More IVF attempts more success?
Couples trying to get pregnant through IVF could up their chances of success if they keep trying.
But according to data in the researchers' study from several fertility clinics in, many don't end up pregnant.
Between 1993 and 2002, half of more than 5,000 women who started IVF treatment went through two or fewer cycles. The chances of giving birth to a live baby as a result of IVF were 58% for women in their 20s, but only 22% for women aged 40 to 44.
Based on calculations, the researchers estimate that upping the number of IVF cycles would boost success rates at least up until five attempts.
The results of this study suggest that IVF has the potential to be more effective if women, especially those over 35, are able to undertake more than the usual two to three cycles.
But the study also shows that a number of women went on to give birth to live babies after they stopped IVF treatment. Including those births, 79% of the women who started IVF in their 20s ended up with successful pregnancies, compared to a third of those in their early 40s.
One fertility expert questioned the new findings, especially the way the researchers had calculated the success rates with more IVF cycles.
Because few women go through many cycles, such estimates quickly become shaky, said Dr. Mitchell P. Rosen of the Centre for Reproductive Health.
"It is pretty obvious that the number of cycles that you do add to the likelihood of success, but it gets smaller every time,” said Mitchell.
He adds that you have to look at each case independently and at some point the psychological side effects and the cost become prohibitive.
The good news, he said, is that "people who do quit IVF still have a chance."
Have you had any IVF attempts? Was it a success or not?