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IVF success rates have significantly improved in the last decade, especially in older women

IVF success rates have improved significantly over the last 10 years, a new report by UNSW medical researchers indicates. The live birth rate per initiated IVF cycle in women using their own eggs has increased by 18% overall, with even higher improvements in older age groups.

“For example, in women aged 35-39, the live birth rate per cycle started has increased from 19% to 23%, representing a 20% relative increase in success rates,” says Professor Georgina Chambers, the lead author of UNSW's Assisted Reproductive Technology in Australia and New Zealand 2019 (ANZARD) “And in those aged 40-44, the live birth rate has increased to 10%, marking a 27% increase in success rates over the last decade.” The ANZARD report is funded by the Fertility Society of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) and contains data from all 95 IVF clinics operating in the two countries.

The overall live birth rate per embryo transfer has increased from 22% in 2010 to 28% in 2019. It was higher in younger women – the live birth rate per embryo transfer was 35.1% for fresh cycles and 34.1% for thaw cycles in women aged between 30 and 34 years, whereas in women older than 44 years, the live birth rate per embryo transfer was 1.7% for fresh cycles and 9.2% for thaw cycles.

Dr Petra Wale, a senior embryologist and Vice President of the Fertility Society of Australia and New Zealand says: “The improved success rates are due to many factors, including advancements in laboratory techniques and improvements in the overall management of couples experiencing infertility, such as lifestyle interventions, improved diagnostic capabilities, and in some cases surgery prior to IVF.

Frozen cycles are reportedly more successful than fresh ones, twins and triplets rates on the decline

The biggest improvements happened in live birth rates in frozen embryo transfers v fresh transfers. There has been a 50% increase over the last decade in the live birth rate per frozen embryo transfer from 20% in 2010 to 30% in 2019. Over the same period the live birth following fresh transfers has increased from 24% to 25%.

Professor Chambers adds: “It is encouraging to note that despite these successes, there remains room for further improvement. For instance, while the number of oocytes retrieved during stimulated cycles has remained relatively stable since 2012, the proportion of mature MII oocytes collected has decreased slightly. This may be because more immature oocytes are being selected for retrieval or simply because fewer oocytes are released into the follicular fluid following ovulation induction.”


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