advised to consider egg donation as an option.

Gestation rates vary from about 38% when using own eggs to 54% when resorting to donor eggs, and the rate of pregnancy at term (delivery rate) goes from 22% (own eggs) to 32% when resorting to egg donation.

When egg donation and surrogacy are used, success rates can be as high as 70%. However, in most destinations, surrogacy is only available if the intended mother has a justifiable medical reason.


Many people prefer to perform ICSI rather than conventional in vitro fertilization because they believe that, by inserting semen directly into the egg, the likelihood of pregnancy increases.

However, the rates of pregnancy and delivery by transfer performed using IVF are 39.5% and 22.9% respectively and if we apply the ICSI are around 38% and 22%.

As we can see, the variations are not drastic, but there is a general increase when IVF is applied. However, the application of one or the other technique will depend on the cause of infertility, especially the male factor, as there are pathologies such as obstructive azoospermia or severe asthenozoospermia that necessarily require the application of ICSI.

ICSI is also necessary when preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) treatment is performed.  The birth rate per transfer in a PGD cycle is close to 32.6%.

Embryos vitrification or freezing can also vary success rates. Thus, the rate of birth by transfer of cryopreserved embryos from own oocytes is close to 18% and if they come from donor eggs is 22.5%. These fresh rates are 22% and 32% respectively, so these indicate that the cryopreservation of embryos slightly decreases success rates.



FAQs from users

Can pregnancy be achieved in the first ivf cycle?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez (embryologist).

The outcome of an IVF treatment depends on numerous factors such as the age of the woman, the technique used, the clinic, etc. Therefore, depending on all of them, it will be more or less likely to achieve pregnancy on the first attempt.

In some cases, gestation is achieved quickly and at the first attempt. However, in other situations, two, three or four IVF treatments are necessary to achieve pregnancy.

Is a woman's age important for IVF success?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez (embryologist).

Yes. As a woman's age progresses, her ovarian reserve decreases, especially from the age of 35. Besides, the quality of the oocytes is also affected, so achieving a pregnancy with one's own oocytes can be complicated in elderly women, although not impossible.

Is there a maximum number of IVF attempts a woman can undergo?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez (embryologist).

No. However, it is necessary to rely on the prognosis of the woman and on the statistics of the results.

Therefore, when deciding whether more IVF attempts should be made, it is essential to evaluate the results obtained in previous cycles. If pregnancy has not been achieved in three or four in vitro fertilisation treatments, it is advisable to change the reproductive strategy.

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 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo
Adapted into english by:
 Romina Packan
Romina Packan
Babygest Staff
Editor and translator for the Babygest magazine in English and German. More information about Romina Packan

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