How Many IVF Cycles Will I Need to Get Pregnant?
When you embark on the infertility journey and decide to start fertility treatments, it’s hard to know what the future holds. Will you get pregnant on your first attempt at IVF? Will you need two cycles, or three, or more? What’s the best way to pay for IVF? Here are some factors to consider.
Your chances of succeeding on your first IVF cycle depend on your age and whether you are using your own eggs or using donor eggs from a young woman, the cause of your infertility, what kind of treatment your reproductive endocrinologist prescribes, the fertility center’s expertise, and luck/fate/divine intervention. It’s not completely controllable by any means, or else everyone would get pregnant on their first IVF cycle. But there are indicators that may help you plan, and there are discounted plans to help you manage payment.
Age of the Female Partner and Donor Eggs
For women without fertility issues and not using contraception, each month there is about a 20 to 25 percent chance of getting pregnant. Fertility peaks in most women in their 20s and begins to decline gradually in their late 20s. Fertility declines much more rapidly around age 35. At age 40, your chance of getting pregnant in any given month is about 5 percent.
Right off the bat, you can see that in vitro fertilization greatly increases your chance of getting pregnant as you get older. These statistics from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) for 2011 are the national averages from data reported by all fertility centers. The IVF success rates show how many women got pregnant and delivered a baby from an IVF cycle. However, the statistics don’t report whether this was their first, second or third cycle.
IVF success rates with fresh embryos
• Women under 35: 46.3 %
• Women 35-37: 38.4 %
• Women 38-40: 27.5 %
• Women 41-42: 16.6 %
• Women 42: 6.5 %
IVF success rates with frozen embryos
• Women under 35: 39.3 %
• Women 35-37: 35.7 %
• Women 38-40: 30.3 %
• Women 41-42: 24.5 %
• Women 42: 16.5 %
You can also see that success with IVF declines as women get older. However, women who use donor eggs from younger women have higher success rates. SART reports that the live birth rate with donor eggs is about 55 percent.
Your Fertility Specialist and Fertility Center
When you are choosing your doctor and fertility center, make sure you ask about their success with women who are your age and have fertility issues similar to your own. Some centers and fertility doctors specialize in treating certain conditions or older women, for example. Other fertility centers may not take more difficult cases. It’s important to find a physician you trust and a fertility center with a good reputation in a convenient location.
Your first option should always be to investigate your insurance coverage. Very few states require health insurance plans to cover fertility treatment. But even if your fertility specialist does not accept health insurance your plan may cover some aspects of treatment such as diagnostic testing and office visits. Ask the financial counselor at the fertility center and read your health insurance plan carefully.
As you investigate fertility treatment and fertility payment plans you will find there are two general types of payment plans. One type is multi-cycle plans, which require you to meet certain clinical or age qualifications and to pay for multiple cycles up front, in order to get a discounted price or, in some cases, a refund if you don’t have a baby. With multi-cycle plans, you pay the whole cost of the plan even if you get pregnant on your first cycle. In general, you need to undergo two and a half to three cycles in order to break even on a refund or discount package versus paying without a discount on a per-cycle basis.
These plans do not include the cost of fertility drugs, an additional $3500 to $7000 or more for each IVF cycle, depending on the drugs your doctor prescribes. They also don’t take into account the difference in cost of fresh cycles vs. frozen cycles. You are buying a package, which may or may not save you money. The plans with clinical qualifications also can drop you at any time and give you a partial refund, whether or not you have had a baby.
The other type is single-cycle discount plans. These vary in their requirements; some have medical restrictions and others don’t. The amount of discounting from the market rate varies as well. Some plans include the cost of fertility medication; most do not.