What Predicts IVF Success?

Read answers to questions, concerns and other issues that can predict and increase IVF success rates at Georgia Regents Reproductive Medicine and Infertility Associates in Augusta, Georgia.

Can Stress Affect the Success of IVF?

Any assisted reproduction process or technique—such as in vitro fertilization—can be psychologically stressful. Significant anxiety and disappointment may occur.

We encourage you to consider short-term supportive counseling during this time and we are happy to provide you with the name of a counselor before you cycle to review your feelings and help you through what may be a difficult time emotionally for you and your partner.

A substantial time commitment is required by both partners to complete an entire course of IVF therapy. It will be necessary for couples to adjust their schedules to undergo the required testing and therapies associated with IVF-ET.

It is the responsibility of the woman to report to our office as scheduled for repeated ultrasound examinations and blood tests over several days or weeks before and after the expected time of egg collection.

It is the responsibility of the man to be available at the time identified by the physician to provide sperm and for the embryo transfer.

Theoretical Concerns & Potential for IVG Success

Unfortunately, neither conception nor a successful outcome of pregnancy is guaranteed by the IVF-ET procedure.

There are many reasons why pregnancy may not occur with the IVF-ET procedure. In fact, there are complex and largely unknown factors that limit pregnancy rates following assisted reproductive techniques.

Some of the known reasons for IVF failure include:

  • There may be a failure to recover an egg because:
    • follicles that contain mature eggs may not develop in the treatment cycle.
    • ovulation has occurred before time of egg recovery.
    • one or more eggs cannot be recovered from the follicles seen.
    • pre-existing pelvic scarring and/or technical difficulties prevent safe egg recovery.
    • The eggs that are recovered may not be normal.
  • There may not be enough semen to attempt fertilization of the recovered eggs because the man is unable to produce a semen specimen, because the specimen contains an insufficient number of sperm to attempt fertilization, or because the option to use a donor sperm as a "backup" was declined.
  • Fertilization of the eggs to form embryos may fail even when the egg(s) and sperm appear to be normal.
  •  The embryos may not develop normally or may not develop at all. Embryos that display any abnormal development will not be transferred.
  • Embryo transfer into the uterus may be difficult/impossible, or implantation(s) may not occur after transfer, or the embryo(s) may not grow or develop normally after implantation.
  • Any step in the IVF-ET process may be complicated by unforeseen events, such as hazardous or catastrophic weather, equipment failure, laboratory conditions, infection, human error and other unforeseen events.

When pregnancy occurs following IVF, it will typically be a normal pregnancy. However, there is always a risk of abnormal pregnancy such as, miscarriage, blighted ovum, ectopic pregnancy or premature delivery. This is because the process of IVF-ET does not protect against such occurrences.

Congenital abnormalities, genetic abnormalities, mental retardation or other birth defects that occur in approximately 3–4 percent of spontaneously conceived pregnancies might still occur in children born following assisted reproductive techniques.

Women with multiple pregnancies have a much higher risk of complicated pregnancies, which may include the following:

  • Birth defects
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature labor and delivery
  • Stillbirth
  • Toxemia (pre-eclampsia)