Factors that influence infertility treatment success

Infertility treatment success is defined as the birth of a healthy infant.

Major factors that affect your chances of conceiving and carrying a healthy pregnancy with or without treatment include maternal age, how long you have been trying to conceive, and the cause of infertility. For more information, see the What Happens section of the topic Fertility Problems.

Infertility clinic success rates vary depending on:

  • The doctors' skill and experience.
  • How many couples with severe infertility problems a clinic chooses to treat.
  • The average number of treatment cycles per couple performed at the clinic.
  • The cause of infertility and a woman's age.
    • Ovulation problems (not including those related to advanced age) are the most successfully treated cause of infertility.1
    • Sperm problems are difficult to treat and often require the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection or donor sperm.
    • The age of the woman's egg supply greatly impacts her chances of conceiving, carrying, and delivering a healthy infant. From her mid-30s into her 40s, a woman's chances of pregnancy with her own eggs decrease while her risk of miscarriage markedly increases.
    • The success of treating other causes of infertility depends heavily upon the type and severity of the problem.

Some couples complete many cycles of infertility treatment before they conceive or before they and their doctor decide that the treatment has failed. Before you start any treatment for infertility, discuss it with your doctor and set reasonable time limits for yourselves.

Citations

  1. Lobo RA (2007). Infertility: Etiology, diagnostic evaluation, management, prognosis. In VL Katz et al., eds., Comprehensive Gynecology, 5th ed., pp. 1001–1037. Philadelphia: Mosby.

Last Updated: March 21, 2008

Author: Bets Davis, MFA & Sandy Jocoy, RN

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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